Monday, April 28, 2014

The Kindness of Strangers (and Friends) in Bidding Theresa Drive Farewell.

Friends and fans, I apologize for my absence. I've been busy preparing for a move out of the house I have lived in for seven years. Long time to not even own the dang thing, eh?

It's been emotional, and it hits me at unexpected times. Like tonight, when I was snipping a Spoleto poster to fit inside the nifty frame I purchased at the thrift shop. Suddenly, all the occasions my friends (and ex-boyfriends) and I stood in this very kitchen, mixing up cocktails and dancing in circles to songs piped in from Pandora flashed through my head. Yes, I've had some good times here.

And I've been busy and absentminded during the process of moving my crap from James Island to Mount Pleasant. That's why I decided to take this breather and talk about the people who have made my week a little more bearable and, to be honest, have restored my faith in the notion that human beings are often kind.

Actually, I never lost that faith. It's part of what makes me Denise.

Scene One: Yesterday, in Mount Pleasant, I carelessly ignored the low fuel light in my car and drove around like an obsessive person for hours, trying to find a case for my new cell phone (a Moto X, which I adore) and eventually purchasing a vintage Vogue poster from a consignment shop. The next thing I knew, I ran out of gas and my car stopped.

On Bowman Road. In traffic.

I put the car in neutral and got out to push it to the side of the road. I was joined by two fine gentlemen, who helped me steer the Saturn to safety. I thanked them each several times, but they seemed pretty accustomed to saving damsels in distress. Next, I grabbed a ride from a friendly cop -- do those two words go together? -- and filled a gas can at the Exxon up the street. (I'm a chick, so I had to buy the gas can. I mean, I didn't have one in my trunk or anything.) And the Exxon folks showed me how to operate the spout and everything. I felt so fortunate, even as I walked back to my car in the hot sun after the cop dumped me off to attend the Blessing of the Fleet. Whatevs.

Scene Two: Today I made a complete jerk of myself in the Goodwill parking lot when I dropped a vase of silk flowers I had just purchased, and glass/stones/fake daisies went EVERYWHERE. Luckily, the sweet-natured woman from the checkout counter came outside and helped me gather up the pieces of my spill, even going so far as to find me another vase and pick up the colored stones, one by one.

"Thank you. I appreciate your help," I kept saying. She earnestly insisted that it was her job. She was happy to assist me -- and I was happy to be surrounded, yet again, with people willing to go the extra mile for a stranger.

And, of course, I've had tons of help from my best friends as well, on everything from packing the kitchen to driving the UHaul to carrying boxes of miscellaneous notebooks filled with short stories. I don't know what I would do without y'all. Really.

So, as I depart Theresa Drive after seven happy years, I think I'm going to be OK. And it's a good feeling.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Art of the Visit.

On Sunday afternoons when I was a small child, we'd get out of church, have lunch somewhere with my mother (usually Pizza Hut) and have visitors at our house later in the day. My grandmother, ever a classy lady, has always understood the art of hosting - just ask my mom. Well before any of us were born, grandma cultivated a knack for hosting lively dinner parties, festive holiday gatherings - and, on peaceful Sundays, the perfect visit.

I feel sometimes that the perfect visit is lost. And y'all know what I mean by a "visit" - having a friend or cousin who comes by your house for a couple of hours in the afternoon, has a glass of wine or cocktail along with a few salted nuts or some cheese, chats with you about the week and leaves before imposing about supper.

I, too, am guilty for not knowing how to visit people properly. When I go to a friend's house - especially my best friends - i pretty much camp out with them. We start with breakfast and by five o'clock we're pondering dinner. Nothing is really wrong with this method of socializing - but I've found that if you limit yourself to shorter visits, two things happen: you see more people and you get more done at home. Plus, if you're just dropping in on someone, a shorter visit ensures that you don't hog their day without asking. 

This weekend I did some visiting, or made the rounds, as I like to call it. I saw all of my best friends and a few casual acquaintances. I shared snacks, drinks and chatter with these folks. But I also cleaned out my sweater closet, wrote a few articles for work, cooked brunch at home, caught up on sleep and read a few chapters of Frankenstein (the book my tutee and I are currently engrossed in). 

I liked it. Not to say that I'll give up camping out with the besties when the time is right. But when a girl is lucky enough to have so many people to hug in a short time, my family's visiting tradition is a good way to go. 

Even today, visits at grandma's house are the best.