I am not a morning person. When this first became apparent during my elementary school days, my mom gave me a t-shirt with a picture of a kitten sleeping in a coffee mug with the words “I don’t do mornings” written above it. Ironically I have been known to hiss at people who try to wake me up. But I am technically an adult and therefore must do my adulting, which just happens to involved getting up around 6am for my new job.
I silently cursed the rising sun as my weary body forced itself to walk the two blocks to the bus stop. I wanted to be that kitten happily slumbering in the cup, not the human version of grumpy cat. And of course I woke up too late to make coffee. As I climbed aboard the bus I was aghast to find my only seating options were to sit sideways or share a seat. In my desire to shield any unsuspecting seatmate from the wrath of un-caffeinated Tanya I reluctantly sat in a sideways seat and awaited the nausea. At least that’s what I told myself. Really I was just Seattle frozen.
By the time I got on to my transfer bus for the remaining few stops, I was content to take one of the reserved seats in the front. I was just returning to the workforce after a severe hip flexor/left lower back sprain left me unable to walk or even stand for more than a few minutes at a time. This wasn’t just my first time commuting to a new job; it was the first time I had been able to walk those two blocks to get on a bus. And I was sore! So yes, I sat in the reserved seating. Next to me there was a man with a walker. Across from him was a woman with a cane. Next to her, a young woman with her baby fast asleep in a stroller. I was the only one that didn’t have an easily visible disability, which became a problem when a man in a wheelchair boarded the bus two stops before I got off. Of course I would have moved because it was the right thing to do. However, before I could manage the woman sitting in the first non-reserved seat started pointing at me and loudly proclaiming that I would need to get up. Keep in mind I still haven’t had my coffee. Before I could process what she was saying, she repeated herself, then pointed at the man rolling onto the bus ramp, then pointed that damn finger back at me again. I suddenly wished I was grumpy cat, and then I could bite her and get away with it. Apparently I wasn’t moving fast enough while I was fantasizing about assault with a toothy weapon, because there it was again, the scolding finger judging me. Then the rest of her fingers got involved and she progressed to full on gesturing. And I still hadn’t had any coffee. So I looked her straight in the eye and sternly said “just because I don’t look disabled doesn’t mean I’m not injured. I have a severe hip sprain and I need a seat.” She looked mortified. At this point the bus driver asked if I was okay and made finger lady get up so I could have her seat. That was the first time I truly smiled that day. You see, sometimes its better to stay frozen then be caught wishing you could melt into a puddle.
I love all things pumpkin spice. Well except those fake scented candles. They give me a migraine. Once fall begins, I make it my personal mission to eat as many pumpkin flavored things as possible. This is my first October since going gluten-free which has put a real damper on my pumpkin pie consumption. So when the cashier at Fred Meyer asked me if I found everything okay, I mentioned I was bummed but not surprised that they don’t have any gluten-free pumpkin pie. I expected some sort of negative reaction since I didn’t respond with the traditional “yes.” Instead, she told me how complicated it is to safely operate a gluten-free kitchen. Turns out, she grew up working in the bakery her parents owned.
A look of pleasant nostalgia lit up her face as she talked about getting up at 4am during the Missouri summers to start prepping the dough. I should have known by how friendly she was that she wasn’t a Seattle native. During her prep time, flour soared freely around the kitchen, giving the illusion of a light snowstorm. While a little wheat flour wouldn’t hurt me, it could cause harm for celiac patients. In order for her parents to provide gluten-free options they would need a second kitchen stocked with its own dedicated pans and utensils. For small business owners like her parents, this just wasn’t feasible. This was brand new information for me. I’ve had flour poof and spill a little on my kitchen counter while baking, but I had no idea it could fly. Before leaving, I thanked her for teaching me more about being gluten-free. She thanked me for indulging her trip down memory lane. I bet she gets so bored when all the Seattleites fail to acknowledge her ability to speak while she bags their groceries.
I would love to read a blog about the people Uber drivers meet. I can’t even speculate on just how ridiculous and random some of the stories would be. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my most recent Uber driver turned out to be quite the storyteller.
My lower back and hip flexor sprains had kept me mostly housebound for far too long. Since I struggled to stand for more than 5 minutes at a time, I couldn’t walk the two measly blocks to the bus. But I was determined to actually make it to the pinball arcade bar that my boyfriend and his coworkers often frequented. Of course I would be consuming some sort of alcoholic beverage, because, you know, it’s a bar. That meant I couldn’t drive. Thus the Uber. As I sat waiting on the curb, feeling pathetic that I couldn’t stand for the 4 minutes it would take for my car to arrive, the familiar anxiety that comes with being confined with a stranger grew. As soon as I got in the car I told my driver about my injury. I expected the socially mandated “I’m sorry to hear that,” followed by silence. I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me how I hurt myself. I blurted out cliff jumping, and then explained that it was only about a 10-foot jump and therefore doesn’t really qualify. Since I usually hurt myself tripping over my own feet, I was just excited to have a semi-cool story. Then my driver pointed out that he never would have known the difference. In fact, he thought we should come up with a far more fascinating story. So the silliness began as we thought of far more interesting ways for me to get injured. First I was a MMA fighter. Then I was a skydiver. At one point, I was even bucked off a mechanical bull. We actually arrived at our destination before we ran out of ideas. I hope I get to ride with him again some day. Maybe we will even invent reasons for bad traffic. I bet he has some stories.
It was a brisk but sunny fall day when I decided to get a long overdue haircut. I used to scour Groupon for the cheapest possible way to get a quality cut. Then I discovered student salons. Before you start picturing me with mangled hair, let me assure you that has never happened. No reasonable person pays tuition to learn something they don’t care about. Every student stylist I’ve had was thrilled by the opportunity to cut a real person’s hair. Plus those dolls they practice on are creepy. Their enthusiasm is demonstrated by the superior quality and detail of each cut. In case that doesn’t dissuade your concerns, an instructor checks the progress of the haircut several times throughout the process.
I could sense the nervous excitement when my stylist, J.R. greeted me. While she was washing my hair, I told her the story of when I inserted my first catheter in nursing school. She visibly relaxed after learning I had also experienced the emotional minefield unique to students in practicum classes. Then we started to chat. A lot. We covered hometowns, rent prices, pets, boyfriends, and hobbies before one of her classmates, A.M., needed a pep talk. Apparently some of the other students decided A.M. studied too hard and was therefore a bitch. As soon as that word left her mouth, she made the face I would expect from someone who just realized they had toilet paper stuck to their shoe. She apologized to me for being unprofessional. I just smiled and said, “Every successful woman gets called a bitch at least once.” She high-fived me with a big smile and a new found bounce in her step. I was happy to be the one who removed her toilet paper.