The Classic Clown

Daily Prompt: Funny Ha-Ha

Do you consider yourself funny? What role does humor play in your life? Who’s the funniest person you know?

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Do I think I’m funny? Well hmm…

Does a Chihuahua run down the middle of the trailer park street with a cigarette dangling out of its mouth?

Yes.

The answer is yes.

I know this for a fact because I saw it with my own 2 eyes last Wednesday.

This is just how my life goes. The crazy stuff that happens to me on almost a daily basis makes me shake my head and say, “this could only happen to me.” But hey…blog material…there’s always a fresh supply.

I let my freak flag fly as often as I can. I’m a self-proclaimed clown. A real jokester.

See, my mother glares. A lot. At everything. She doesn’t laugh, either. It’s scary. So I decided that I don’t want to be scary. I’d rather be funny. I can laugh at myself, too. Some of the best chuckles I get are at my own expense.

Now, I’m not necessarily one of those “A termite walks into a bar and says, “Is the bar tender here?” type of people.

I roll my eyes at those people.

No, I’m more or less one of those people that have a snappy comeback for everything. Like Bill Engvall.

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My husband or kids will ask, “Whatcha doin’?” when it’s more than obvious what I’m doing; like writing a new blog post.  So, I’ll shoot back with something along the lines of, “Chasing chickens, can’t you tell?”

I crack me up.

Which brings me to the funniest person I know…

Me.

I’m shallow enough to admit it. I’m fall-off-your-chair hilarious. To myself, at least.

I might be the only one in the room laughing at my silliness sometimes, but that’s just because I’m the only one in the room.

Those that don’t laugh at me and my antics were clearly born without a sense of humor gland. It’s located right next to your funny bone at the base of your elbow. To find out if this applies to you, simply go whack your elbow on a hard surface. Go ahead. I’ll wait…

Now, if you didn’t tear up, you’re fine. It means that your sense of humor gland is intact because it cushioned the blow. Or you just didn’t hit it very hard. Or you didn’t even hit it at all, which is also acceptable. If you did tear up, though, you’d better get that checked out by a doctor immediately, since there’s clearly something wrong with you… for whacking your elbow hard enough to cry after some random blogger told you to.

Okay, so I have the maturity level of a 5 year old, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

My husband pouted at me when I broke the news to him that he wasn’t #1 on my most funny list.

He said, “You don’t think I’m funny?” I said, “Oh, sure you are dear. You’re a riot to nerds everywhere. I just don’t speak nerd.”

See, he finds stuff like this to be shoot-liquid-out-your-nose hilarious:

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I just stare and say, “I don’t get it.”

Not because I’m not intelligent, though.

I’m just way too cool.

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Freshly Unim-Pressed

Daily Prompt: Secret of Success

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The Queen is Clearly Unimpressed.

What would it take for you to consider yourself a “successful blogger”? Is that something you strive for?

Nope. Why would I strive for that? I write so that my adoring one and a half fans have something to read while they’re sitting on the porcelain throne. I would never wish to branch out and bring my musings to the masses!

Yes, that was sarcasm. What a silly question. Well, the second one, anyway.

The first one is fairly simple, though.

Finally, WordPress powers that be! I thought you’d never ask!

I strive to one day be pressed. Freshly Pressed, that is. Not my clothes, silly, I don’t iron!

I have no shame. I’ll admit it. I’m fairly certain that there isn’t a WordPress blogger out there that wouldn’t greatly appreciate the same honor.

My friends don’t help, either. They get me all fired up.

“You’re an awesome writer,” they say.

“You should write a book,” they say.

“Stop staring at me like that, it creeps me out,” they say.

So I get this big ego, and think, “Yeah! I’ve got this! Thousands of eager fans waiting with bated breath until my next installment of awesome goes live? Piece of cake. I’ll still have time left over to work on winning that Nobel Peace Prize while I cure cancer and write Def Leppard’s next big hit.”(Oh come on; you know you want to see them make a comeback just as much as I do.)

And then the next batch of Freshly Pressed posts go up.

And I read.

And then my over-inflated ego doesn’t just fly around the room like a balloon that’s been filled and let go of, it audibly pops. My neighbors knock on the door and say, “What was that noise?”, and I’ll say, “Oh just my ego bursting. No biggie.”

