Present Tense

Keep your dirt to yourself…..

pileI’m in a weird netherworld right now between old life and new life.  We’ve sold our mountain home, so I had to vacate, but due to work obligations, I’m not able to make the move to the new home in northern Michigan.

So, I’m camped out in a residence hotel in a very busy, congested area of Denver, near the radio station where I work.  Although I’m enjoying the conveniences of the city, the traffic and the loneliness is intense.  I miss my husband and our two dogs who have been gone for about two weeks now. They’ve moved into the new house and the new life, while I am in suspended animation for a few more days.

The immense number of cars and people in a large city fascinates and horrifies me.  It’s dawning on me why people are constantly complaining about ‘stupid people’, ‘horrible drivers’, ‘rude people’.  It feels that way when you’re in the middle of controlled chaos day after day after day.  It wears you down; it chips away at your soul.  It can make you hardened toward your fellow humans because it seems like the whole world is in a hurry and you are merely a dot in this sea of ‘me first’.

Well, we are a dot.  That is true.  But, all of us dots form a large chain of connection and consciousness.  There is a rhythm, even in the aggressive chaos of traffic and people moving around the city; traffic and people moving around the world.

I was at Target this afternoon.  Part of my mission was to get out of my cramped room and the other part was a hunter/gatherer mission for food.  I wandered a bit, as did many of my fellow Target shoppers; some in pursuit of a particular item and some like me, searching for nothing in particular.

I plunked myself in the express lane, fiddling with my smart phone like everyone else in the store.  But, the checker caught my ear.  She was ringing up an older woman who was buying a large and cumbersome cork board, while trying to juggle her purse and write a check.  You know how irritated we tend to  get about the old-school check writers who take up so much time in the check-out lines.  The woman finished her awkward transaction and the checker said,  “Now, you take care, my darlin'”.

She said it with such sincerity and love that I thought she must know this woman and then it was my turn.  She scanned my scant items and efficiently bagged them up.  I swiped my card and she looked me in the eye and said very sincerely,  “Thank you so much darlin’.  Have a nice evening”.

I’ll be honest.  I wanted to linger.  I wanted to express my gratitude for her gentleness and kindness that is so often lost in these transactions.  She took the time to acknowledge each and every PERSON who came through her line.  Not a customer, not a client, but a person.  Even though many of us are rushed, distracted, impatient, frustrated, snotty, self-absorbed, talking on our stupid cell phones, she was efficient and competent, but also kind and connected.

Was it difficult for her?  It didn’t seem to be.  At all.  We choose what we put out to the world.  I’ll be willing to bet that she’s had some pretty shitty things happen in her life.  Maybe she went home to some of them after her shift.  We all have our burdens, but I guess what I’m saying and what I’m learning is that my burdens don’t have to become yours. My shitty day doesn’t have to become your problem.  We live in a time and a culture where it’s become okay to dump all of your dirt onto others and that’s not fair.  That makes for a dirty, nasty world.

I’m thinking that it would be so much nicer and cleaner and clearer if we all kept our dirt to ourselves, in neat little piles.  No spreading it around. That way, we all have a clear path here and there to get to where we’re going.  To walk AROUND that dirt and keep our feet clean.  Sound good?  Here’s your broom……

June 24, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Jane, Love your writing. Good luck in your new venture.
    A Detroiter from long ago

    Comment by Keith Mobley | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Keith:
      Thanks for the note. Much appreciated.

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  2. Well said, Jane. I work in the city, but live in the semi-country and can’t wait to get home every weekend. Enjoying your frequent posts. Lori

    Comment by Lori Craddock | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Lori
      Thanks for the comment. I have found that I can only take the city in very small doses:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  3. Jane, I really hope you continue writing your blog once you are settled into your new life. It always makes me happy when I see that you have written something new for us to read. You make us think and you have a way of putting what many of us are feeling into words that make sense. Thank you!

    Comment by Mendy Hetherington | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Mendy:
      Thank you so much. I plan to write more! But, we’ll see how it goes. Might take a few weeks to get settled before I can sit down and put my thoughts together.

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  4. Thanks for this terrific blog post, Jane. It really hit home for me today after travelling alone all afternoon. There were many kind strangers who crossed my path; from the person who gave me room to change lanes on the road to the nice man who got my bag down from the overhead for me when we landed at DIA (without me even asking). Kindness is everywhere if you take time to notice it. I’m so glad you had some in your day today. Wishing you the very best in your new adventure!

