Two Random Stories

I couldn’t figure out what to write about this week. I was going to write about positive guilt, but I’m going to save that for next week and just tell you a couple of stories. Why?

Because sometimes, I get tired of talking about trauma, contemplating how to have a better life or hearing about feelings. I just want to soak in the scenery, do some primo people watching and enjoy the ice tea, watch birds flying or listen in on the people’s conversation sitting at the next table without ruminating on suffering. Hear some favorite songs, drink a cup of coffee and do a crossword puzzle. Read the comics.

As I scroll through FB or, on rarer occasions, Instagram, numerous coaches and therapists post encouraging messages about how I can do it, don’t be afraid, how to spot a narcissist, etc. etc. Look, I know I’m a part of that culture, and I offer up similar thoughts and ways to think about life, and I can choose who comes into my feed on these pages. But, sometimes, can’t I just be? I’m just saying I need a break.

And in two words, that drive me crazy when people say them to me as if I need their permission to have a feeling, that’s okay.

So, two random stories:


If you’ve ever been to Oahu, Hawaii, you know there’s a road just past Hana and the Seven Sacred Pools that voids your rental car contract should you choose to follow it. It’s a beautiful drive.

The road takes you around the back of the island, behind the Haleakala Volcano, and through a landscape that feels like you’re on another planet. You pass Charles Lindberg’s grave; he’s buried next to a white-washed church on a promontory overlooking the ocean. Quite the spot to spend eternity.

The Kaupo Grocery Store is there. It’s a small family-owned store that sells hot dog sushi with rice and yellow mustard and spam sushi, too. The front porch is made of wood and has two oversized wooden rocking chairs as old as your grandparents for sittin’ and resting a spell.

A little further down is Auntie Jane’s Fine Foods. Two of the three times I’ve been on that road, Auntie Jane’s was closed. One time, it was open. We stopped.

Auntie Jane’s was a food truck on the side of the road long before food trucks were popular. We walked up to the window; I ordered first.

“Hi, I’d like a hamburger with mustard, pickles, ketchup and onions, please.”

Auntie Jane waved her index finger back and forth at me. “Oh no,” she said. “This is not Burger King. You have it MY WAY, not your way.”

Okay. Bring it on!

The rest of my party ordered without preferences, and when Auntie Jane delivered the food, she sat and talked with us. She told us about her life. She was in her late 60s or early 70s. She had only been off the island once, and that was a trip to another island. When she was younger, she assisted Charles Lindberg and took care of his monkeys.

We enjoyed our time with Auntie Jane. She was a treasure.


I wasn’t feeling well one day, so I went to Whole Foods on the corner of National and Barrington in Los Angeles to pick up some medicine. I found what I was looking for and got in line to check out. There were two people in line. A woman with a 3-year-old child was checking out, and another woman in her 70s was directly in front of me.

The cashier gave the woman with the kid the total. She inserted her credit card into the machine and handed the pen to the little kid to sign the signature. I’m not sure this kid could color, let alone sign a credit card receipt.

The kid is holding the pen by the cord, so it’s flailing around, flopping here and there. The mother keeps encouraging him or her, “come on, you can do it.” It goes on for so long the transaction times out, so the cashier prints a receipt for the woman to sign.

Again, she gives the pen to the kid, “Come on, honey, you can do it!”

I am too through by this time, so I say, exasperated, “Just sign the thing.”

Finally, she signs it. She turns around and says to the woman behind her, although directed at me, “Thank you for your patience.”

The woman immediately turns around and whispers to me, “I’m just waiting to get a cancer diagnosis so I can begin to speak up and tell people how I really feel.”

The woman with the kid had this woman praying for cancer. PRAYING FOR CANCER.

I hope you enjoyed this reprieve from how to have a better life. And that you’ve got a smile on your face. Cheers.

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