Greetings, Banana Grabbers!
Has anyone ever heard of that letting-go-of-your-bananas story? Somebody at work told me about this story, or theory, or whatever it is, a few weeks ago. It's been on my mind ever since.
Basically, it goes something like this: there's a special kind of monkey trap that's a just a cage filled with bananas. The monkeys come and reach inside the cage to grab the bananas and try to yank them out, all screaming and jumping up and down like madmen (can't you totally picture it?), and of course the bananas are wedged in there so they really don't come out. Then, all the monkey hunter has to do is lift up the whole cage with a rope, and BAM - he's captured all those monkeys who are still hanging there, clutching those bananas.
Of course, the smart monkeys figure out that all they need to do is LET GO. LET GOOOOOOO...
Which brings me to sharing my little story of where I found life this past week. It had to do with that exact thing: letting goooooo of some bananas floating around in my head. That is, it wasn't that I did anything in particular. It was what I didn't do.
As a reminder, my late-afternoon commuting routine goes like this: slam two shots of espresso, hop on hour-long bus to downtown and do intense grading and writing the whole way because that's a perfectly usable hour of life to be productive, arrive in downtown, and immediately hop on bike to race to my house, where infinitely more chores and work-related tasks await me. Bumble through those tasks in a tired state of post-caffeine brain crash, fall into bed - exhausted but unable to sleep - and wonder where the hell the day went. Sounds like great fun, I know.
This time, though:
1) Instead of drinking a pre-bus-ride espresso, I took the brave step of NOT drinking espresso, deciding to give napping a try instead of working, something that truly hadn't occurred to me as a possible way to use that bus time. The whole reason I take the bus is so I can get work done, after all. But this time, I let myself off the hook, snuggled into a window seat, closed my eyes, and dozed the whole way. I ignored the slurred and profanity-filled conversations of the drooly weirdos around me. No dreams, no thoughts. Woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed and wonderful.
2) Instead of immediately hopping on my bike to race home because the clock of life is ticking, I strolled around downtown for about 45 minutes for no purpose other than to look around and see this gorgeous place I live in. Pike Place Market. A lady in an apron singing badly and holding out her hand. A bored-looking, bearded man selling nectarines. A dog with a noodle of saliva hanging off his mouth. I bought a bottle of Perrier mineral water, sat at an outdoor table for five minutes, and drank it slowly. It was fizzy and cold. I went into Barnes and Noble and glanced at the bestseller table, wondering if my book will ever be there. I perused the trashy magazines, discovering that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting divorced (gasp!). I caught a whiff of Windex.
3) I rode home and - this time - looked around as much as I could without endangering my life. Houses and trees and sky. Somebody wearing a werewolf mask. A tree with toilet paper hanging from it. A blinking orange sign that said "open."
4) Our friend A called that night. He'd ordered two pizzas -would K and I like to pop over for dinner and TV. We said yes - even though it wasn't on the agenda, wouldn't allow me to chip into my book that evening as planned, and meant that my students would have to wait one more day before getting their graded essays back. I had an awesome, human, life-living time that night.
So that's where I found life last Wednesday, and I repeated the sleeping-and-strolling pattern for the next two days. LIFE!
Now, time to get back to my book - that's one oh-so-yellow-and-sweet banana I can't let go of!