Monday, I walked into the restaurant at my retirement center and ordered a croissant with my lunch. The new girl behind the counter said a croissant didn’t come with the meal. I’d have to pay extra. When she held out her hand for $2.00, I asked if there’d been a change in policy. For the past year, I’d been allowed a croissant whenever I wished. A shrug was her answer as she kept her palm open. I decided against the extra calories.
Life is fluid but when changes are too abrupt, I’m forced to question my reality. Had I always paid for my croissant and forgotten? My embarrassment is small, of course, compared to how change affects political pundits during an election year. After the Iowa caucuses, so many political insiders rang the death knell for Donald Trump, I considered sending him a wreath. I’m glad I didn’t. A week later, Trump remained the front runner in the Republican race for U. S. president.
I am at an age when I do not care for change. There’s always a 50/50 chance change won’t work in my favor. The odds shoot up to 90/10 against me when it comes to technology. I gave up an offer to publish a short story because I refused to open a PayPal account so I could be paid. Worse, because I didn’t have a smart phone, I was unable to volunteer to send text messages for a favorite candidate. Now days knowing how to work a computer isn’t enough. The operating systems are constantly upgraded, requiring me to endure the anxiety of living at the beginning of a perpetual learning curve.
Recently, I took a break from my normal state of confusion to read an article by writer, Annie Dillard. She was sharing responses she’s received from readers over the years. (“Ex Post,” the life of a woman of letters,” by Annie Dillard, Harper’s, March 2016, pgs. 69-70.) The comments ranged from impertinent to hilarious.
- You have a great talent for focusing on detail, including the most tedious.
- Personally, I need more of a story line.
- What is your favorite animal?
- …only a handful of club members had finished reading it [the novel], so I concentrated on your works and your husbands.
To be fair, one fan did send Dillard a quilt. Another sent 3 pictures of the world’s largest hairball found in the belly of a cow. And one cherished reader wrote, “Thank you.”
Given Dillard’s examples, I hope readers of this blog will see that a writer’s fans are full of surprises. Perhaps that will explain why my desire for sameness elsewhere is… well, predictable.