Friday, June 5, 2009

My Version of "24"

I once saw a small portion of an episode of "24"-that popular series starring Keifer Sutherland last year at a friend's house. A couple of minutes was all I could take. The torture and brutality were horrid - not enjoyable tv viewing at all. As I understand it, though, it's very popular because of all the blood and guts, action, drama, mystery, torture, and unusual time sequencing. No thanks.

Fastforward to this morning. I went to Bean Town in Sierra Madre with Daisy and Julia to get a scone and have some coffee. Bean Town is one of my most favorite places in the whole wide world. It really captures the essence of Sierra Madre. And Sierra Madre, for all of its small-town corruption, gossip, rampant recreational drug use, racism, and hippie liberals with hairy, stinky dogs (not that there's anything wrong with hippie liberals - I love 'em- they're just conservatives who haven't grown up. I could do without their hairy, stinky dogs, though) is a sweet, friendly, endearing, slow-paced, Mayberry kind of place to live. I love the town. It has really grown on me over the past 5 years I've lived here.

But, I digress. The girls who work at Bean Town in the morning are very young and cute. One of them was turning 24 as the banner under the counter read. I wished her a "happy birthday" and then said, "Turning 24 is great, but I'm so glad I'm not 24 anymore. I'm one of those rare people who really believes getting older is great. But, 24 is a great age to be." I really didn't want to be one of those condescending old people in any way. At that moment, Michael comes in. Michael is the friendliest person in town. He's probably in his mid to late 60's and is frequently at Bean Town. He helps himself to his "usual" behind the counter and talks to just about anyone. He's quirky, offbeat, outspoken, funny and just my kind of guy. I really think we could be friends. Everyone seems to know him. I've had a couple of brief and entertaining conversations with him myself. As he's standing in line wishing Amber a "happy birthday" I ask him "Would you want to be 24 again?" He looks at me seriously and quickly says "NO." I laughed and sat down to juggle hot coffee, grabby Julia, a couple of packets of Splenda, a bag with a chocolate chip orange scone (the yummiest, best scones in town! Although Tim has told me mine are better. He's so sweet - but he's wrong)and guiding Daisy to a seat on the couch. I begin to reminisce about my 24th year of life. It wasn't pretty. It was my version of "24" - complete with drama, mystery, action, torture - but no blood and guts thank God.

I should explain. (You knew I would, didn't you?) Let's see, at 24 I was working full-time as a long term sub at Garfield High School where Tim works, going to school part-time, doing my student teaching, and also pregnant with Elena. I didn't have a lot of friends then because I was so busy with the aforementioned activites and a lot of my older friends were in different places geographically and otherwise. My mother had been dead only 4 years at that point (not a long time in my opinion) and I had only been married two years. After the first year of wedded bliss wore off, I was shocked and depressed to realize that my husband wasn't perfect and that I was - gasp - really selfish and immature! Marriage really exposed all these yucky qualities of mine. And it's been 15 years of hard work and determination to grow and change by the grace of God to become less selfish and immature, and yet I have a long way to go. It seems these days the one bonus to time and a little bit of maturity is only greater awareness. I see my selfishness and immaturity more quickly now(see my post "Yelling at the Bus Driver") and am swifter and more skilled at making amends. A recent trial I encountered was just learning a lesson I hadn't in a past similar trial. I was actually glad God gave me a second chance to get it "right" this time. I'm still working on it, though. I know God will be faithful to help me.

Anyway, maybe I'll visit Bean Town tonight. They have their morning bakery items half-priced or free towards closing. And, I love to walk around town at night by myself. I always stay on well-traveled, well-lit streets as I walk past most of the closed businesses and just enjoy my sweet little town. Who knows? Maybe I'll run into Michael.

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