I’ll go off after that to sulk and shed a few tears into my box of Nilla Wafers (comfort food, hello…) and say to myself, “Self, you really aren’t all that. Now these people, they’re all that, and a bag of lightly sea salted organic vegetable crisps.” (That’s for all of you health conscious folk. You’re welcome.)

So, maybe I’ll just save myself some heartache and make my goal somewhat more realistic:

How about I just shoot for my one and a half followers to someday become two, and reward myself with this award:

Not imPressed Award

And if any of you one and a half readers want this snazzy award for your blog, too, simply add an image widget and link the following image url into the correct slot. Enjoy!

Shoes Shmooze

Daily Prompt: These Boots Were Made for Walking

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The shoe racks in the Thrift Store

Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

A couple of days ago, my husband and I were discussing the fact that I am just not a shoe nut. I asked him, “Does the fact that I really don’t care about shoes make me less of a woman?” He admitted that he and his wallet are thankful that they’re no big deal to me.

Oh, I’m sure that there are some cute ones in the thrift store that I manage, and that’s the nice thing about running a thrift store, you get first dibs on all the cool stuff. I scored a pair of brand new tennis shoes once because I really needed them, but otherwise, I really don’t give all those shoes a second thought other than to straighten them up after someone ransacks the racks.

My best friend though, Artsy Susie; that girl loves shoes. She goes crazy for shoes. Shoes are the first thing that she notices about a person’s outfit. We totally differ in that respect.

My daughter is a shoe hound as well. As a matter of fact, the whole conversation about my indifference toward shoes stemmed from the fact that she has 3 pairs sitting by the door, a pair in the back of my van, a couple pairs in the shoe basket in the closet, and 2 full bags of them in the trunk of my husband’s car. She doesn’t even wear half of them, but she sees a cute pair and just “has to have them”.

That’s never been me.

My own shoe arsenal consists of a pair of black pumps for special occasions, my black knee high boots, my good tennis shoes, my work tennis shoes, and my flip flops. That’s it. Five pairs. Now that I think about it, even that seems like too many for me. I’ll have to cut back.

I’d have to say that my favorite pair out of the 5 would be my black knee high boots. Those boots have history. They’ve been places. They’ve attended several Sunday church services and potluck dinners. They’ve gone out for anniversary celebrations with my husband. They’ve traveled across the ocean to the Bahamas and back on at least 4 different cruises. They were there when I gathered a group of old co-workers together back home that I hadn’t seen in 10 years. They danced with long lost friends at my 20 year high school reunion. They’ve also seen me 40 pounds less than I am now, so they’ve literally been with me through thick and thin.

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My work shoes, though, those are the most important shoes of the bunch. They’re covered in paint and falling apart, but they’re well used and abused because I’ve busted my tail to earn the almighty dollar. They’ve gone with me into some pretty harsh places. They’ve walked on some of the grungiest carpets known to man. They’ve stepped in gum, poop, oil, mud, paint, and countless other nasty things. These shoes are tough. They’re hardcore. They keep me from ruining any of my other pairs. So, in essence, they’ve taken the bullet for the rest more times than I can even count. These shoes deserve a medal for bravery.

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Considering what most shoes goes through during any given day, however, maybe they all do.

Gamer/Blogger/Artist

Daily Prompt: On the Edge

We all have things as need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?

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There are 3 activities that keep me grounded and help take the focus off of my OCD. I sometimes get so immersed in these things that I’ll spend hours involved in them, and will even forget to do routine things, like have lunch or dinner. However, I figure skipping a meal is a pretty fair exchange for an activity that keeps me from giving in to, or even thinking about ritualistic behaviors.

First of all, I have a seemingly endless imagination and love to indulge in a good online role playing game from time to time. I’ve found that lately though, since I’ve discovered the thrill of writing and spend an infinite amount of time on my blog, my hours spent gaming have greatly dwindled. Truth be told, I haven’t logged into the game I like to play in weeks. I still love it, however, and consider myself to be somewhat of a “gaming geek.”

