Who knew that screwing up an appointment date with a client would lead to the most magnificent 35 mph day? Remember when I talked a few weeks back about slowing down to the speed of life? I talked about a time in my life when I was forced to slow down and how now in my 60s I’m considering the merits of that speed.
Back when I had my 35 mph inspiration, it was an absolutely necessary thing; I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do because of health reasons. Now I’m looking at it as a want-to-do thing, wanting to slow down.
But wanting and doing are two different things as anybody knows who has wanted to lose weight but didn’t.
But I got to experience a 35 mph when a happy mistake fell in my lap.
What happened is I looked at my appointment book and read the name of the client I was seeing the next day. Wait a minute, I thought, didn’t we change that date? When I checked with my client, I was right about getting it wrong. She was in LA with her Dad and we’d rescheduled only I’d forgotten to erase her name from my Thursday calendar.
It had been a super busy Monday-Wednesday with speeds up to 75 mph so to suddenly have open space was rather startling, like when you’re driving on the freeway and suddenly traffic has slowed down. It takes a second to adjustment.
A change of schedule, a change of pace
I could have stayed home on that Thursday puttering around the house but I’d promised to stop at SAX that day to help the girls make decisions about the signage on their consignment store. “Will you help us figure out the best place to put the new signs?” they’d asked. I was thrilled to be asked!
But now instead of doing it before seeing my client, I’d be driving down to Marin for that reason alone. If you all could hear me when I’m complaining, you’d hear the subject is always about driving: slowdowns on 101, traffic snarls out of nowhere, city street traffic that takes forever to get through. There, you’ve heard enough.
I could have called and told them I was going to stay in Sonoma but a promise is a promise so I got dressed and headed west on 37 and then south on 101.
Daughter time is me time
A friend of mine had been gently suggesting I schedule more ‘me’ time in my life. Sometimes I wonder, What is that?
Once I got to the store, the advice giving took only about ten minutes. Mostly I confirmed what the sign guy had suggested but evidently, having Mom there made the decision easier.
I lingered in the store for a bit. Caitlin said, “Did you come down just for us? You don’t have to be somewhere else?” Yup, nope.
Caitlin suggested we walk down to Comforts and she’d buy me lunch while Erin stayed at the store.
We strolled down San Anselmo Avenue chit chatting. On the way back I saw the olive oil store and she said, “Let’s go in!” Maybe this was me time, poking around in the olive store. After taste tests, I chose one and we walked back out to the street.
Caitlin and I walked across the bridge over the creek and looked at the water rushing along. This is the creek that threatened to overflow its banks and flood their store several times since January. Caitlin’s arms were sore for days when she had to fill sand bags that protected their front door in case the street flooded.
Bookstores are filled with me time
It was time for her to get back to the store and for me to leave. I got into the car and thought, What do I do now? I’d spotted a bookstore in San Rafael when I was passing through to get to San Anselmo. I decided to check it out.
It’s Copperfield’s Books. What a feast of a bookstore! I giggled going through cards in the card racks; I selected a coloring book about hats and cats for an image consultant friend of mine; I checked out the reference section for books on writing.
I found one that was new to me: Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma by Melanie Brooks. She interviews several authors about what it was like to tell their hard stories. Wow! I think this book was put into my path and since I was having a 35 mph day, I was actually going slow enough to discover it.
I made my purchases and went to the front end of the store where there’s a little cafe. I sat at the tall counter that looks outside the big windows onto Fourth Street. There is nothing more luxurious for me than being in a bookstore, in a corner, staring out a window. And that’s mostly what I did. Stared out the window. No rushing. No checking the time. Just hanging.
I was in heaven. I had just found a place that could be my haven on a day when I’m working in Marin. I could just get off in San Rafael, walk into a good-natured independent bookstore and hang out. That’s good for my soul, I just know it.
It was time to move along. I looked at the time. I was going to be in rush hour traffic and I didn’t even care. Miss Traffic Complainer was happy to get into her car, select a podcast to listen to (NPR’s Fresh Air with Terri Gross and Bullseye with Jessie Thorn are my favorites). I’d listen to interviews with writers and artists, smiling all the way home.
I think I just discovered some nourishing me time activities. Now the test will be to actually schedule those purposefully.
What do you do to fill me time? I’d love your ideas!
Details of my 35 mph day’s outfit: Navy pants by Chico’s; navy top by Zoran; long blue open sweater coat by Theory; hat and brooch are vintage; shoes by AGL.