under the influence of apple pie
At two in the afternoon yesterday, Tuesday, I found myself in a highly-chlorinated swimming pool in an apartment complex in San Marcos, California. About 10 feet away in the water were a young married couple, both with Down syndrome. It was 80 degrees, the sky was bright blue, the water felt real good in a pool never deeper than 5 feet, and out of that bright blue came what was clearly a thought right out of the Talking Heads – “Well, how did I get here?”
I was in a town I’d never heard of two months ago. I was the paid supporter of two young people – hopefully welcoming recipients of my support – who I’d never met a month before. Working for an agency I’d never heard of in all my years traveling to San Diego. Reporting to work to an apartment complex with this lovely if apparently underused pool, with a sweet small gym, and with a parking place I could always expect to find open for me. And with a life I could never, ever have imagined back in mid-April. Nor would have wanted to.
Not really the same as it ever was.
But, I know how technically I got there, and so do you if you are a regular visitor here, because this Blog has masked and served as a travelogue these last four months – first this happened, then this happened, then this one offered a garage and this one offered a room and that angel said of course, I’ll take and love your kid. And people sent love and blessings and some cash, people paid too much for paintings, and I sold a bunch of stuff and gave away way more and found myself believing electrically in the “Strange travel suggestions may be dancing lessons from God” Vonnegut hymn.
And on a Tuesday in the middle of the afternoon inland from the ocean I’m with two young people who are so tender toward each other it has already filled my heart with faith and magic – and broke it a little more now that I can’t say the same for myself. A receiver and giver of that kind of love.
Apple pie, you wonder? When I reported 15 minutes early for my “shift” the young man saw me come in, got up from the couch and walked to the refrigerator. He opened the door, reached in, and came out with and solemnly handed to me a small food container with the name “Buddy” in marker on a piece of masking tape. Inside, I could see, a slice of heavily-crumbed apple pie. I right there and then felt part of something special, intensely so, the Universe smiling down on me graciously again. I sort of felt loved. Later, after I had made them a distant cousin of omelettes for their dinner, and munched on a few pieces of bell pepper and some olives I’d brought in a small cooler, and me being all Keto and everything and almost never eating sugar or bread (Hodad’s in Ocean Beach a howling exception), I offered each of them some or even all of it the pie. And they looked at me and said no – “We had our piece. That’s your piece.”
Since then I’ve been under that influence of thoughtfulness. And apple pie.