Collected Wisps of Thought

{September 1, 2006}   The Blog in Which I get Separated from my Toothbrush

When it comes right down to it, I believe it’s the surreal moments that count.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Those moments where you find yourself thinking, “How in the world did I end up here?” Those are the moments when life defies description. Sometimes wonderful, sometimes horrible, and sometimes simply… strange.

Tonight I find myself in someone else’s house sitting in an upstairs bedroom yearning for my toothbrush while a party of theater majors blasts opera below. I just finished watching that Drew Barrymore movie Never Been Kissed on my computer, so I’m having high school flashbacks. Or maybe it isn’t the movie. Maybe it’s the kids having wild raucous fun without me. There’s something about becoming an adult that minimizes your chances of feeling this way. Maybe it’s the freedom we have to move around… to get in our cars and drive off… maybe it’s the choices we make to surround ourselves with like people – families and co-workers and friends. I’m not sure, but the truth is I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be the odd one out, a little bit trapped, and a lot bit awkward.

So what in the world am I doing here?!

In my case, it all began when I agreed to watch over the little bookstore I used to manage while the current manager is on vacation. Since I live two hours away and gas costs an arm and a brain, she offered her house for the week so I wouldn’t have to commute back and forth.

I said yes, not considering the turns of events that might eventually lead one to become estranged from their toothbrush. First of all I left it down there (in the bathroom situated just off the TV room now blasting the opera) and second of all my car broke down and has taken all week to repair so I can’t go anywhere, and third of all my cell phone won’t work, and fourth of all I didn’t know there would be theater majors, and that changes everything, now doesn’t it?

Why? Because theater majors bring surreal with them. They carry it in their vest pockets.

And because maybe I would have liked to be a theater major if I’d had the confidence to pull it off. Maybe even now I would like to be a boisterous, exuberant theater major but have to accept that after all this time, I’m still the person who would rather dream longingly of their toothbrush, than walk confidently through the crowd of people to go get it.

This is why the surreal moments count. Because it’s the times when we’re displaced that reveal our true natures. Who am I without all the trappings of the life I’ve created for myself? Without the car and the phone and the house and the husband? Without the whitewashed veneer of adulthood?

Chances are we’re a little bit trapped and a lot bit awkward no matter how old we get.

And that, my friends… is surreal.

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