I used to be big into World of Warcraft, but woke up to reality one day to realize that the game had taken over my life, even more so than my OCD. I couldn’t even go places without limiting my time away from home because I “had to be back to raid.” I had all but sold my soul to a high end raiding guild. I had to have the best gear for my character, the most raid points to obtain that gear, all of the top achievements, etc. It wasn’t just an outlet for me at that point, it had become an addiction. I had to put down the staff, and back away from the mage. I haven’t been back since.

My current gaming drug of choice is Forsaken World. It’s free, there are no raids, and I can play at my leisure. I have to admit that I did spend a few dollars to obtain the most amazing mount EVER, though. I just had to have her. Her name is Princess, and she’s a pink Alpaca, with a tiara, and bows, and bells, and I adore her. She’s just a whole load of awesome.

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Anyway, writing happens to be the second activity that keeps my mind and hands busy so that my OCD won’t. I never really knew that I could write until I did a short stint as Media Director and contributing writer for a friend’s bridal magazine. Everyone loved my articles, and I was instantly hooked on the art of writing from that point on. I was a little devastated when the job fell through, simply because I enjoyed the writing aspect of it so much. I started to pour my creative juices into this blog, though, so now my inner author is satiated once again.

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Last but not least, I’m also a creator. An “Arteest”. I love to make something out of seemingly nothing; words on a blank page, a picture brought to life on paper, a fresh coat of paint completely changing the appearance of something that wasn’t very vibrant or noticeable before. Any new way that I can create, shape, mold, or change an object into something that it wasn’t before pleases me immensely.

I weeded through my portfolio files for a sampling of my artwork to share with you. I selected a project that’s one of my personal favorites.

In the city I live in, football is HUGE. We have Florida Gator fans, Jacksonville Jaguar fans, NCAA college team fans, you name it; the crowd here loves it. So, I was commissioned by a local football buff to turn a black panther coffee table into a Jaguar table, in honor of the Jacksonville Jaguars. There’s a sheet of thick, rounded glass that fits over the top of this sculpted base to create a flat surface. It’s a cool little table, really. I’m sorry that I don’t have a beginning picture of the panther that it was, since I hadn’t really thought to take one before I dove right into the project. Here, however, is the work in progress, and the finished product. Enjoy!

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Procrastinate? Me? Yeah, Right.

Daily Prompt: Procrastination

What have you been putting off doing? Why?

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I really tend NOT to procrastinate at all if I can help it.

Getting stuff out of the way is a nice little side effect of having OCD. The anxiety that I feel when something’s hanging over my head waiting to be done, weighing on my mind, worrying me, and stealing my focus away from more important things is…well…just not worth it. I feel much freer if I just get things done as soon as possible.

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Now, I’m a yes person. The letters N and O really aren’t that hard to pronounce when put together, but for whatever reason, my tongue, lips, and vocal cords have the hardest time working these 2 letters into an audible, spoken word.

So, there have been times (not many though), when I’ve agreed to do something out of habit, and after I’ve had a chance to really sit and think it over, have simply decided not to, for whatever reason; lack of time, lack of resources…sometimes, even a lack of desire. In my mind, though, a task that I’ve changed my mind about doing is much different than just plain putting it off. I really do try my best to be true to my word, however. I really like being someone that people can depend on. It makes me feel good.

Right now I can honestly say that there are only 2 things on my plate that I should do, but just haven’t yet.

One is finishing this:

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This guy has been sitting unfinished inside my drawing tablet in the closet for a while now. I hate to leave a project unfinished. I’ll always work on one until it’s completed before moving on to the next. It’s just how I am. Putting my focus into too many projects at a time just feels chaotic to me. My daughter is the exact opposite, but just as artistic as I am. Her room is currently littered with half-finished projects.

I really should finish it, and I’d like to finish it, but my mom asked for her Collie Concepts book back ages ago, which rendered me unable to finish the drawing unless I had a picture to work from. In theory, though, I could go to the local public library about a mile away (if that) and check the book out and go from there. I suppose I’ve just been too lazy to follow through this time around.

Secondly, I need to type up an outline to present at the upcoming orientation for the high school art class that I’m going to be teaching once a week at the co-op that our kids attend. An outline that covers classroom rules, how I intend to grade, what the class will entail, a semester project list, etc.

