09 May 2010

Things You Can't Say in Public

My favorite grocery cashier is a bit of a sad sack. Mel is a big guy, very overweight, and he doesn't wear his weight lightly. Every ounce presses down on him, giving him the appearance of someone wearing a bulletproof vest made of cinder blocks.

I try to cheer him up, of course. I am genetically programmed to try and bring cheer to the cheerless. Just ask my sisters. They do it too.

We goof, we joke, we say things that make us chronically misunderstood by the humorless. It is our cross to bear.

Mel and I have developed a pretty good relationship, though, for people who only speak to each other about 45 seconds a week. One time he even told me that talking to me was the nicest thing that had happened to him all day.

(Insert "aw" here).

Tonight he was especially down. I thought that maybe we were high school classmates, so I asked him where he had grown up. Not here, it turned out, but he had lived here for over 15 years.

"But I don't know anybody," he said.

"You should get out more," I chirped.

"My dog doesn't let me," he answered.

So then we had to talk dog for a while. He agreed that Goldie is a great-looking dog (of course I have pictures of my dog in my wallet. Don't you?) He told me about his red pit bull, Allie.

He concluded with: "She's the only thing that keeps me going. The one thing."

I managed to refrain from giving Mel assvice, though. He was in no mood for it. It would have done more harm than good.

But I would have liked to have tell him this: What keeps you going is up to you. No one is going to do the work of finding the things that keep you going. I know that kind of sucks sometimes, but it's actually part of the fun of life. Everything is out there and you have the responsibility and the will to choose what it is going to be that you occupy yourself with.

You have one life. You have lots of choices. Some choices get made for you. How you see it all is all your choice. Enjoy the ride.

In other news, check out this amazing hillside that is covered in multicolored iceplant:
The most spectacular hill of ice plant, Montecito


Isabella Golightly said...

It's funny, isn't it, how it takes some people their whole lives to figure out that they are in charge, not their mother, the parish priest, their doctor, the boss, their husband, whoever? Some people never never get it. Very sad.

grace said...

That is sad! I understand the feeling of needing someone dependent on you to keep yourself going, but you're right, ultimately, it has to be internal. We're all in this for ourselves. :)

Suzanne said...

Hmmm... that is the best advice I've heard in a long time. Long time.

Aunt Snow said...

Poor Mel. He should take his dog to a dog park and mix it up with other dog owners. Or maybe he should take his dog to obedience training first? I'm not sure what he means by "my dog won't let me."

Dogs are great icebreakers for conversation - my neighbors all know my dog better than they know me, and they love him!

Diana said...

A girlfriend of mine said the same thing to me a week ago She said that but for her Shitzu she wouldn't be here. She is going through a really hard time I know and I love my pooches like no one's business, but to be in such a sad place. The thing is I agree with you and I think that sometimes you have to work to find the happy (or even the un-suicidal), but she is not really open to advice in her current wallowing state. I am just glad that she has something to live for, even if it is a Shitzu.

flurrious said...

I've checked and, as it turns out, I have no pictures of your dog in my wallet.

trinity67 said...

It is sad.

Anonymous said...

Poor Mel :( Just reading this made me feel sad and grateful that I have a lot that keeps me going. A dog can be a great companion but it still broke my heart that it's the only thing keeping him going.

Inspiring advice.

The dog parks near where I live are very social. You might not have full blown conversations with everyone but most people are curious about your dog, its age and any funny stories you might have. Plus sometimes your dog forces you into conversations by playing with others poochies.

Anonymous said...

wow, that's a cool picture!

Anonymous said...

Well, no one ever told me I was Ms. Sensitivity. I, too, hope one day Mel can see that his only obstacle in life are his own limitations.

roo said...

Hmmm. Suebob, that might have been a good message for me to hear. Maybe I'm not the intended recipient of your so-called ass-vice, but I might take it anyway.

nonlineargirl said...

It is sad that the thing that he lives for also makes his life worse. Come to think of it, I know a number of people like that.

Rebekah said...

Thanks for this reminder. I've been feeling pretty stuck for awhile and hashed through it with my therapist yesterday. I've had an almost overwhelming sense of not being able to change my "stuckness" which seems to exacerbate the depth of the rut...particularly over the past week where I just could not see how things could improve. I'm not, and wasn't, suicidal but I did feel pretty hopeless. I do know it is up to me to make changes and today I feel more refreshed to try again.

Karl said...

I need to hear this kind of stuff more often.

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