I came home. I was tired, a little spent from the day. Not from the day per se. Just from the driving, the constant driving that is the definition of living in Southern California. There’s no romance to it these days. Drought. Heat — excessive heat. Okay, nothing like what’s going on in other parts of the country. But this is So Cal. We have no ability to roll with the changes. We are trained to meet life with a Wal-Mart mentality — a comfortably climate-controlled environment and every item on its proper shelf. (Except between midnight and 6am. Have you ever been? It’s a disaster. What the hell was Sam thinking?! I’ve spent the best years of my life on two days in particular at a Wal-Mart nearby between those specific hours. Never again.)
Anyway, I got home. My wife was in the kitchen. The cats and the dog were there too. Hugs and kisses all around. And my wife just staring at me. Not creepy or anything. Just something that I would notice — because I live with her, I know her habits, her behaviors. But I let it slide. I was tired. I was hot. I was sweaty. I was thoroughly unappealing. But something was weird. She just kept staring. Waiting, it seemed. For what? I had no clue. I had some groceries, some cat litter, some other various sundries to deposit in their proper places. So I did what needed to be done or attempted to do so when it caught my eye. There on the counter. I had been in the house for more than 10 minutes and had been standing right next to it. The Gift!
A brand new coffee maker. (I am am, I eagerly confess, a caffeine enthusiast.) A kind of fancy one by our standards. It was a brilliant crimson red! (Our previous one, which had broken down two days before, was a standard innocuous white.) But this new one was whatever the opposite of innocuous is.. It was the color of a femme fatale’s finger nails.
But still it took me 10 minutes to notice.
So often I am seemingly hyper-aware. I know everything that is going on, know where everything is, what’s out of place, what’s new or strange, etc. But that’s crap. I always forget that we rarely notice right away what is new and different. Because we are consumed with some other very important activity at the time that we enter a room. We have our own ambition, our own goal, our own mission. We come into the room to get something done and often to the exclusion of anything new that might be noticed. That new thing has to strike us, has to arrest our attention. The surprise. All too often I know exactly where I am going on stage rather than knowing where I wish to go and dealing with the new circumstance that is the surprise.