When you get busy living your life, you tend to do the same type of things over and over. Because those things bring you satisfaction, consistency, and a sense of safety. Like watching your favorite sitcom every week. Or always eating the same thing at a particular restaurant. Or always going to the movies on Friday Night. It also brings you the same outcomes over and over. You know what to expect when you get to the movie theater. So you adjust yourself to accommodate the movie times, the lines, etc. because you really like the outcome. Sitting with a friend in front of a big screen and a great sound system to watch the latest adventure, comedy or drama. With of course your favorite treats, which in my case would be the freshly popped buttery popcorn and a soda.
Now this IS NOT necessarily such a bad thing. We can kind of gauge how life will go when we do the same things over and over. We will know our satisfaction levels, we will know our disappointment levels. We know the challenges, the joys and the gifts. We find a satisfying balance to our lives. But that’s the key…. BALANCE. However, we don’t live this life alone, we have other people in our lives too who like their consistencies, their safety zones, and their comforts around them. Most recently Tammy and I took an over-night trip together. First we attended the Renaissance Festival. She’d never been there before but it’s one of my favorite places. And I so enjoyed sharing it with her. Then later that same day we went to a Casino, its one of her favorite things to do. We played BINGO and she taught me how to use a slot machine. ( I needed remedial help, lol Tammy was watching my numbers for me at bingo and then out of the blue, she said “raise your hand” I looked at her kind of funny. She repeats with a little vigor, “RAISE YOUR HAND!” so I did, then she yells “BINGO!” I’d won.. ) But it wasn’t until we got to our hotel that we really noticed each other’s comfort zones. As we both unpacked our suitcases, we had all sorts of creature comforts from home. Now Tammy and I have known each other for over 30 years, but I can tell you there were quite a few new things we learned about each other that night. (We both snore, just a little. But don’t tell her I said anything.)
Being out with Goose also challenged my ‘zone.’ The bites of lobster, and now experiencing a casino for the first time. Holy cow. The casino was a lot to take in. It sits in an old farm field and there’s a silo and the front door handles to the casino are shaped like cobs of corn. Initially the waitresses were dressed like Daisy Duke from the Dukes of Hazard. Wearing very short cut off shorts and a tight, little blouse. Now I can tell you, being married to an Iowa farmer for 16 years, I never once wore short shorts and a tight blouse when I was helping with chores. Well.. that’s not quite true I guess. There was that one summer day…… ahh but I digress. (Lol..okay I’ll tell you.)
It was a hot summer afternoon and my ex and I weren’t married yet. I was still considered a ‘City Girl’ which wasn’t a compliment. I had driven to the farm to visit him, and his job of the day was to cultivate crops that were planted and newly popping out of the dirt. Cultivating adds some air to the soil and pulls the weeds at the same time. You drive back and forth up and down all the rows of crops. Well, I was wearing denim shorts (not super short ones) and sitting on the fender of the tractor he was driving. My legs got soooo sunburned. They swelled and turned a deep red-purple. So I learned my lesson about wearing denim shorts on the farm, Apparently the Casino had learned a similar lesson. There were no Daisy Dukes in the whole place.
But I was there with Goose and not a comfort zone of my own to be found. Goose fortunately held my hand like you’d hold onto a toddler while crossing the street. I felt very out-of-place and it seemed like everyone knew it. I got all sorts of glances from people like the dealers at the gaming tables and I got a huge glance, well more of a stare actually from my soon-to-be-ex brother-in-law who was there at the casino too. (That was an uncomfortable moment. I was certain my ex would be hearing all about me being there and holding hands with a guy besides.) Goose strutted right over to an open spot at a Blackjack table. Apparently he’s done this before. He was very confident and seemed to be a part of the surroundings. But he was attentive as he put his arm around me and told me to climb up on the chair next to him. He put money on the table for both of us. That’s when I had to make another confession to Goose. (Geez you’d think he was my priest). I told him I’d never played before. First the lobster and now this. I was certain he’d be ditching me the first chance he got.
That black leather jacket must have been working its magic because Goose simply put his arm around me and pulled me a little closer and said he’d teach me. I stood there next to Goose and watched carefully as the cards were being dealt and poker chips were being exchanged. All sorts of hand signals and then more dealing and chips. It was all a little overwhelming with all of the activity swirling on around me. Lights, buzzers, clanging and chimes. And then there was the band. They were set up on a stage behind the bar. Lots of people were gathering on the dance floor. I have to say this was quite an amazing evening for me. Not a safety zone or creature comfort to keep me in balance anywhere.
It was nearing 11:00 p.m. when Goose suggested we step outside for a little while. Once outside and a few breaths of fresh air, I felt my balance returning. And also the recognition that the evening was about over. I’d had such an adventure. But Goose is a spontaneous kind of guy. He said, “I came and saw where you live last time, do you wanna follow me to see where I live?” Hmmm… I’m a grown up girl and I don’t have a curfew so I said “sure”. Once in my car and on the highway following Goose, I called Michele.