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Button Sunday

August 16th, 2009 (01:57 am)

current mood: relaxed

A lot of people ask me where I get the buttons that I use for Button Sunday. Some of them are button photos people send me (it started with my friend Denece). Many of them are pictures I've shot of buttons belonging to Lynne or me--we've both been collecting buttons since we were wearing Dr Pepper Lip Smackers (me) or making art out of McDonald's straws (Lynne), i.e., since we were early teens. Most of the button photos are lifted from the Internet. I'm willing to do time in Internet jail as long as there's wireless.

Today's button has a mini story behind it.

When I'm in the pool at the gym, I DO NOT want to be bothered. If I'm swimming laps, this isn't a problem. Nobody talks to lap swimmers because our heads are under water most of the time. But if I'm working out, which is 45 minutes of my hour, either with aqua weights or other equipment, I'm still in a zone. Water time is MY time. I rarely think about stuff that's bothering me. It's my escape from anything stressful or vexing. Honestly, I'm mostly thinking about muscle groups, or what food I plan to use as fuel for the rest of the day. Also, I'm either watching the second hand on the giant clock or counting, depending on what exercise I'm doing.

When people break my focus with idle chatter, it can be very annoying. I'm not there to socialize. I'm working out. Some of the lifeguards know the regulars' personalities and routines so well that they often find tactful ways to get our space back for us, either by actual lane changes or by engaging talkers in conversation that draws them away from us.

One day a few weeks ago, however, a woman who was sharing my lane to aqua jog began talking to me. I'm not sure how she initiated the conversation, but something made me willingly forget my routine, give up counting and timing, and engage with her. What I found out is that she and her siblings are dealing with the challenges of a chronically ill mother. Her sister is the primary caregiver. The woman at the pool was unable to do all the things her sister was handling, and she was worried about how she could help. I thought about those last four years when my mother was here and dealing with her failing health, and all the ways my sister and brother helped me help her, even though they live far away. It was so nice to be able to tell this woman some of the funny and nice things that they, as well as my friends and Tom, did to make things better for Mother and me.

Ultimately, when I got out of the pool and put my weights away, one of my favorite lifeguards gave me a sympathetic look as she said, "Was your workout okay?" And I answered, "You know, it doesn't matter. Today it was more important to listen."

I'm not sharing this story to pat myself on the back. More than anyone else I know, I need to be reminded that many of those things I'm convinced I MUST GET DONE are not really that important. As I was leaving the locker room after I showered and dressed, I spied this button left behind on a bench. Maybe it was a little karmic reward for not being so self-absorbed. Or maybe I should keep it where I can see it when I get frustrated because somebody disrupts my plans.

Like always, a thing has whatever meaning we give it.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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