"It’s been a quiet week in our home town. Thank goodness for ordinary."
After a year of unrelenting hype and hyperbole about the new millennium, I woke up last Saturday morning to a world unchanged by this man- and media-created event. The digital clocks, VCR, microwave, and computer worked.
Lights turned on. A pile of laundry awaited my attention.
I was only a little surprised. We had made no major preparations at our house. We have camping gear and have been known to travel great distances and actually pay nightly fees to be without power and plumbing. Piece o’ Y2Kake.
However, in the days prior to New Year’s, I did see long lines at gas stations and at supermarkets. I heard a disturbing radio commercial for a local gun shop, enticing and inciting citizens to stock up on guns, ammo and MREs.
Bottled water was in short supply, but champagne was not. I saw cases and cases of the stuff everywhere. Are there uses for surplus champagne?
Perhaps food editors will be publishing recipes for this bounty of bubbly like they do for tomatoes and zucchini in the summer. Can champagne substitute for beer in shrimp batter? Or in marinade? Beer bread?
Even the anxiety over banking and ATMs seems to have been all for naught. The Federal Reserve pumped extra cash into the system so that banks would have enough on hand just in case we all decided that our mattresses were safer. What will the Fed do with the excess cash now? I hear they shred it and toss it into a landfill. Such a waste, especially with all the clearance sales. The least they could do is recycle it they way they do with
Christmas trees. Maybe they can mix it with the leftover confetti and media manure and market it as “Millennium Mulch.”
But really, what this non-event caused me to do was to reflect on what I would miss if the bugs and nuts had had their way. It was one of those times when I look at my life, my family, my world and sigh, “Thank goodness.” I was grateful for the ordinary things that somehow became important when I thought about doing without them.
– The coffee is hot and ready every morning when I come downstairs after my shower. Don makes it at night before bed, setting the timer for 5:30 AM. The thermal carafe keeps it hot throughout our morning routine. Don also does dishes.
– The Nevada Appeal is on the driveway in the exact same spot every morning. As small as it is, it provides only a few minutes entertainment or irritation. Angry, incoherent, or grateful letters to the editor. Pictures of soccer kids. The new governor. Names of people
I know. Dilbert. Cathy. My horoscope. What in the heck has the Board of Supervisors (or School Board or Legislature…) done now?
– When the mailbox or e-mail inbox contains a letter. Not junk mail or bills or mass-postings, but a letter. A connection to a world beyond myself. Messages in bottles, wishes, dreams, memories, complaints.
Written language connects us in ways nothing else can because it connects us over time.
– Hot showers. Electricity. A washer and dryer. A car that starts and reliably gets me where I’m going and home again. A good hairdresser. City Cafe’s fat-free berry bran muffins.
– Running into friends at the market. Spontaneous little meetings are one of the delights of living in a place for a long time. Of course, the law of perversity applies here. The longer it’s been since I’ve seen someone or the more important they are, the worse I look.
– Reading in bed before sleep, three pillows behind my head and shoulders, down comforter at my feet or chest depending on the season. A large, long-haired tabby cat nuzzling my book before settling at my feet. My mind gradually shuts down, eyelids flutter shut as I reread the same sentence for the third time. And then sleep.
I need to remind myself to see and appreciate the ordinary in my life, for it is that appreciation which truly makes for a well-lived life. If I have a New Year’s resolution it is to honor the everyday blessings enough, so that when I look back over my day, or my life, what I feel is joy and satisfaction, not regret.
I hope the same for you.
Lorie Smith Schaefer and her husband have lived in Carson City for over 20 years. They have raised two daughters who are now in college. Lorie is a reading specialist at Seeliger Elementary School.