In Sweet Home Alabama Reese Witherspoon goes home for the first time in many years. She thinks she's going to shake down her husband for a divorce and then go back to her new yankee home to marry her new yankee boyfriend.
None of that has anything to do with me.
But the part that makes her human (and a good actress) of course is that she goes back home and in spite of desperately NOT wanting to get sucked back in, immediately gets sucked back in. You see it coming because you a) can see that the girl is still completely southern no matter how much she may have tried to lose the accent and b) you're not her.
So I may have said before that a) I'm still a little wigged out to be back East because I never thought I would be again and b) I'm still ASTONISHED by how the simplest things bring back a flood of memories that have more than once stopped me dead in my tracks as I can suddenly hear, taste, or smell something from 30 years ago. The other day it was when Max and I took the twins into a Giant Food Store because he had to go pee and we were all STARVING to death. I walked into that Giant and suddenly I was seven years old and all I wanted to do was find the cookie counter where there was an old lady who would give my brother and I a free cookie with colored sprinkles on it.
Giant carries things that other groceries don't -- it's subtle maybe but I saw stuff in this old Giant store in a tiny town off of 322 in central PA that I haven't seen in a long, long time. So on the one hand, I was bugged because the deli lady was a little slow on the uptake -- upshot, we didn't get any deli -- and on the otherhand, I was walking down memory lane (with my cute little shoplifters in tow -- no worries, I shake 'em down at the counter -- if I don't remember then Max does).
Then last week I was sitting on the swing in the backyard and watching the darkening sky beyond the leaves . . . and it wasn't so much the trees or the leaves or the smell of an early fall but the sound of an early September evening. The bugs, the squirrels, the plop, plop of dropping acorns. No flashbacks there but a quiet awareness that I needed to come back here. The familiar smells are calming. The familiar sounds are calming. I feel like I can be more patient knowing that you just never know when things will change, when people will change, when good things will happen. That bad times are inevitable, but they do pass. Unlike God, the Enemy does tire of you.
So here I am, an East Coast girl back on the East Coast, raising my kids who will become East Coast kids. And just like you *know* Reese is going to be happier back in Alabama than she ever could be up north, I feel happier in my East Coast house (badly in need of a new roof) than I ever did in my West Coast house.
Thankfully, my West Coast husband seems to be transplanting well, albeit more slowly than a native plant like myself. And Max? Max hasn't been so happy since he was in Ginny's daycare at the age of 2. He picked up another neighborhood friend this week. I like this kid and his mom, too. How could we live so many places and have such an abyssmal shortage of regular old neighborhood boys Max's age?
:::puts violin away::::
So here's my "just when you think the world is in its handbasket and on its way" story of the day:
I called audible.com to cancel my membership. I really like this service. For less than $20/month I get two audio books a month and then I get a discount on more if I want them. But I never remember to go get my audio books. I've downloaded six of my books in the eight-ish months I've been a member. So I called to cancel.
The guy at the other end of the phone says he's very sorry to hear that, but he's happy to help me do that. He looks at my account. "Hey! You've got ten unused books here!"
Well, yeah, that's kind of my point. And if you don't use the points within a month, then they're gone. So, really, those are ten books I don't have. Okay, I have two. Two from this month.
No, he explains, all you have to do to get the books back is call nicely and ask! Tippity tappity go his fingers. There! He can only reinstate book points from the last six months, so he gives me back eight books credits.
I brace myself, knowing that next he's going to try to convince me to keep the membership since he's been so "nice" and all.
"Now," he says, "back to your request. Let's see. Reason for cancelation--too busy I guess!"
Ben is babbling happily about a foot away from the phone. The guy says enthusiastically, "Oh my! That is so cute! Who is that?"
We talk about my kids. He laughs everytime Ben says anything for the rest of the conversation. It could have been saccharine? But he was genuine. I bought it.
I then confessed I didn't remember my password. Then it turned out I *did* but for some reason it wasn't working. He resets it using personal information he's gleaned from our conversation. It was funny. From anyone else it would have been invasive.
Then he proceeds to tell me exactly when each of the book points will expire, ending with, "so basically, I'd get online now, pick out your books, and check out." He wishes me the best, hopes I subscribe to audible again in the future, reminds me that if I want I can get a book any old time anyway, just without the "member" cost, and we say goodbye.
And I hop online and get the rest of the Narnia books, the first three Bunicula books (counts as one book), and someone's autobiography (for me).
Isn't that great?