Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sloth and Light

I started this post two days ago! And then yesterday I got sidetracked, as I often do. Yehuda, my friend and mentor, tells me that I never know how much time I have and to treat every day as if it were my last. "2day. act quick," he says. "There's no time to waste." Well, that tweet was yesterday, and today I'm acting a little quicker than usual. 

What sidetracked me yesterday was the way my day began, by waiting in line in the Valley's bone-chilling tule fog at Reedley DMV at 7:25 a.m. This was after the tweet from Yehuda, and I thought I was starting out quite well, thank you. By getting there early, I was second in line, and I'd be out of there with my new temporary license in a such a flash. I stood in line shivering until the doors opened at 8, sipping cold coffee that steamed from my Starbucks thermos in the colder fog. By being there early, I could also use the time to finish studying the driver's handbook. And why was I doing this?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I had to show my driver's license as an ID after buying new shoes. I glanced at my license as I put it away and noticed it had expired--last September! So for a couple of weeks since then, I had been pretending I STILL didn't know about it until I could get to DMV during hours they were actually open. Now, here I was, standing in line, in the fog, no need to pretend any longer.

Finally, at 8:00 a very large, cheerful doorkeeper swung the doors back and boomed a big "goodmorning." I gave him my biggest, most cheerful smile and soaked up the rush of warm air from the room. 

"Where is your paperwork?" he asked me.

"What paperwork?" I asked.

"I need to see what you are coming here for," he said, smile gone.

"I just need to renew my license," I said.

"Well, first you'll need to fill out the white form in the rack over by that wall for that specific purpose," he said pointing to the wall, "and then go to Window Number one."

I stepped out of line, yanked one of the forms from the rack, and tried to quickly get back in line. Only about ten of the approximately 75 people behind me had gotten in front of me. I had to be in Fresno for a doctor's appointment by 10:15. I could still make it. A smiling employee at Window One apparently had been watching me and called, "Ma'am! You have to fill that form out over there, BEFORE you get back in line!" Maybe she didn't mean what I thought I thought she meant. I looked at her again to be sure, but, yes, she was nodding at me and jabbing a finger back and forth toward the counter under the racks of forms, smile and all.

Deflated, I stepped back and began to fill out my form and watch everyone who had been behind me in line push ahead to the front of me. I didn't finish the form, just stuffed it in my purse and trudged back home, on foot, ten blocks through the fog (couldn't have driven there, because I had no license, remember?), bawling like a spoiled brat. Jim, my husband, called me on my cell phone and asked cheerily if I had my temporary license. "No-o," I sniffled, and whined out my poor story through the mist.

I did make it to my doctor's appointment--driving--50 miles through the fog, into Fresno, pretending, again, that I didn't know my license was expired. When I finished my appointment there, I noticed I had a voice mail from Ruth and Amy, the blessed women who clean my house. "We are at your house, but you aren't here, so I guess we'll just let ourselves in with the spare key." I just hate wasted days like this! I had no memory that they would be coming on Monday; they usually come every other Tuesday! The house was full of clutter and the usual stuff I hide away on cleaning day. I inched back home through the fog, wary of any flashing red and blues.

Ruth and Amy were gone when I got back. The house sparkled and smelled slightly of clorox, the clutter in neat piles, the laundry folded and stacked in a large chair in the bedroom. The only thing forgotten was the vacuum, not put away, but sitting in front of the open door of the closet where we store it, its attachments strewn through the hallway on the floor. I smiled for the second time that day. Today was Jim's dad's birthday and his folks were coming to supper tonight and the house was picked up and clean. All I had to do was cook. Sometimes the world goes on just perfectly in spite of me!

I sent a tweet to Yehuda later. That was the first time I have ever tweeted him, by the way. I usually wait to devour words from my teachers. But, late afternoon when I checked my messages I saw he had a tweet to everyone in general about wanting to hear from US sometimes. Funny, it never seems to occur to me that a teacher might want to hear someone else's words other than his own. He tweets to us every day. I tweeted back and let him know that even though I had done my morning meditation and had started out thinking I'd done everything right, my day had gone really shitty. However I'd seen light working in the world in spite of myself. He tweeted back immediately "its never inspite because there's always light inside that we don't always see." I like that.


  1. jwkrause@comcast.netJanuary 5, 2010 at 8:17 PM


  2. I think jwkrause said it best with his pithy "testing" comment. But seriously, sounds like you were being tested that day. Sorry to hear about the DMV!! It is utterly expected from a trip to that godforsaken place, but there's always hope it could go better. Hope it does next time you go.