I Don't Do Linear

Do you ever have one of those days where you notice who you are? I'm not sure I can really explain this but I was walking out to my car this morning when I noticed that my big pots of last year's geraniums are decidedly leggy and past their prime.

And suddenly, I stopped short and thought, "Good Gravy, I'm a person who keeps pots of geraniums! How did that happen?"

Because my mom has always had pots of geraniums and I never liked them much. For one thing, I think geraniums stink and for another, they just never look like abundance to me and that's what I like my pots of flowers to be. I like a huge overflowing cascade of rich color --sheer decadence of texture and (non-stinky) blooms. (Granted, this is Texas so they only look like that for about four days before they start the slow lingering death in the heat, no matter how much water and love and plant food I give them.)

But I digress. (Great Balls O'Fire, I am a person who has a hard time staying on point!) I don't really like geraniums and yet I have two big pots of them in my driveway by the back gate.

So, then I got into my silver Honda Odyssey (Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, I am a person who drives a mini-van!), which is so common here in Austin that I used to have to write my kids' names on the window in shoe polish so they didn't get into the wrong silver Honda Odyssey when I picked them up from school.

(Okay, so I have to tell this story, which I don't think I've ever published before, although I've told this story a LOT so if you've heard it before, just go on about your business. (It's a digression, I know, but that's just who I am.) When the van was about two months old, I had both kids in tow and had gone grocery shopping. I came out to find that someone had hit my van, putting a big old dent in the back right bumper.

I just can't tell you how upset I was. My van is the first brand-new car I've ever driven and I told my husband at the time that it was just too much pressure. But it turned out to be actually cheaper for us to finance a new car than to finance one that was a year old, given how these Hondas hold their value, etc. etc. (That, my friends, was a digression within a digression --are you guys keeping score at home?)

Anyway, my van had a huge dent in the back fender and the person who hit me didn't even leave a note! I was almost crying. And loving little Jane was about 18 months old or so and she kept saying, "Someone hit da new van, Mama? And no note?" She was very concerned. I was looking with such suspicion at the cowboy parked next to me (since his door was open and resting on the front of the van while he unbuckled his baby from his car seat.) that he said, "I'm trying to remember if I was here when you got here."

"I don't think you were," I said, my voice positively dripping with tears. We stood there forlornly, trying to figure out what to do. But, well, I had to get those groceries home and my kids out of the sun so I pressed the remote to unlock my car and it DID unlock.

About two spaces up from the silver Honda Odyssey with the dent.

I'd been mourning the wrong van.

I thought the cowboy was going to have coffee come out of his nose, he was laughing so hard. He's probably STILL telling that story.)

Anyway, I kept doing things all morning and wondering how I first came to be a person who does these things. Does that make sense? Like, I took the recycling and the composting out. (Jeepers! I'm a person who composts and recycles!) I knitted on my sock. (Great Caesar's Ghost! I'm a person who KNITS!) I went and visited my beautiful friend Laura. (DUDE, I am a person who calls Laura a friend!)

I realized that a lot of this life I'm living just sneaked right up on me when I wasn't paying attention. I didn't plan to be living this way at 42. I didn't plan to drive this car or look this way or grow geraniums but you know what? Other than the geraniums, it's a pretty spectacular life. I think maybe I need a bumper sticker that says, "I Don't Do Linear."

It just occurs to me, as I'm writing this and feeling all smooshy about my life and the non-linear blessings of it all, that I now have to go pack for my family because we are going to the coast for the long Labor Day weekend. (I'm the kind of person who goes to the coast! In her silver Honda Odyssey! With her husband and two children.)

(Holy COW, I have two kids! I need to lie down!)


hokgardner said…
Holey smokes! I have three kids! Where did they come from?

I also have a bumper sticker on my car that says "Still resisting the minivan."

And right after I got my current car, the first new car of my life, I hit the unlock button and climbed into the car next to it, which had been unlocked by its owner, who was on the other side of the car, looking very confused. When I looked down and couldn't find my cellphone in the holder between the seats, it dawned on me that there was a problem. I got out, absolutely mortified. In my defense, it was a grey Honda CRV, which looks very like my grey Hyundai Tucson. The woman probably still tells the story about the day the idiot got in her car.
Jennifer said…
Oh my gosh, Barb, you are me, just 10 years from now! But wait, we both have sick geraniums and a silver odyssey. I have to hit the lock button (it makes it honk) to find the darn van in a parking lot. I just said the other day, "I have two kids and a mini-van". My kids are 21 months and 2 months. OMG, I AM almost you 10 years ago.
I love reading your blog, it makes me laugh. (and cry, re:Edward's adventure).
Suna Kendall said…
You win! You made me laugh aloud at work!

I try to buy the least popular color of my cars, so I can find them. We just got a silver pick up 'cause it was a deal (Who, ME? A Pick up?) and dang, there are a lot of those in Austin.

I need to get some pacifist bumper sticker on it. That would make someone key it, and then it would look more unique...hmm, will find another plan.
DK said…
HA! I almost snorted coffee out my nose at that story myself, and I wasn't even drinking coffee! Holy cow, that's funny.

I do feel for you, though. I drive a silver Jeep, which was the midwestern equivalent of a silver Odyssey, and you know, is still a damn popular car down here. It has two broken bumpers on it, a Lebanon NH city dump permit thingie in the side window (so you can drive in and they know you're allowed to be there, you're not just some random Illinoisan leaving your garbage), my NH state inspection sticker from two years ago on the front, the parking stickers from my old hospital on the bumpers, my current parking hang tag, my current state inspection sticker, and a magnetic "k2tog" on the back...and wouldn't you know, I still walk up to other people's silver SUVs all the time and have to use my clicker to find my stupid Jeep. You'd think the damn thing had enough distinctive markings! What, do I need to get it a tattoo?
knitswapster said…
I knew it was time to replace my old Honda Civic in Australia when I realised, after unlocking my car, that I had unlocked it with my house key. Good news, no way I could ever lock my keys in that car. I could just borrow someone else's key. Any key really.
Knitting Rose said…
Life does catch up while you aren't looking doesn't it?
Love your blog.
Lynn said…
OMG I could have written the same stuff except my honda is red and I'm 40! I get the two kids (got 2 of my own) and I get the heat (live in FL) and have my own 1/2 dead geranium sitting out front! And yes there are days where it hits you that you are no longer that young svelte girl of 25 (you know, the one that lives in your mind). Somewhere along the way you turned into your mother! LOL
Anonymous said…
Holy Hannah! You're the type of person who says "good gravy"!!!


Have a great weekend at the coast, dahling...