Secondhand Pain

I’ve decided to be crabby today.

This has to be quick because I have to leave for work in a half hour and I want to make myself a mocha first.

A mocha with vanilla, stevia, and fair-trade cocoa. Doesn’t that sound good? I traded up when I stopped buying so many mochas from baristas who couldn’t remember the word ‘decaf’ and began to make my own in my own way. The only problem is that I don’t get to walk around doing my errands with a hot mug in my hands unless I’m really on the ball and allow an extra ten minutes to get ready before I leave.

Just now, I actually typed hug instead of hot mug. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? Now you want a hug, don’t you? I know. I want a hug too. Everybody in Seattle wants a hug when it’s all cold and wet outside, especially when water and snow almost always drips down the back of your neck when you walk under a tree or the edge of a roof.

I meant to complain about how I’m dizzy now because my optometrist popped the right lens out of my glasses because I can’t see distance in them anyway and at least I can see near pretty well. Not only are my poor eyes confused at the change, I feel like a dork. Who walks around with just one lens in their glasses?

I guess cataract patients do before they get their new glasses.

But I can’t really complain because I have a good life and I’m pretty healthy. I am. Really. I’ll eventually get my other cataract done and will continue my journey into bionics, but right now, I’m a pretty active and healthy old woman.

I have a friend with a horrendous disease and I have to tell you that everything hurts in my gut whenever she says the pain is bad for her. Let me tell you that the pain is usually bad, but when she says it’s worse, it hurts me to read it.

Is this why people are so bad at listening to old people’s medical complaints?

I think it is.

So my friend, not an old friend, or old, struggles to exist. In the meantime, she bakes for her children’s events. She shows up. She puts on makeup. Basically, she outshines any shit effort I make in almost any area of my life.

I keep thinking good thoughts toward her, you know, kind of like praying except that I’m not sure of her spiritual propensity so I’m reluctant to put that word on it in case she wouldn’t like it.

In my car, I’m listening to an audiobook, ‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics’ by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren.


Sorry about yelling but I mean it in a good way. I sit serenely in traffic listening to the smooth voice in meditation and I watch that road rage in front of me like watching a tornado from behind a six-inch thick screen of safety glass.

It’s not quite that easy, but it is helping. Seriously. I am happier. So, now I have to actually spend some money instead of mooching off the library and get a copy of this book to mark up and practice meditating.

My friend? You ask what happened to my friend, the one with endurance and a smile?

Right. See, there’s a meditation in the book that is perfect for me when my friend is in pain. It’s about widening my scope out of road rage and how stupid my glasses look with just one lens in them. I get to include my friend in my meditation, to imagine relief and healing in her direction. I get to do all that, which doesn’t seem like much if I think about it, but since there is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can do to ease her pain, it’s my little something.

Thank you Dan Harris. Thank you Jeff Warren.

And thank you for listening, jules