And here's 2017. It snuck in quietly when we were fast asleep, as it does every year. Truthfully? Even when I was in my salad days, I had a hard time staying up to meet the new year. Don't get me wrong. I liked a good party. I just preferred it to start at seven p.m. and end at eleven p.m. I've always loved sleeping more than just about anything else except reading. I could sleep easily from 11 to 11, thinking that a 12 hour snooze was just about perfect.
Nope. We were in bed by ten and I briefly awakened when I heard fireworks going off. I checked the bedside clock. 12:03. First happy new year kisses were already over and done with and people were now stumbling around satisfied that they'd bussed their loved one, queasy because they'd imbibed too much and been smooching someone with salmon breath or in tears because, once again, they hadn't met the ONE.
I'm old. Well, older. So some advice? There is more than one ONE. I know that Cinderella has you believing that there's only one Prince Charming, but take it from someone who knows: she could have ended up with Prince Charming's horseman and if he made her laugh, he could have been the ONE, too. They wouldn't have lived in a lavish castle, probably just a small cottage but they could have been happy. Happy really has very little to do with money, castles, or glass slippers and everything to do with thinking that the little gap between his front teeth is adorable. Or knowing that you both just get what Allen Ginsberg meant in HOWL when he talked about "floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz." It can be about how she bakes you cherry pie on your birthday every year because she knows how much you dislike cake. Or...it can be about looking at each other before you get out of your car at your parent's house and vowing to "just get through this."
There is more than one person for you, too. I don't care what you've heard about soul mates. There are several people out there who could fit in your life puzzle. Some fit easily, just slide right in there. Others wait on the periphery until you finish filling in the sky. Still others are an odd shape that at first glance don't seem to fit in anywhere. But, then...LOOK! Yes. Right there. They do fit, after all.
So, stop looking for Prince or Princess Charming and take a second look at the one you dismissed on the first go round. You CAN be happy. It is just different than in the movies or fairy tales.
Today, I am in Target. I knew that there was a Starbucks in here and figured that they'd let me sit without buying anything if I said that I was waiting for someone. I was right. Didn't have to say a word. It wasn't hard not to buy anything as I'd spent a good part of the morning with my sister drinking a latin mocha to her cinnamon roll latte at Accelerando Coffee House at the Omaha Conservatory of Music. We joked that the cups were as big as our heads and we weren't far off. So delicious! Afterwards, we drove downtown to buy our tickets to BEAUTIFUL (playing at the Orpheum in April) and our good luck held . We obtained primo seats.
Target is slow today. The Starbucks here is nearly empty. I think a lot of people are happy to stay away from shopping for a while now. For nearly a half hour, I am the sole person here. Then, a foul smelling man comes and sits across from me. He looks as tired as I've ever seen anyone and so defeated as he stares out of the window. Like me, he buys nothing. I think that maybe he just wants to get out of the icy cold air and to take a load off his feet. He looks so morose that I almost get up and leave, as if his sadness is a cold to catch. But, he leaves after about ten minutes.
Two men come in and I take a long look at them because, frankly, they look like I might see them on the evening news tonight after a bomb explodes somewhere nearby. They both wear long black trench coats over dark hoodies and jeans. They both sport dark sunglasses. They sit and drink their grande coffees, saying nothing, removing neither coats nor sunglasses. Their drinks drained, they get up in cadence with each other, as if planned, and leave. They don't throw away their used cups and the barista cleans up after them, sighing.
"Does that happen often?" I ask her. She looks confused. I try again. "Do a lot of people not clean up their trash?"
She stops. Thinks. "About half do and half don't," she finally answers.
A few minutes later, a guy comes in, orders a drink and sits off to the side. He seems to know the barista well and I'm not surprised when another woman comes to relieve her and she shucks off her Starbucks apron and joins him at his table. She stretches in her chair, drinking an iced beverage to his hot one. They reach across the table, holding hands and smiling conspiratally at each other.
Suddenly, business picks up. A young mom and her young son come in and sit at the table next to me, counting their money.
"We have six dollars and twelve cents left," she says. "How about we split a venti chile mocha?" The little boy likes this idea very much.
A group of teenagers come in and I am astounded at the size of their order. They order venti drinks all around, plus bagels, almond croissants, apple fritters, blueberry muffins and scones and one cheese Danish. Oh. And yes, several chocolate chip cookies. The bill is sizable and one teenaged boy nonchalantly whips out a Visa card.
"Thanks, Mommy!" he says.
"Thanks, Mommy!" they all say and dig in.
The young mom and her son stare. I do, too. Then, her eyes meet mine and we share an eye roll.
She and her son finish their chile mocha and he stands patiently as she pulls on his gloves, hat, scarf, and coat.
"All set, sweetie?" she asks. "Let's go!" They leave, warmed by their hot drink.
I get up to leave, too, annoyed by the loudness of the teenagers.
Time to go....