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I haven’t done this yet because my absent minded husband (who will be teaching Geometry and Chemistry 4 hours a week this year) conveniently misplaced the notes that we had from the teachers meeting that explained exactly what information we should include in our outlines. I have some of what needs to be covered committed to memory, as you can see, just not all of it. If there’s anything I hate just as much as not finishing a project that I’ve started, or not getting a task out of the way a.s.a.p., it’s trying to “wing it.” I’m an information person. I need things spelled out for me, sometimes in detail. I don’t want vague. I can’t work with vague.

Eventually though, and soon because orientation is in 8 days, I’ll just have to suck it up and do the best I can with the information that I remember, and hopefully it will turn out to be sufficient.

What a great way to gain students and prove that I’ll be a competent teacher, huh?

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Hot, Stale, Crazy, Rainy, Dirty, Summer, Saturday, Morning, Breakfast Memories.

Daily Prompt: Three-Tenths

Scribble down the first ten words that come to mind. Pick three of them. There’s your post title. Now write!

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I couldn’t think of a good cover photo, so here’s a monkey riding an Australian Shepherd while chasing a goat. Enjoy.

Hot, Stale, Crazy, Rainy, Dirty, Summer, Saturday, Morning, Breakfast Memories.

I sit back and look over my quickly scrawled ten word list. I then recite it out loud. I smile and decide to keep all ten words, which probably defeats the purpose of the whole exercise in the first place. I shrug. It just sounds rather awesome this way, and I like it.

I look over at my daughter sitting next to me playing a game on her cell phone at the thrift store desk. Yeah, it’s Saturday. That means it’s go time in Ghettoville. It’s been rainy all weekend, so business has been slow. I haven’t seen any crazies yet to give me new writing material for my ‘Tales from the Thrift Store’ stories, either. This deeply saddens me.

“What do I write about today, Big Red?” I ask my daughter. I call her that because she’s not only a redhead, but the child towers over me by a good 5 inches now. It was bound to happen eventually. Her daddy is 6’7. I’m 5’2. I know, I know. Given those numbers, the fact that this child was even created is a story problem in and of itself.  I’ve done the math. The answer equals Pi.

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Mmmm, pie. I realize how hungry I am. I forgot to bring something for breakfast. Lunch might just have to come early today.

“Well, what’s the daily thingy?” she asks. I relay today’s writing assignment to her. “Hmmm. Write about a childhood memory or something.” She says. “Just make it a good one, though. Something funny. Not those crappy sad ones that you always write about.”

Hoo boy. Make it hard on me, why don’t ya? I tap into my mental file cabinet and thumb through my neatly stacked and alphabetized memories (OCD, duh) for something decent to pull out. My mental fine cabinet is hot pink, to match the one in my closet. The latch sticks sometimes, too.

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Ooo, here’s one. I was probably about 7, and I saw the dogs eating grass so I figured that they must really like the way it tasted. l then set to work loading up their newly filled water buckets (compliments of my dad) with fresh cut grass clippings so that they could enjoy a nice mouthful with every refreshing lap. There. Mission accomplished.  Dad didn’t think it was a brilliant idea though. He was really angry. He hauled me over to one of the buckets and told me to take a drink and see how I liked it. I cried and begged not to…

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Ohhhkay. Maybe not the best memory, after all.

I quickly file it away and start digging for something better.

How about this one? I was maybe 10, and I was climbing my favorite Dogwood tree in the front yard. It wasn’t an overly large tree, and I wasn’t an overly large child, so there wasn’t any great danger in me thinking I was part monkey. I was about halfway up when it happened. I can’t really remember now if a branch had snapped or if I had simply lost my footing, but down came baby, cradle and all. Flat on baby’s back. It knocked the wind out of me, of course, but I wasn’t genuinely hurt. I had, however, felt the squish between my shoulder blades when I landed.

As I laid there for a second catching my breath and regaining my composure, the smell became obviously more adept than I had been at my task, and swiftly climbed right up my nostrils. Apparently, the dog would do just about anything under the Dogwood tree.

