Litter and Bubbles and Comfortable Shoes

He littered.  The guy in a red pickup truck flat-out littered.  I decided it was a man—I couldn’t quite tell.  He threw a bright yellow box with a red  logo on it (Bojangles, maybe) right out his window.  The box landed on the highway right in front of me.  I crushed it.  That thing had probably surrounded a sausage biscuit or a couple of pieces of fried chicken.  You know it smelled good.

We drove 75 miles an hour on I-40 East, past Raleigh.  I was headed to a week-long mostly silent writing retreat.  He was obviously headed to Hell.

I forget sometimes what a safe bubble of a world I live in at home in Greensboro.  I have a reddish-brown leather chair with a back that reclines and a matching ottoman.  That chair and ottoman fit my short body and sometimes-sore back better than any chair ever.  I read the paper and fall asleep in it.

My husband has changed out the 50-year-old worn brass doorknobs for new lever ones.  Some of the old ones are too hard for me to turn.  A couple of lamps are modified, too.  One turns on when you touch any metal part and one has a big screw instead of a knob to turn.  My husband has a lot to do with my bubble being safe.  I have a Tempurpedic bed and pillow that support my back and let my joints rest peacefully.  I sleep well and long on it, especially when it’s cold and we use the poufy down comforter.

My bubble includes friends who I am sure do not litter.  I doubt if most ever eat fast food from a clam shell box in the car and the few who might, including my husband, would most likely recycle the box.

I live easily and peacefully inside my bubble with my husband, a few friends and, often, two daughters with grandchildren and husbands.  They light up my soul.

I have commitments.  They fit in my bubble, too.  I spend time at a day center for people who are HIV positive called Higher Ground.  Sometimes I help my church bring in lunch, sometimes I lead a writing group, and other days I just hang out.  I feel safe there.  I can be myself.  I know their secret and they trust me enough to tell me their stories.  I learn from them every time I go.

A while back I wrote a blog post titled “You Can Tell By the Shoes.”  A friend and I traveled in her minivan to Atlanta for the Spiritual Directors International Conference.  There were to be 500 of us at a huge hotel and conference center.  We waited in a slow line to check in.

“Hey look, Marjorie,” I said.  “Look at people’s shoes—you can tell who is one of us.”  I wore clunky Teva sandals and so did she.  At least we didn’t wear socks with them.  Other (younger) women wore pointy-toed, stylish shoes, even with tight jeans and t-shirts, that clicked on the polished, bare floor.  Our shoes maybe squeeched a bit and our pants were not tight.

Now I’m at a Women’s Writing Retreat for a week at a big house close to the beach with 7 other women.  We line up our shoes by the front door.  Sandy or dirty shoes we wear outside, then we switch to clean shoes or slippers or just socks.  I didn’t pack my super-thick European hand-knit cotton slipper-socks so I just wear regular black socks.

Here’s what I see by the door at 4:30pm on a cloudy, chilly Sunday afternoon:

4 pairs of broken-in sneakers, for serious walkers, maybe.

2 pairs of black clogs, one SAS and one Merrell.

1 pair of tall black Ugg boots.  I’ve never tried one on.  I almost did just now but I decided that would be nervy and rude.

1 pair of slip-on Reikers.

I pair of flip-flops.  She must have been outside.

1 pair of brown Finn Comfort loafers.

And, yes, I did look inside to see the brands.

I am with my people, again.  No clickety soles.

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Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Each of us carries our world with us–but I don’t even want to visit the world of that guy who littered, although as writers we will. Imagining is better than riding shotgun with the guy and watching him roll the window down…

    Good post Robin.

    • Your comment touched my heart. To write I have to observe. It’s a constant source of wonder, disgust, laughter and tenderness. How else would we write, indeed. Thank you.

  2. Great post. I would fit right in with the comfy shoes crowd. Life’s too short to wear shoes that hurt your feet and that could cause you to hurt something that doesn’t hurt already. As for living in a bubble, I have a lot of acquaintances on FB who keep me from getting out of touch with reality. They are my ex-students, friends and family members, but, boy, are their ideas different from mine. I’m not sure any of them would dump their leftovers out the window, but they certainly do and say other things that I can’t go along with. I could unfriend them, but instead I just think of them as my own personal reality check.

    • I love the idea of not hurting something that doesn’t already hurt, Susan. We also have a friend who operates on a different wavelength. When he writes things that infuriate me, I don’t reply. Then he’ll send me cute mama and baby animals that make me melt. He is our reminder that people come in shades of grey.

  3. Hey, Mom, great post and I love all these comments. I didn’t realize people still littered.

    • Thanks, Steph. You live in a bubble, too!

  4. Oh, the littering and disrespect for our poor, sweet earth is so sad…but the rest of the post kept me smiling! I know the tribal embrace and agree it’s comforting and reaffirming. Gentle peace and good laughs to your day.

    • “tribal embrace” made me smile. Glad you liked this!


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