    Comment by Sarah | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Sarah,
      People are generally good and kind. We tend to overlook that in our bubble of ‘me’:)
      Thanks for the note

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  5. You have a definite gift my darlin’!
    Stay authored during this time and safe travels on the journey!

    Comment by Philip | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Authored should be Anchored…

      Comment by Philip | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Philip:
      Thanks for the kind words. Staying anchored:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  6. Thanks Jane, I, myself have shitty things that have happened to my family lately that I have kept to myself as a survival instinct. That has kept the path open for the future, but knowing that the shadows hide a lot keeps me in the reality. The checker at Target is an Angel that carries us along through the turbulence. She will appear when you need her to bring us to a different focus.

    Comment by Sharon Cary | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks Sharon.
      Things appear when we need them, sometimes.

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  7. For some reason, I’m a little weepy over this. It’s so true isn’t it? We are shocked by kindness. I guess instead of being teary, I should pay it forward. If we all did, wouldn’t it be grand? What a great blog today Jane. Just remember that this weird transition / game of limbo is because there are greater things waiting for you! Keep up the blogs and fun fb postings! We’ll keep listening to the radio show that brings us all such joy in all that traffic down here!

    Good luck in your new venture!
    Theresa (aka ‘Tj Trolly’)

    Comment by Tj Trolly | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • TJ
      Thanks for the note. I’m a little weepy these days, too:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  8. Most excellent, Jane! Encourages me to sweep my pile in a corner, and put someone else first. We truly never know what another person is going through and just a smile and/or a kind word can make such a huge difference in another’s life. Sometimes it could be the difference between life or death…

    Comment by paula g | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Paula
      Thanks for the note. Glad I could inspire:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  9. sounds very good 🙂

    Comment by bodhisattvaintraining | June 24, 2013 | Reply

  10. Well said—I think niceness is contagious and by the same token so is nastiness—either seems to spread in confined spaces. Safe travels on the way to Michigan.

    Comment by Tania | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • Tania:
      AGREED! Thanks for the note.

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  11. Nicely put… and good advice. Some people live their lives every day making other people smile… it would be nice if we were more like that. Best wishes in your ‘new life’ Jane!

    Comment by Shari | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  12. Very nice Jane. I try to be kind every day no matter what.

    Comment by Carolyn | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  13. Thanks, Jane, for sharing your heart and your perspective with all of us. I find that when I am feeling lonely, I notice things because I am eager to connect. Having read this, it occurs to me that there are likely many lonely people around us, just hoping to connect — if only for a moment.


    Comment by Susan Herr | June 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Susan,
      That is an excellent point. Thanks for the note.

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  14. I love this…first, your description of life in the city…so accurate; and second, the imagery of keeping my dirt in neat little piles. I can do that. I wish you luck during this huge transition and joy in your new life.

    Comment by Francesca Amari | June 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Francesca,
      Thanks so much. See you in August?

      Comment by janelondon | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  15. Awwww…you made me tear up…I’m just hoping no one gave her a hard time about calling them “darlin”. That would break my heart.

    Comment by shellybelly12 | June 25, 2013 | Reply

  16. well said. It seems so many people these days feel that if they are going through something difficult, it somehow gives them a license to treat others poorly or be nasty to the world. This was a good reminder not to let our problems make others miserable!

    Comment by Mary | June 26, 2013 | Reply

  17. Jane: What a great story. I came across someone like that at King Soopers just recently. People are truly good – if you look for them.

    I met you at a Live Audience Friday right after the show moved to your current location. You reached out to me, shook my hand & thanked me for coming. I felt how genuine you are – you are a lovely person. I love listening to you & everyone on the morning show. I’m so glad you are still going to be part of it.

    It’s wonderful that you can move home. But the first thing I thought about was – Jane loves skiing. Are you going to be able to keep up with your passion? I moved from NJ in 1981 to ski. I ski every weekend 7 months of the year. It’s hard to think about skiing anywhere else (on a regular basis). I hope you can still pursue this passion.

    I wish you much happiness. And good health for your parents. And great skiing for you! 🙂

    All the best!

    Comment by Maggie | June 26, 2013 | Reply

    • Maggie,
      Thanks so much for the kind words. As for skiing, believe it or not, there are ski resorts in northern Michigan, although nothing like Colorado, but I can still get my ‘fix’.

      Comment by janelondon | June 27, 2013 | Reply

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