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I stood up and reached my hand around to touch my back like an idiot. I could smell it. I knew what it was. Further investigation wasn’t in order, but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to do it anyway. I guess I was just in shock. Or maybe it was denial. Sure enough, I pulled my hand back to find a tacky brown paste now coating my palm. Eww, just…eww. A large portion of the back of my white ‘Front Porch Ice Cream Parlor’ t-shirt was caked in fresh, gooey…and really, really stinky…dog excrement. It just had to be a white t-shirt, too, didn’t it?

I ran my hand under the outside faucet until I could go inside to better wash it, and went to the sliding glass door at the back of the house. Mom was in the kitchen. “What are you doing?” She asked with one raised eyebrow as I tried to sneak past her. I was pretty sure I heard an audible gasp as she turned to see the back of my shirt trying to discretely disappear around the corner.

“Oh no you don’t…get back here.” I halted and cringed. “Outside. Now.”

“But mom…” I stunk so bad. It was growing colder, too, as it seeped through my shirt and caressed my skin like a dead lover’s rotting fingertips.  I stepped out onto the porch again, where mom waited to take my clothes as she made me strip. Outside. Where the neighbors might see. I’m fairly certain that those clothes got burned afterward, too. “Shower. Now. Go.” But..but… Shower time usually meant outside playtime was over. There was still plenty of daylight left to burn. I wasn’t ready to be done for the day.

I really don’t know how this was originally going play out in my mind. Maybe I would just sneak into the bathroom with one of mom’s good washcloths, wipe the poop off my back, wash my hands, change my shirt, and be on my merry way again? At any rate, I hung my head dejectedly and shuffled off toward the bathroom…

You know, now that I think about it, maybe that wasn’t the greatest memory selection, either. I stuff it back into the file cabinet. I’ll try for one more.

Let’s see. Okay. I was perhaps 9 and we were out fishing on dad’s little leisure boat. I don’t know what else to call it. It wasn’t a speed boat; the thing maybe went 45 miles per hour tops. It wasn’t a fishing boat, either. It was baby blue, and it had 4 seats, 2 back to back on each side. It also had windshields in front of the forward facing seats, and a large, flat bow section where I could sit along the edge, and dangle my feet into the water.

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Close Enough

So, we were out fishing, my dad, mom, uncle Hose, and I. My uncle’s real name is Dave, by the way. For as long as I can remember, though, I’ve called him uncle Hose because my dad made a crack when they were younger about him changing his name to José, on account of some funky mustache that he had grown that made him look Hispanic. It was later shortened to just plain “Hose”, which stuck with him like a bad chicken pox scar for all these years.

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Anyway, I was propped up on my usual fishing perch; the top of the large, bulky Evinrude motor dangling over the back of the boat, when my uncle told a joke. Funny guy, that uncle Hose. Always had a joke or 50. I couldn’t possibly recall that joke now, but I know that it must have been hilarious, because I tossed my head back and laughed so hard that it threw off my balance, and I tumbled end over end into the murky bayou below.  I surfaced a moment later, shocked, gasping, and thankful that my parents always made me wear a life jacket while out on the boat.

My uncle grabbed hold of that water-logged life jacket and hauled me up into the boat like a sack of soggy potatoes. All 3 of them made sure I was alright, and then they stopped and stared at me for a moment before bursting into peals of laughter. Somehow, I had just made the joke that was told even funnier as I stood there and dripped all over the fiberglass.

It was funny, that is, until my mom realized that my fishing pole went right over the back of the boat with me, and all that remained in sight was my bobber innocently riding the ripples that skimmed over the surface of the water. It was maybe 5 or 6 feet away from the boat, so my mom got the oar out of the side compartment and used it to drag the bobber close enough to reach. With bobber retrieved, the excess line could now be hauled in until the pole magically appeared from somewhere out of the depths below. Problem solved.

Or not.  See, my dad always bought those cheap, closed faced, Zebco reels that you had to push the button to cast. We were a lazy bunch of fishermen, what can I say.  Apparently, I had just pushed the button on my reel and was about to cast the line before I went tumbling butt over teakettle into the lake.

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Needless to say, my mom spent the entire rest of that fishing trip wrapping hundreds of yards of excess fishing line around a can of bug spray until my pole finally emerged. She wasn’t laughing anymore by that time. As a matter of fact, she was quite hot…

Okay, maybe that isn’t some top shelf memory either.

I think maybe I stink at this come up with a “good memory” business.

