It is December 30 and I am in a terrible mood. Lots of noise outside at home. Hard to work. Traffic so bad, I can’t just escape and go to yoga. Henry looking at me reproachfully if I don’t take him with me every time I leave the house. Gridlock reigns on the street I take to the Whole Foods, where I’ll be ripped off as I am several times a week – and maybe more today because I’m buying all the ingredients for the stuff I’m bringing to various parties. The Whole Foods parking lot is so crammed full of upscale automobiles they’ve hired two people to direct traffic. Things wouldn’t be so bad if I could just walk to the damn Whole Foods market where I spend all our money.
Shoulders hunched over the wheel, a couple of hundred dollars poorer, I’m driving home when I see him: he’s got to be homeless because only a homeless person would eat a plate of food off the top of a newspaper box. I also wonder how long newspaper boxes will be on the sidewalks. When will they go the way of the phone box?
This is on the corner of Olympic and Barrington where he’s finishing his lunch. There’s a bone of some kind and he’s lifting the last piece of bread to his lips. He’s smiling. He’s so happy. He’s grateful for the plate of food. And I get it suddenly. I get it long and hard, and it’s now January 2 and I still get it.
Mary Marcus, quit complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter. Count your blessings. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Resign your long-standing role as one of the kvetch sisters.
Remember his smile and be grateful!
Mary Marcus is the author of The New Me.