Dearest Rachel –
As characters in our own dramas (or, more likely, sitcoms – has it ever occurred to anyone that those experiencing life within those sitcoms doesn’t find what’s happening to them to be funny? We are, as audience members, more likely than not laughing at their pain), we are generally oblivious to our recurring actions, to our catchphrases.
Not always, although in many of those cases it’s because it’s been pointed out to us, and we see no reason to drop it. I think of Pastor Joel, and his tendency to refer to those who reject God and His plan as “crispy critters”: it’s gotten to the point where, when the phrase comes up in our online Bible study, I will occasionally mime knocking back a shot when he does it. It’s all in good fun, especially when everybody’s in on the joke at this point.
But I have to confess to having been oblivious to certain catchphrases of my own. Yes, we would have certain lines and phrases that we would toss back and forth as inside jokes, but specific turns of phrase? Not so much, or at least not such that I’ve noticed them. It requires somebody on the outside to notice and point them out.
So has it been for me with Jan’s regular visits. She’s over here, as you know, roughly twice a week – although that’s likely to drop to once a week, now that the worst has been cleaned out, and it’s more a matter of sorting through papers and other memorabilia and classifying them accordingly. We have ridden in the car together so many times – mostly trips to Goodwill with a load of stuff to donate – and then headed off to lunch, with me often asking “What are you feeling?” shortened from ‘what are you feeling like having?’ She finds this contraction amusing, especially when I refer to the fact that Daniel rarely is in the mood for anything specific – if it all – by saying he’s ‘not feeling it.’
Of course – and this is possibly why we don’t recognize our own catchphrases – I always thought of that phrase as being common parlance, if of relatively recent vintage. It didn’t strike me as an odd turn of phrase. But it did to Jan, and she’s kind of picked it up – albeit alternately blaming and thanking me for it.
It’s a useful turn of phrase, to be sure, especially in times like these, when I’m not feeling much. My very last letter, in fact, was about how I’m ‘not feeling it’ about writing sometimes.
Today, as Chompers appears to be settled in barely after eight, I’m ‘not feeling it’ when it comes to walking to work. The thing is, I haven’t been ‘feeling it’ all week, and I know I should do it more regularly. Just the other day, Daniel was commending me for sticking to that routine of walking to work, which kind of stung, since I already knew that I hadn’t done so all week. Similarly, in our texts back and forth on Tuesday evenings, Erin keeps encouraging me to continue with the practice. Which begs the question: how do I continue, when I’m not doing it regularly in the first place?
She puts me to shame, you know. Just this past weekend, she ran about eighteen miles, or so she tells me. That would be three times to the folks and back. I’d never be able to do that one day, or in one weekend. But of course, she has advantages over me. For one, she’s sixteen years my junior, so she’s got a lot more energy at her age than I do at mine. For another she’s got a specific goal that she’s trying to accomplish – running the marathon for World Vision and all that – and that gives her the inspiration and the discipline to train, I think. And while I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t need to impress her – because what’s the point? – I still don’t want to disappoint her, or Daniel, for that matter.
But in all this time that I’ve spent writing to you, it turns out the chompers hasn’t fallen asleep after all; in fact, he’s whimpering like he needs something. And when I take him out into the backyard, he proves how much he needed to go out by letting go the instant he’s out the back door. Trouble is, I’m still holding him, so it gets all over my my sandal and my foot. I shed it quickly, set him down in the yard as fast as I can, and rush back inside. I hadn’t planned on taking a shower (again, walking in August; whether I want to or not), but I rinse off both sandal and foot.
Do I need to tell you how much that weakens my resolve? Now I have to stick around, wait for my foot to dry before putting a sock on it, not to mention waiting for him to be ready to come back inside – oh wait, he’s barking already. Never mind.
So he’s in, and I’m out – I hope. At least, he notices a treat that I left behind last night when we went to visit the folks for dinner. He knows what a treat means – I’m out the door, and he’s on his own. Hopefully it won’t have gone stay overnight, and he can enjoy it while he waits for Daniel to wake up. Considering that he just stirred an hour or so ago, and moved himself from the recliner to his bed on the couch, I doubt that Daniel’s ‘feeling it’ this morning either.