The Westshore Hat June 25, 2016

This morning, Mike is off to the mainland. He kisses me goodbye at some early time. I am dozy, warm and comfortable in the covers. I fall back asleep and wake later to an itchy, watery eye. This is the thought that shoots through my head:

“I wonder if this is pinkeye. If it is, I better not go to the Westshore tonight for M&R’s little party. Pinkeye is very contagious.” Really? I don’t have pinkeye, and I know it. Why would I think that? It’s probably just allergies.

I took a course in mindful meditation last year, and we learned that the mind is constantly bombarding us with thoughts, always trying to fill our head with something, anything. It’s so busy. Part of mindful meditation is trying to detach yourself from the mind, and either watch its activity from a distanced and- very importantly- nonjudgemental perspective, or to quiet it’s incessant chatter. Like, give it a rest, dude. It’s okay to stop for a while.

And so I see this pinkeye thing as the lame excuse it is, and I see it from a detached perspective, a bit amazed at my mind’s tenaciousness to be tackling this issue before my first cup of coffee. I won’t pretend that I am non-judgemental about it, though. It pisses me off.

I have not firmed up with R about his Westshore invitation. My mind, again, making sure I have an escape route, an easy way to back out of a social event. It’s ridiculous. There is no danger, no threat of physical or psychological harm among friends. I like hanging out with my friends. And so, at 9:18 this morning, I bid my mind a giant “fuck you” and close the escape route by texting R:

“Good morning. I would love to come over tonight. And thanks for picking me up. What time should I be ready?”

“I get off at 5”

“I’ll be ready!”

” 👍 ”

There. Done.

It’s a nice sunny day, and I spend a few hours in the yard. My eye is absolutely fine. I start getting ready at about 4:30 and have another little run-in with myself.

Last February in Mexico, my friend, K, was getting ready to fly home. “Here,” he said. “I don’t want to take this on the plane.” It was a black hat. I tried it on and K said it looked great. I accepted it, but never wore it. And haven’t worn it. I almost always stick with a ball cap.

So, here I am getting ready, and I think I want to look decent not overly dressed, but a bit more presentable than my bumming-around-the-house attire. I choose a grey short sleeve shirt. And then I see the black hat. Hmmm… I try it on. Why the hell not, I think. But Mind says, “You look funny. It’s not you. Who are you trying to be?”

Yes, it’s true. I does look, well,  different. But maybe if I change into a black shirt to match the hat, it will look better. It does, I decide. So I begin gathering my things, my phone, keys, wallet. And as I’m doing that, Mind says, “This is silly. You look silly. You are being silly.”

Before I know it, the black hat is off, I’m back to the grey shirt, and a much more conventional ball cap. I look in the mirror, knowing R will be there any minute, and Mind says, “There you go, now you look like your usual self. Much better.” I look at my usual self. Comfortable. Always the same.

I think about my first journal entry, The Wall June 13, 2016, where I ask myself if I can be brave. In that context, I was referring to social change, the guts to be a trailblazer. And here, Mind is having me grapple with something as benign as a hat. How can I be brave in an important way when I worry about minor shit like this?

So, for the second time today, I send Mind the image of a giant middle finger, and rush to the bedroom. I whip off the grey shirt, put on the black, and place the black hat on my head. Done. The doorbell rings, and within minutes, I am on my way to the Westshore with my friend R. Fuck you, Mind.

It is a fun evening. M&R’s neighbour is there and three other friends from Vancouver. The seven of us chat, and I notice with some effort and pride that when the conversation lags, I jump in to fill the void, asking a question here, telling a story there. I practice my small talk. At one point, R mentions that the black hat and shirt looks great together (Ha!).

And so, I think this funny as all hell. Mind was so worried about looking silly. What’s so dire about that? Part way through the evening, I ask my friend, J, to take a selfie with me. She is holding Sophie the dog.

 

We take about seven shots, trying to get one where Sophie is looking at the camera, but the dog doesn’t cooperate. I flip through the pictures, deleting and narrowing down the photos to one I will keep. Deciding on a winner, I can’t help but think it’s a great shot of us. We are both smiling. J looks beautiful. I look more closely at the picture. I hadn’t noticed the photo-bomb before. J’s boyfriend is sitting behind us. He’s not paying any attention to us. Maybe it was an itch, but it sure looks like he’s picking his nose.

image

So here’s the thing. Mind was so worried about looking silly in a hat. But here, my photo-bombing, nose-picking friend survived the evening, and I like him just as much as I did before. No consequences except for a good laugh.

I think I need to tell Mind to fuck off a little more often. Is this growth? It feels like it might be.

ps:   Thank you to my friend, R, for being such a great sport and letting me use this photo. 

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