If you read yesterday’s entry, you know where I am today. If not, here is a brief review. It’s Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and I am in Poway California at the over fifty-five apartments in which my Mum resides. Think of Mum as a busy British bee, and me, basically the token male, helping to host an honorary tea party that Mum has decided to sponsor.
In your visualization, picture a group of 90% retired ladies, all of whom have, in a way, adopted the words of my gloating 86-year-old matriarch in describing, “Her wonderful son,” and to that add my wife, who knows what I really look like standing in my underwear.
I mean no disrespect or egotistical acceptance of her pride, and being from a typical British/Jewish lineage I will admit that, at times, the peculiar pressure that arises from carrying the motherly label of “Last son and heir to the Radstone name,” does put a bit of childlike reaction to my actions.
I remember my high school days, I could do no wrong, and to the chagrin of my two older sisters, I pressed that privilege to the limits. Perhaps that is why my wife continues to grimace upon the exultations she has to bear in witnessing the communication between my sweet Mum and her prodigal son. And cause for the look at me for the Doofus I can be desire that has always been a weird quest that I campaigned for over the years in my family dynamic.
And in another way, perhaps the driving subtext to my quest for artistic expression, that constant conflict of self-worth and self-loathing many an artist admit to as core motivation to the way they view life through exploring eyes. So Mum… cheers to the base you have imparted to me.
Yet even with the acceptance of the reasoning for my good ol Mum’s admiration, and bolstered by my wife’s humorously supporting eye-roll, “’We have two hours until the tea party, and if I have to hear one more, ‘you’re the wife of that nice boy who is helping his mother,’’’ I find it very prudent to take leave for an auto journey in seeking my friends for the day.
I have no idea of the neighborhoods that surround the area, so I just drive, looking for anything that catches my eye. And knowing from past experience that to aimlessly wander could prove to be the kiss of death in maximizing a two-hour window of time, I lock my mind into listening to the first impression it receives.
The speedometer reads 55mph as I press the edge of the speed limit in hopes that the trail of cyclists will lead me to some cycling mecca. For twenty minutes I follow my peddling strangers, and the deeper I get into the suburbs, the more I start to realize that my timeline is reaching the alarm zone. Bottom line, “I’m dead meat if I miss the tea party.”
Stress sets in, and at the instant I let go of my, I’m going to talk bicycling agenda, a small sign appears to my right, “Big Garage Sale.”
Throughout my 365 travels I have come across quite a few of these sign, but never with the pulling power that this cardboard post hits me with.
Five minutes later I find myself parked in front of the Titans, Poway High School Gymnastics fundraising yard sales.
I cannot figure out why, but I have the jitters. I approach anyway.
Blending in, I browse the many items displayed on countless folding tables. I am not alone with the others who have also been drawn by the signage placed throughout the neighborhood.
“May I help you?” enters my left ear. The time is upon me, I introduce 365.
My challenge is accepted, but even with the openness to contribute, I feel a slight trepidation in the air, so we chat for a while.
The more we talk the greater the peace, and the greater the peace the deeper the meaning of our chat becomes.
We end up talking for almost ninety-minutes, and by the end of our group discussion we are all new friends with a message that proves to me that inspiration comes in the strangest of ways. Today it has magnified itself via the handwritten call of a cutout garage sale sign.
Lisa becomes the front spokesperson for the group of volunteers of community.
With the eyes of the other ladies upon her, she shares her council.
“My outward advice…” she asks us all to consider… “What could you do for other people? You really do have time… and there is always a way to make the time.
“’Inward… I teach yoga, and I always say, ‘May the spirit within me recognize the spirit within you, Namaste’”
Lisa explains, “’It’s not about me or any selfish thought. We all need to work on ourselves constantly so that we can give to others and not become selfish.
“And we need to start now. So many say, ‘We are too busy,’ but there is no excuse.’”
Linda chimes in, “Communication is key. There is not enough of it. That is why there is so much conflict and war. We must learn to respect each other for a better future.
“I’m a little scared for the future, not so much for me, but for my grandkids.”
The girls are ramping up and I’m doing my best to take accurate notes, and as I do, I know that I am where I am supposed to be.
Rena takes the baton, “I’m not that afraid, and the secret is tolerance, not just in looking at the individual, but at the global perspective.
“Someday it will come full circle and we will have to return back to the basics and back to community.”
Listening the whole while is Alex, daughter of Lisa. I have to call her a silent gem of wisdom. At twenty years wise, Lisa gives a hint as to her maturity. “Alex has had to deal with more death than anyone her age normally experiences. I don’t know of many high school kids that have a memorial board in their bedrooms.”
Yet, Alex walks with a smile of wisdom and humanity on her face as she expresses her concerns for the society that she is growing into, “There is way too much consumerism, and the social media is messing up the pace of life. I’m only twenty and I see so many of my age group becoming numb. There is no shock factor anymore. Tomorrow you could die and what do you have left to show? — your Facebook quotes.
“I’m scared for the future.”
I tell them of the many I have spoken to, hundreds of people who are all saying the same thing as I leave the challenge to pass it on.
Lisa talks of the pride she has in her children. “I taught them early the importance of a handwritten thank you note.”
There is no way the new face of communication is going to slow. Even I have accepted it in my reach out with this blog and it’s message. But the caution is on the walls.
Today we have talked with five women of great valour, and have conversed of Namaste, communication, tolerance, community, serving others, overcoming fear and the importance of the human voice and written word.
All topics of great depth, and all reason for us to unite in one basic charge, as Rena suggests, “Someday it will come full circle and we will have to return back to the basics and back to community.”
My hope, “May that someday begin within all of us.”