June 16th, 2020
Last Friday was a very ordinary day. I got up early, as I almost always do, took my shower and got dressed, just like usual. And then dived into my day. Just like always.
But I was feeling unsettled, a little contrary, kind of out of step with myself. I kept trying to shake it off but it stayed with me. By the time the noonwalk was over I knew that I was hot, tired and uncharacteristically cranky to go along with everything else. Which means I also knew that my best course of action was to be kind to the other person in my house by not being there.
Of course there are limited places to go still. Things are open, but I'm not completely comfortable going to most of those places unless it's absolutely necessary. I have not yet eaten in a restaurant since the virus made it's unwelcome entrance. (we do take out at least once a week though) I have been to the grocery store weekly, the hardware store twice and Walmart once, each time wearing a mask and washwashywashy afterwards. I understand the importance of the whole rigamorole but it makes me want to avoid the entire process by not going and not doing. And to make things worse, on Friday last week, the library was still not open.
Even I, a person who is almost always in a good mood, the Pollyanna of Bayshore Dr., the annoyingly cheerful person has their limitations and I think I hit it on Friday. So I decided, despite the heat, despite the humidity, despite that fact that I had already walked several miles, to do my last errands of the day on foot. My idea was to walk and sweat my bad mood right out of myself.
I set out in no rush, pockets filled with the things I needed. Money in one pocket, my phone in another, my mask wadded and stuffed into the third pocket and my ever-present, just-in-case-it-rains small zippy bag in the last one. (It was an unusual pair of shorts that not only had two functional back pockets but also two perfectly usable front pockets! Woohoo to pockets)
I saw very few people because most folks are too smart to be outside in the heat and humidity of the afternoon and perhaps it was just the timing but there weren't even many cars so crossing the street was an amble instead of a trot. I passed businesses that were closed, some that were open but none of them were busy. I could hear the hum of air conditioning units at every turn. As I walked past the empty school yards, empty parking lots and a few empty lots that are waiting to become something else, my spirits just fell lower.
I found myself walking more and more slowly as I neared my destination but eventually, no matter how much I procrastinated, I arrived. I pulled my mask out of my pocket and put it on and hated how much hotter and more humid I felt with it in place. I walked into the store, bought my one tiny purchase and barely had time to cool off before I needed to go back outside into the heat again. Immediately, I removed the mask and stuffed it back into my pocket.
I decided, arbitrarily to take a different route home and pointed myself in that direction. It was a good choice. Instead of businesses I was in a residential area with shady trees hanging over the sidewalk and flowering things filling the air with perfume. I saw birds in bird baths and little dogs in windows watching me walk by. I found my attitude picking up a little bit without any real effort on my part. Maybe I just needed a change of scenery.
At the last possible minute I decided to walk through part of downtown Venice. The shop windows are fun to see even though sometimes the sidewalks are crowded. I patted the pocket holding my mask. If necessary, it was still there. As I turned down Miami Avenue, the street I chosen on a whim, I passed the beautiful fountain in the tiny park at the top of the street and I saw..... something. What was that?
It looked like a bubble? A bubble? I assumed that there was some small child blowing soap bubbles as they walked down the street. But when I passed through to the other side of the park, there was nobody. Literally not a single solitary soul on the sidewalk of either side of the street. And yet...there were bubbles. More bubbles. Lots of bubbles! What on earth?
I followed the bubbles to a bubble machine dangling from a metal flower pot holder in front a sign indicating that The Art Gallery Was Open!
The street was filled with bubbles. I was practically swimming in them. The tiniest bit of breeze can safely carry bubbles for a long way and the capriciousness of the breeze had them dancing both up and down the road. I stood quietly and watched the bubbles floating, bobbing, and spinning along and suddenly, I wasn't in a bad mood anymore. Suddenly I was in a great mood.
I think probably everyone should own a bubble machine and any time you are in a less than stellar frame of mind, turn it on. As it turns out it's nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when surrounded by bubbles.
And there you have it. Dr. Sam's solution for a bad mood. Bubbles. Either the kind you do yourself with that cheapo bottle and wand from the dollar store or an fancy schmancy bubble machine that does the work for you. If neither of those work, try a bubble bath. That's the ticket.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.