I give up.

Until next time…

Daily Prompt: Life Line

Daily Prompt: Life Line

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?

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I’m nothing short of bursting at the seams with excitement as I sit and wait as patiently as one with “ants in their pants” could possibly wait. I chatter continuously at my husband, as has always been my custom when I’m filled with sheer elation at the prospect of a joyous event that has finally been set in motion. He responds by playing the latest game that he’s downloaded to his cell phone, never bothering to glance in my direction, but often throwing in the occasional “uh huh” or “me too, dear” as I ramble on, as has become his custom over the years. I don’t allow his lack of interest to tarnish the silver lining surrounding the cloud on which I’m currently riding. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for far too long, and nothing can curb my highly elevated enthusiasm at this point.

It has always been a dream of ours to visit Ireland. So much so, that it’s one of the 3 things that I can now contentedly cross off my miniscule bucket list. I have yet to find buried treasure or learn to drive a stick-shift automobile. I likely never will. I consider this for a moment. Well, 1 out of 3 isn’t terrible, I muse, and I’m about to embark on an adventure of such epic proportions  that the other 2 list options can just fade off into oblivion as far as I’m concerned.

Ah, Ireland. The rolling hills, the beautiful countryside, the sheep in the fields, the castles, the food…oh my goodness, the incredible Irish dishes, yes please! The quaint little pubs with local elderly gentlemen regaling visiting foreign folk with fantastically spun tales of wild Irish youth and love gone by, in thick Gaelic accents. I want to drink in the sweet nectar of all this and more.

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The calling of the first class passengers and those needing special assistance snaps me back to reality from somewhere inside my grand daydream. “I still can’t believe it’s finally happening!” I exclaim to my husband for quite possibly the 50th time today. He just smiles and nods as he continues to busily work his fingers over his phone screen.

The kids are finally grown and gone, and we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in January. We’ve had our hardships over the years, but we made it through all of them and we deserve this special treat to celebrate how far we’ve come. To celebrate us.  We’ve managed to painstakingly pinch every last penny until Lincoln screams in pain to make this trip possible. I lean over and give my husband a peck on the cheek, before resting my head on his shoulder for a moment. He presses his cheek against the top of my head. I’m proud of us both for finally turning this amazing dream into reality.

I check the time on my phone and fidget in my seat, before deciding to make sure that my passport, I.D., and boarding pass are at the ready for the thousandth time today as I wait for our seat assignments to be called. It’s hard to say if this newfound ritual is compliments of my OCD, or the adrenaline fueled excitement that I’m currently running on. Likely a little bit of both, I surmise.

They finally get around to calling rows 20 through 25. I nudge my husband with my elbow and say, “that’s us.” We proceed to gather up our belongings and head toward the quickly lengthening boarding line.

We finally reach the robotically jovial stewardess at the front of the line, who looks over our boarding passes with an obviously overworked smile. She repeats our seat assignments to us as though we are feeble minded and couldn’t possibly read them on our own, and wishes us a safe and pleasant trip through her gleaming pearly whites.

We make our way down the long gangway, my husband whistling a Christmas tune the entire way as has been his habit for the 20 years that we’ve now been married. It’s July. I stopped bothering to point this fact out to him years ago, and now I just smile and shake my head.

We are greeted by yet another methodically friendly set of flight personnel at the door to the airplane, who welcome us aboard and once again wish us a pleasant journey.

Smiling Flight Attendant

We inch our way toward the back of the aircraft from among the throng of inconsiderate individuals stopping in the middle of the aisle to fight with overhead bins or argue with other passengers and flight attendants over confused seat assignments. I can see frustration growing on my husband’s face as we shuffle along. Finally, we arrive at seats 24 B and C. I feel a little pang of sadness as I realize that neither of them are a window seat. Ah, well, you get what you pay for I suppose, and we did our best to cut traveling expenses as much as possible so that we could fully enjoy our 2 weeks exploring the lush green land for which we are about to embark. I hand my carry on over to my husband, and he makes quick work of shoving it into the overhead compartment, before we settle into our seats. My husband has Closterphobia issues, so I know he’ll want to sit in the aisle seat. He always does in crowded places.  So I grab the middle seat and proceed to try and get as comfortable as possible, not really paying much attention to the person that already occupies the window seat.

