In which I imagine myself doing many things I have no intention of ever doing
and begin with the moral of the story.
Moral of the Story
Imagination is good for what ails us. Our imaginations need more room to move than our feet (a guideline that benefits them both). Laughter and imagination masquerade as lightweights in the journey of life, but in their foolishness hides a wisdom that illuminates reality, rendering the unbearable a little more tolerable and the tolerable a little more pleasant.
Without further ado, the list and then the story…
An incomplete list of terrifying things
Asking for a hug from someone I don’t know very well
Raising up my hands up in church
Praying out loud with emotion
Wearing clothes that call attention to themselves
Going to one of those places where they hike in the nude
Asking for money
Asking for a favor from someone I can’t pay back
Having a messy house when people visit
Drinking too much
Six hours is tight for time. I decide to start with nude hiking and pray as I go. If it’s too crowded, I can always run headlong into the poison ivy. My real life search for hiking au natural locations is not immediately successful. I stumble onto a nude five pin bowling outing an hour away. The thought of me bowling nude is so ludicrous I begin laughing out loud but I go ahead and imagine it anyway. A hike, I realize, is child’s play. God help me! I’ll croak out at my end of the telephone as I book a lane.
I’m banking on the mitigation of terrors to see me through. Nude bowling will make asking a favor from a stranger easy. Conversely, the thought of asking a stranger for a favor while naked ought to keep me bowling with enthusiasm for at least a little while.
Excuse me, I will say – perhaps in the ladies room while changing into the garish clothing purchased for the occasion – I hate to ask, but I need a favor. I’ve left my wallet at home. Can anyone give me a ride to the church? For added bonus, I’ll see if anyone can trade me high heels for the sneakers on my feet.
God bless you and thank you, Jesus! I’ll say as they drop me off.
Arriving intentionally late to the church, I’ll progress up the aisle wearing low cut hip hugging pants and a bright floral shirt that doesn’t quite cover my midriff. Dollar store strings of plastic jewels droop from my neck. My purple purse, sans cash, is on my shoulder. Lipstick is brilliant tangerine. I totter on high heels up to the front. From the pew, I throw up hallelujahs anywhere it feels like a bad idea and wait for a hymn or any other excuse to stand. Given the ferocious affection with which my pants cling to my behind, I’m not sure they’ll notice when my hands go up in the air.
I put them up with the opening chords of the hymn that finally comes expecting just one verse. At verse three, I begin to sway my arms for variety. By verse four, I’m swaying from my hips up to the hands above my head. I’ll have ticked five off the list by then: halfway there.
I exit on the heels of the priest in order to ask for some spare change on the church steps from the maximum number of parishioners. I pull a small sign out of my purse and tape it to an umbrella: Spare Change for Unnamed Need Gratefully Accepted.
After, I’ll take off my heels and walk barefoot to a country western bar down the street. God save us all! I’ll say as I close my eyes and begin bumping bottoms with one of the guitarists on stage. If I don’t ask for a hug from a band member, I can ask for one from the first female bar tender, manager, owner or officer I see when they come to escort me away.
Then I’ll call my husband and ask him to come pick me up so I can come home for the evening to join the twelve friends I’ve invited over. I will have been away from the house for five hours. Dirty laundry on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and clutter are guaranteed. Also I will have left this note for the kids:
Brush dog in kitchen. Do not sweep. Dog hair on floor measured before $5 reward.
Ten cent reward for every fly you kill. Leave fly in kill location to claim reward.
Our friends will sit with dog hair gently tickling their feet amidst speckles of dead flies and their blood on the walls and windows. It doesn’t take a lot of wine to get to me, so it’s hard to know how much to aim for. I decide to drink until forcibly compelled by my inner voice to tell everyone there that I love them. How much. Why. Anything I’ve ever worried about that might be between us and four or five things that make them special to me. However little drinking it takes, that ought to decisively qualify as too much.
My imagination makes me laugh at myself. I am a bit proud to have proved it vaguely possible to fit so many ghastly things into six hours though. Strangely, despite not having done a single thing from my list of horrors, I don’t feel intimidated by Liz Hoath or Spandy Andy anymore. I decide that if I feel like doing something else as bold as my purple purse, I’ll do it. If I don’t, I won’t.
A silly bit of nonsense above perhaps, but imagining it opened my eyes to something I couldn’t see before: it’s okay not to go looking for mountains to climb.
A simple thought that is true, and for me, a little bit beautiful.