Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thanks, Mr. Peale

Yesterday was a rare day of eating lunch out at the Katfish Kabin, yum yum, my fav. The buffet at the Katfish Kabin is a risk, because I always want the occasion to be perfect and sometimes when we go we can’t get a seat and the fish have been sitting too long in the warming tray. Yesterday the noon crowd had thinned out, the seating was easy, and we had to wait a tiny bit for the catfish to come from the kitchen, just fried and very hot. I snagged a table in a empty corner of the back room and waited for Vernell to join me. What could be better for two friends who seldom get to eat out or visit each other?

Except by the time Vernell brought her tray and sat down, the table next to us began filling with up with hefty, hungry, HAPPY women. Hefty, hungry, happy, LOUD women. First there were four, then six, seven, eight. Did I tell you they were happy? And LOUD? And that there were ten before they were all seated? Ten hefty, hungry, happy, LOUD women?

Vernell has a soft voice, and my hearing, it isn’t what it used to be. I felt tricked and abused. I thought about changing tables, but that would have been obvious and cranky, throwing the happy women, the waitresses, and Vernell and me all off-kilter. In desperation I imagined me standing up, prim as a librarian, tapping on my glass, and roaring, “WILL YOU PLEASE HOLD IT DOWN!”

Also nada. They probably couldn’t have heard me, anyway.

Then it occurred to me to visualize being able to hear everything Vernell was saying. Perfectly.

And I could. And for some reason, though she has older ears than mine, she seemed to be hearing me, too, without my having to raise my voice. Instead of listening to the roar next to us and that voice racketing in my head telling me about our lousy luck, I listened to Vernell. The conversation was swell, and did I say the fish were hot? Hot! Lunch was everything I always want it to be, but don’t always get.

“That sure was noisy,” Vernell said as we left. “It sure was,” I said. “That was a noisy group,” she said, three times before we got to the car. Probably because she still felt as stunned as I had before I gave up defending myself from the noise and started listening to her. Probably she didn’t know I was contemplating positive thinking, and how powerful it is. And that group?—they were like rain or wind or the hot, hot sun—a force of nature I really couldn’t control, not an enemy to be attacked and condemned. If I could decide to hear Vernell under the surge of their voices, what might I decide to do next?

She probably couldn’t figure out why I agreed with her and was still grinning. How could I explain to her when I get a gift like that, I’m always HAPPY?



Silver Solo said...

my mouth waters over the thought of catfish, noisy diners and all.

i was over at my sisters today to eat and pulled up your blog for her to read. could hear her chuckling from the other room. are you reading the dog poop? yep.

Nicole said...

I would like to gift myself thusly with drivers. I think I've done it before, but it sometimes just looks like I've done I have some repeating mantra in my head that just drowns out the cranky defensive voice instead of actually silencing it.

I am happy for you! Hot catfish and a gift of peace! A winning combination if ever I heard of one!


Camellia said...

Silver Solo and Nicole...good, hot Mississippi catfish, corn meal battered. That should be enough of a gift for anyone. And Silver Solo...your sister liked me? Such a Sallie Fields moment. Thank you for sharing with her and with me.

Nicole...ever once in a while the tumult of those voices would hammer at me, and I would again focus on the knowledge that I could hear Vernell. But in every irritating situation, I have to learn something new...again! Maybe with the drivers, seeing yourself at the end of your trip, happy and at ease? If you find the key, let me know.

tumbleweed said...

it seems life is full of buddhist moments...i had to move the remnants of a haystack the other day, to make space in a shed. looked a bit daunting but somehow a small voice murmured in my ear 'just one bale at a time'. and for some strange reason I found the haystack shifting a satisfying experience as opposed to tedious chore. dunno why, and NO there was no medication (or indadvertent lack of)involved!

Keetha said...

Oh, THAT is fabulous. I wish I could decide to not like whatever it is bother/distract/annoy me. It's so powerful when you decide.

Camellia said...

I think it deciding to like ONLY what you like, and letting the rest go. Who knows? Once I think I know I just bump into the next wall.