Posted by: deadmousediaries | June 24, 2010

Living in the Land of You-Never-Know – a realization from Mitchell Kyd

I know she will get cold and she will whine. She will be unrelenting.  It’s summer and 87 frickin’ degrees outside at 8:00 pm.  But inside, the place to where we are all rushing to relax and the place to which we will lay down cold hard cash for the pleasure of being out of the heat, the air conditioning will blast too high.  (Unless we’ve already been boggling for an hour and then it will feel just right.)

She always starts with an expressive little shoulder shimmy.  Brrrrrr! she will trill casually. Then she’ll  find a way to trump up a few wild-hair goosebumps.  Without acknowledgement, with no sign that we intend to leave, she will throw in a short run of  that fake teeth- chatter thing,  just for emphasis.  She’s a powerful influence and always sets loose a chain reaction. It becomes contagious, like a yawn. Everyone will start to feel a little “chilly” and before you know it, we will be bailing early on our girls-night out.

Take a jacket, I say. Because you never know.

OMG. You never know????.

The little voices in my head magically appear complete with  little bodies now.  They are doing a tribal victory dance knowing I am one step closer to becoming my mother.

Make sure you wear clean underwear. You never know. Take an umbrella. You never know. Keep you gas tank filled. You never know. I’ve been living in the land of You-Never-Know so long now that I’m a naturalized citizen. And I’m terrified I’m getting toxic.

How would you rather be remembered: as the one has the stones to admit she is uncomfortable- however passively annoying –  or as the one or frets and nags and picks and pecks for hours in advance to make sure you’ve covered all contingencies?

I don’t want to grow old before my time so I’m changing my address; I am moving out of  the land of  You-Never-Know. Granted, it won’t be as  much like loading up a U-Haul as it will be packing up a shoebox at a time, but I’m going to do it, dammit! It will require some strategic thinking,  like a reformed smoker who has to substitute new vices where a long draw on a cool filter would seemingly fit better.

I’ll start small, employ semantics, maybe change it up to asking questions. Do you have enough gas to get home, too? Weatherbug looking good this afternoon? Have some extra quarters for the toll booth? Let them think it’s all their idea while I reprogram my own linguistics.  Yeah. That’s the ticket! It will all be so subtle that even my kids will never realize that I caught myself before falling off the deep end. Again.

By the time I retool my own hip version of the land of You-Never-Know, everyone will want to go there.  Buy the second pair. You never know. Take a bag of chocolate. You never know. Pack a trashy nightie. You never know. We need a world where another pair of  slingbacks, a golden-wrapped Godiva or a little naughty romance could be the answers to life’s impending disasters.

Way back in the Way Back (in the late 70’s at the beginning of my career) I tore a page from a magazine and taped it to my office panel.  It carried a story called “Pick More Daisies”  that had been written by a woman from Kentucky.  She was 85 at the time she had the big AhHAs she wrapped  into that short bit of prose.  Her name was Nadine Stair and she burrowed straight into my soul;  I never forgot it.

Through the wonders of the Internet (thank you Al Gore), I found Nadine’s wise words again and I’m sharing with you now.  If I could hope to excavate this much of my own truth in the next 30 years, maybe growing old won’t really be so bad. But I will not go forward without kicking and screaming and I will be sure to take a jacket – because you never know.

Pick More Daisies by Nadine Stair

If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

Thank you for reminding us, Nadine.

2010 Mitchell Kyd


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