Just Write: The Wave

This past weekend, I realized there’s a little thing I truly miss about living in a small town.

I miss The Wave.

You know the one. You’re driving down the road, get close to a car coming the other way, and see the driver’s hand pop up from the wheel giving a little wave. It’s a quick lift of the hand, a small gesture, but one that doesn’t exist in the big city.

People don’t do The Wave here in Atlanta.

In fact, just this morning, it hit me that people don’t even do the Thank You Wave here. You know, the one that’s flashed when you let somebody out in front of you? I let a man out in front of me at Starbucks and got nothing. Nada. No lift of the hand, no gesture of thanks.

Yet about two miles later, someone let me go in front of them and I did the Thank You Wave. I’m sure they didn’t see it. Or maybe they did and thought, “What the hell is she doing?”

We moved from our small hometown a little over 4 years ago. Going back there now, we easily fall into the habit of throwing The Wave to people we pass, and they wave back!

It’s a little thing, but it means so much.

This has been my post for this week’s Just Write, hosted by the lovely and talented Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary.

Just Write: The Dust Settles

It’s been a whirlwind.

All at once, all the things had to be done.

Last day of work. First day of work.

Moving out. Moving in.

Taking the kid to Florida. Picking the kid up from Fort Valley.

Everything happened all at once. It wasn’t planned like that — it is what it is.

The dust is settling. We’re settling in the new house, making sure to take a minute to look out back at the calm body of water that’s feet from our back door.

I’m settling in with my new job. I’ve been going into the office every day, but hope to get into the groove of working from home most all of the time starting next week.

Henry will be home tomorrow after being gone for 12 days. On Friday, he’ll ride in the parade with his scout pack.

The weekend will be spent catching up, unpacking, being together, and watching the dust settle even more around us in our new surroundings.

Just Write: The DOT Worker

He sits perfectly perfect, posture textbook worthy, with his work-issued STOP sign leaning next to him on the bench. His orange vest is clean and zipped, his hood pulled over his head, under his hard hat.

He’s a DOT worker I pass every morning on my way to work.

Without fail, he’s sitting on the bench at the intersection with a book in his hand. There’s normally a pen, frantically jotting down notes in the margins or underlining passages. Whatever it is he’s doing, he’s doing with intensity, not seeming to notice that he’s sitting five feet from one of the busiest streets in the area.

This morning he had a small legal pad, again, frantically writing line after line on his lap.

In my head, at that stoplight, I wonder what his story is. I mean, he’s a young guy. The options are endless. Today my thoughts flowed and my imagination went wild.

He’s working a DOT job during the day and going to school at night. He’s been up with a crying baby because his girlfriend who delivered their first baby a few weeks ago had to return to work at nights. Running on about 90 minutes of sleep, he figures he can get his school assignments read and written while he’s waiting for the bus.

It’s his few minutes of peace before he hits the pavement, holding the sign that switches from STOP to SLOW, allowing the long line of pissed off drivers through the construction zone where his coworkers are jackhammering, bulldozing, and standing around pondering the meaning of life. Work is noisy. Waiting for the bus is quiet.

He doesn’t mind it.

In fact, he loves getting immersed in the novels he’s been assigned at school. His European literature course is his favorite. He’s pondering changing his major from Business to Education. He feels himself being drawn to teaching kids about the power of literature and the power of writing.

As he sees the bus coming down the road, he flips the legal pad to the back and catches a glimpse of the letter telling him he’s been chosen for a short story award at his college.

The young man slips his book and notepad into the side of his lunch bag, grabs his STOP/SLOW sign, and gets on the bus. He smiles to himself knowing that if he can keep on going, working hard, and loving his family, he will never live his life on STOP or SLOW — he will live it on GO.

This is my installment for Just Write, hosted by Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary.


Just Write: I’m Just Writing

This morning I forgot to take my medicines.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I took one thyroid medicine. And then I looked at my pill case and thought to myself, “Self, don’t forget to take these before you leave this bathroom.”

Surprise! “Self” as we’ll call her, forgot.

“Self” got about 3 minutes from work and went, “Oh crap! Self, you forgot your meds! This isn’t going to end well.”

And let me tell you. About 5 hours later, I felt like I was in a haze of hot, purple, smoky air with somebody pushing me a little to my right every time I stood up.

All that is probably just from the Lexapro, too. That doesn’t include the fact that I’ve been without – due to my own stupidity – my arthritis meds for a few days and can’t remember to refill it. (Spoiler: I refilled it)

Funny thing I haven’t shared. Recently I switched from Zoloft to Lexapro for anxiety I’ve suffered from since Charlie died. The switch took 9 weeks, but the first week? It was horrible.

There was a 15 to 30 minute time frame one of those where I could feel every single particle of air on my skin. You read that right. Every. Single. Particle.

It felt like millions of tiny needles with air blower thingies on the ends of them, whispering sharply across my skin. Every touch was felt. Every nerve ending was stimulated.

It was quite amazing. In those moments, I realized the power of that medicine. If it could do THAT, imagine what it was doing in my brain. Unfortunately, in those moments, I didn’t really care how it was working in my brain. I simply wanted it to NOT FEEL CRAZY WHEN AIR TOUCHED ME!

Today wasn’t like that. But it was close.

I promise not to forget my medicine tomorrow.

*This was part of Just Write, a free writing exercise hosted by the amazing Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.*

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