I barely get myself situated before I hear a strong, cheerful, feminine voice  from my left announce, “Hi, I’m Anna.” This boisterous greeting is accompanied by a slim fingered hand boasting pale pink polished nails and 3 over-sized silver cocktail rings extended in front of me. I turn slightly in my seat so that I may comfortably surrender my right hand in acceptance of her handshake.  We make eye contact for a moment and I take in Anna’s friendly features while quickly looking her over.

She’s perhaps 50, Caucasian, taller than I by a good 6 inches, and fit. Her long, frizzy, grayish blond waves are held back from her face by a pink, orange, and black oriental flowered silk scarf wrapped around her head and tied at the nape of her neck. She has a wide pink-lipped smile accompanied by a beautiful set of large, dark grey eyes with soft creases gently nipping at the corners. I take note of her clothing; a bright pink tank top under a thin white cotton off-the-shoulder shirt, with small pink, orange, and yellow flowers embroidered along the neckline. This was tucked into a matching, floor length, gypsy-style skirt held securely around her waist by a tied woven hemp belt. She had kicked off her silver-beaded leather sandals that are now shoved partially under the seat in front of her, and I can just barely make out her perfectly pedicured and pale pink polished toes peeking out from under her the hem of her skirt. In truth, she looks somewhat like she just stepped out of the 1970’s.

I smile and introduce myself in return. I then point to my husband next to me, and introduce him as well. He leans over me and offers a hand for her to shake. After the proper introductions have been made, I point to her skirt and tell her, “My daughter would absolutely love your outfit.” She flashes her brilliant smile once again and says, “Your daughter sounds like my kind of girl.”

The next words out of her mouth admittedly catch me off-guard. “You’re very short,” she proclaims. “Excuse me?” I say. While this is an all too true observation, I’ve yet to have a practical stranger make that assessment so boldly.  I wasn’t quite sure I had even heard her right. She laughs off the expression of shock that must be noticeably written on my face. “I mean your life line; I was noticing that it’s quite short and shallow.” She must have then noticed my expression change to concern because she goes on to quickly add, “Oh no, no. It’s nothing to be concerned about. It doesn’t mean that you have a shortened life-span; it simply means that you have a tendency to be controlled by people and situations.” She extends her hand once again, palm side up, and says, “Here, let me see your hand. I’d be happy to give you a full reading…”

She had misread my cause for concern. The words, “Oh, no thank you, I don’t…” barely escape my lips before my husband, who had, to my surprise, been listening to the exchange over his phone follies, interjects with, “We’re Christians. We don’t have anything to do with astrology or palm reading or any of that sort of thing.”

“Ah, okay,” she rather impatiently snaps, and proceeds to pull out and open a thick paperback novel that she had apparently jammed between her thigh and the armrest before we sat down.

That’s it. The conversation has been called to an abrupt halt. I could read a lot into her tone and half smirk though, which said, “I’ve dealt with you closed minded freaks before, and I’m not about to travel this road again.”

I look at my husband. He peeks over my head at Anna leaning her forehead against the window, now quietly and rather quickly engrossed in her novel. He then looks back at me and shrugs as he shakes his head no.

I knew exactly what he was thinking. Though my husband has been known to dive into a religious debate with all of the passion and fervor of an Olympic gold medalist, he wouldn’t be pressing Anna in further conversation. It was clear that she stood firm in her convictions and had closed off any further exchanges at that point. My husband and I both knew that pressing people that were not at all open to hearing what you had to say would just push them further away from wanting anything to do with God and those that serve Him.

I close my eyes and lean my head back. It’s going to be a long flight. I silently say a prayer for our safety during this flight, and for Anna. May she have a life filled with peace and perhaps, someday, be receptive enough to at least listen to a Christian point of view.

Closed minds comes in many different packages, after all.

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Note from the author: This story is completely fictional but has several truthful ideals and undertones. Though I understood that the point of this prompt was to accept the offer a palm reading and write about what my future may hold therein, for certain obvious reasons, I could not.  I chose to take my story in a different direction, and I hope that those of you that are spiritual and non-spiritual alike are still able to enjoy my story and accept it…open mindedly.