Have you ever had that experience of seeing an old friend or acquaintance out of the blue, maybe in the grocery store or at the gym, and ducking before being spotted? Why do we do that? For me, there’s always the certainty that of course so-and-so won’t remember me. Nevermind that we sat next to each for three semesters and I know the name of her first pet (Ginger) and that poor Ginger was run over by my friend’s dad in their driveway. No, I am the owner of a sort of invisibility cloak.
So I’ve made it one of my goals recently to approach my life with a little more presence. Driving by a one-hour T-shirt place the other day, I even considered having a shirt made that says Yes, I AM taking up space—a more confident cloak, so to speak, to ready me for those inevitable run-ins.
But don’t you hate how those run-ins sometimes turn into run-downs? The whole what’s new? thing can be exhausting, especially if you’re divorcing or lost a job or contracted Lyme Disease. Or worse, maybe you haven’t done a single noteworthy thing and are still inching toward goals you set years ago. It can create a predicament; you may crave friendship and social contact but dread the life rehash that’s often involved.
Still, a girl’s got to eat, and my old roommate Patty happens to own Tre Kronor, the popular Swedish restaurant on Foster Avenue. I haven’t kept up with her like I’ve wanted to. Now she has five kids, a successful restaurant and shop, and looks as fabulous as ever. She and her husband are the kind of hard-working, have-it-all couple that have me reaching for my cloak, thinking, “They’re much too busy for little ‘ol me!”
So I went to their restaurant for lunch. The waiters are fresh-faced students from North Park University who wear blue t-shirts that say “Fint Som Snus,” which translates to “fine as snuff” or, as we would say, “right as rain.” Patty surprised me by giving me a big hug and exclaiming, “I’ve missed you!”
What a wonderful reminder that I wasn’t invisible. I was suddenly fint som snus.
How about you? Have you had a string of dreary days when it’s easier to play small and to assume you go unnoticed? Ever feel like you don’t matter or, in the worse moments, don’t care one way or another? I for one get it when Karen Carpenter sings, “Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old / Sometimes I’d like to quit / Nothin’ ever seems to fit…”
But that’s mostly just on rainy days and Mondays. Other times, like the song says, it’s nice to know somebody loves me.
Maybe I should have that put on a T-shirt.