I’m losing it, but it’s okay.
It really is.
The world feels like it’s falling apart, to which you might say, “wow I am so glad I am wasting my time reading this uplifting nugget,”
and I can hear my dad say, in his way as someone tough, or hardened, or smart, or simply as someone who has lived through more things, eh, it always is.
Like the time after my wedding when I asked my parents if they could store my wedding dress—because New York City is awesome for many things, but not for closets--
and their dog ate it.
The dog ate my wedding dress.
They kept it in a downstairs coat closet *because that’s where you keep extra special things!*
and their yellow Lab named Cujo I mean Cody apparently knocked it down and tore shreds into the delicate lacy sleeves.
I was upset, okay?
I can purge with the best of them, but there are things I do assign emotional value to. I keep a box of such Hoarders-worthy items on a top shelf in my office; it would send that Spark Joy lady gagging in a corner for weeks.
My wedding dress was something I felt like I should keep. (Plus, you never know when you will need it, do you remember how important it was in the movie Beetlejuice??)
I was all hissy to my parents when it happened, saying you guys. . . what the heck???
My father was there to extend a nurturing hand and say the perfect thing to comfort me and make me feel like everything was going to be okay.
I’m sorry, that didn’t happen.
My dad was there to say, “well, what the heck were you going to do with it anyway? You weren’t going to wear it again. What are you, Baby Jane?”
That, my dear Time Wasters, is what you need to hear sometimes.
Others. . .
It was a cold winter morning.
I was 23 and living on the only bad street in the entire Upper East Side neighborhood, 73rd between York and the FDR drive.
I’d walked twenty minutes east in the snow, possibly uphill, to the subway, and then braved the crowded 6 train down to Grand Central. I was an editorial assistant at More magazine at the time, mostly answering the busy editor-in-chief’s phones. I was trying. I was hopeful. I was losing it.
I bought my coffee every morning across the street from my office at Pershing Square.
Every morning, I’d look at the display of muffins through glass. . . so fluffy, so delicious. . . and not buy one.
“Come on, just get one!” my friend “the coffee guy,” how in New York your daily friends have such names, would say.
And I’d smile and say, no thank you. Partly because I was an assistant, so my money was rationed, and I chose to spend it wisely on booze and caffeine;
partly because I am a child of the 90’s, so I will always be tethered, as someone who grows up with fat-free food products does not grow up to freely buy muffins.
But this one day, it was a doozy.
He looked at me and knew.
I said, “no thank you.”
He put my latte in a bag brown paper bag. He said, to keep it dry.
When I got to my desk I opened the bag and saw inside there was a muffin.
I remember it, fluffy and delicious. Apple crumb. Still warm.
I think about that muffin all the time.
But more importantly, I think about the kindness of that man. Of one person.
How it only took one second for him to stop and something so small, to remind me that in the world there was still good.
Because as the spawn of a straight-shooter, I’ll say my dad is right.
The world will probably always be a mess, because we are messy people.
And with that truth, we need a reason to keep trying. To keep hopeful. To keep from losing it.
We need to remember that it only takes one second to make a difference in someone’s day.
We need to remember that the best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
(Okay fine, and remember that I didn’t say that, but William Wordsworth did.)
Because one day, there could be a muffin.
And it could be so good.