Saturday, May 2, 2009

I wanna do right, just not right now


As I lay in bed this morning, I wondered what life might be like if you were always positive in your thoughts. Every response, to every action, would be a 'silver-lining' one. For example, when waking up and seeing the grey skies (while hoping for sunny skies, of course, on this particular day), instead of saying "oh crap, what a drag", you would say, "Oh, isn't it pretty outside? I love the rain." Or, something to that positive effect. Rather than moaning about how you can't stand your co-worker, you'd muse aloud, "She's probably had a tough life and the least I can do is just go with the flow." Maybe when you hear the garbage truck doing a pickup at 7am on a Saturday, don't blurt out, "JEEZE-louise! Arrgh! I just want to sleep!" Think instead, "I'm glad the city is still picking up the garbage around here."
I wonder what that would do, how that would affect your life...

I don't know. Hell, I'm not saying I can do it. I was just thinking that it could be an interesting experiment. Would it totally change your life? I can't imagine that it wouldn't. And I consider myself a pretty positive thinker.

A little later this morning, I had the urge to call my old friend, V.
She's one of the first people I ever called by just an initial. For the first few years, I called her Venus. But that's not her real name either. Her name is Inez, pronounced like Enis, rhymes with penis. Or, at least that's what I first told her.
It made us instant friends.

V. lived across the hall from me when I moved into my first, and only, New York City apartment. I moved in on a Saturday in the summer. It was sweltering and she came out to the landing in her bra, wondering what all the racket was. Of all the years I spent in new york, I spent some of the most quality, memorable times with V. She was born and raised one block over from Carmine Street and when she married her husband, they moved to this apartment building. She raised two daughters in this little box we shared. She lost her husband, her daughters grew up and grew away and there we were, years on in her life having a drink in her packed little apartment, at a table filled high with mail, laughing and crying and complaining and celebrating. She saw my life as just beginning and gave me advice at every turn. I looked at her as the historian of the incredible city I was so dang lucky to be living in. I spent my Sunday evenings regaling her with tales of my life and she would squeal with delight before she'd inevitably say, "oh, just keep having fun, my little molly, she's just having a good time..."

When I called her today she told me she was 80 years old.
I'd had no idea. We'd never talked about her age.

And she did two things I'd remembered so clearly about her: she referred to me in the third person while she was speaking to me, "my little molly, she's a teacher now, yeah, she's teaching and she's good and her hubby is good. Oh, my little molly..."
and,
she kept coming back to the positive, the kind of positive I know I can do. V. has this great attitude toward life. She can bitch and scream and holler and complain about something, but she always comes back to, "but what're ya gonna do, molly? you're gonna do what you're doing and you're gonna keep going on. that's what you gotta do." She's a real, if-it-happens-it-happens-if-it-don't-it-don't type.

She told me it made her day that I called her.
But the way I've been looking at life all day today, through positively rose-colored glasses, I shoulda told her it's the other way around, too.

9 comments:

cinner said...

V sounds like a sweet lady.Positivity is a great thing, I think it takes people by surprise. One morning while walking the dog I decided I would smile at everyone and say hello. Some people did not know how to react...I think I had more fun that day than any other. I love your blog.

amber said...

thanks for sharing...nothing picks me up better than making someone else feel special. its wierd how it works

Molly said...

Great story :)

And who sings the song from whence your title comes? I heard it the other day for the 1st time - strange coincidence - but didn't catch the artist's name ....

molly said...

gillian welch, molly, so funny that you heard that...

julochka said...

what a lovely story. now i want a little old lady.

sofia said...

Nice!!

K.

Extranjera said...

Thanks for being so flippen positive. Among others you're my go to positive post now. I need to get to that point as well. We'll see...

B said...

I'd love to be able to do this automatically. My first thought is almost always negative, then I force myself to have a positive one. At least, i get to the positive, right?

paige said...

I love the way you look at life and that you are sharing it out loud and how it stirs up all kinds of emotions and memories for each person who reads your thoughts.

This entry makes me want to be a better person and it makes me want to refer to people as letters.

Arann and I want to get 'be nice' tattooed on our wrists... as a reminder to be nice even when other people aren't.

And another story it made me think of... my psychology teacher in High School, Mr Freeman, a very cute and very gay man who was bravely teaching in a public school in South Carolina... when asked a question such as, "Do you think it will rain tomorrow?"...

He'd say, "Well, it either will or it won't, one of the two."