A Single Roll of Toilet Paper

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My son-in-law went on a toilet paper run yesterday.

That’s nothing out of the ordinary for a brisk spring day in the year of COVID-19

He texted me a photo of the parking lot where he was sitting in his truck before dawn.

Empty grocery store

The supermarket didn’t open until 8 a.m. but he was there before 7.  The parking lot was looking pretty empty, so the chances were good he’d score some rolls and maybe a few extra.  He was psyched and focused on his mission, sure that he’d be successful.

Jason's message

That’s what he wrote to me as he sat in the cold and waited for the store to open.I didn’t hear from him until an hour and fifteen minutes later – fifteen minutes after the official opening of the store.

Question Jason

I wasn’t surprised by his answer.

Nope

I didn’t have time to ask him what happened.  He sent me this photo right away:

People in Line

The size of the crowd didn’t surprise me, but what I questioned was his position in that line. How did a guy who came to the store first end up getting aced out by all those people?  And where did all those people come from, if Jason was there first?  My son-in-law is 6’ 5” and a talented athlete, a consummate competitor.  How did this swarm of old folks (judging by a lot of greying hair there in the photo)  get the top position over my son-in-law?  How come he ended up at the end of the line?

I Let the people go ahead of me

Tears don’t normally fill my eyes when I read texts, but they did now.

Mostly older

More tears. 

I couldn’t write a word to him. 

I was so paralyzed by the abundance of his kindness.

Jason is the original Mr. Good Guy, an educator, a champion for all, with a heart of amazing dimensions, a guy who is loyal, honest, and filled with soul.  In one word, the man is my hero. His superhero powers were at work again and I was stunned into silence.

But what he wrote next gave me pause.

All the people looked like they couldn't do anything

#humanity

My heart hurt for Jason.  Yes, it’s a blow not to be able to get what you need right now, and certainly toilet paper has taken on a whole new importance in our life.  But to lose your hope, your faith in humanity is a loss we cannot afford right now.  We especially can’t have our heros lose it.  Not just Jason, but every health care person who is on the front lines, every grocery store and big box retail worker, every policeman, fire fighter, and yes, every government official, who is still on the job when the rest of us are safely within our sanctuaries known as home; they all have to continue doing what all heroes do, and not lose hope.

This is a reminder for all the Jasons, and everyone doing their best right now, making sacrifices, and still reaching out to help, not only to their families, but to strangers who have never meant anything to them, strangers who stopped being strangers once we saw the hurt, the fear, and the need in their faces that we recognized as our own.  When someone shows you kindness, don’t just pay it forward.  Pay it back to the person who started it.  We need all the heros we can find right now.  And yes, that #humanity should stand for that.  For remembering that we must all be heros right now. 

Even if it means offering a single roll of toilet paper.

And saying thanks to the one who let us go first.

 

 

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

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girl  in  grunge interiorIt’s been a year since starting this blog and I want to thank every one of you who’s dropped by to read these posts, and to linger a little longer to leave a comment.  You’ve made me feel very welcome in this tiny corner of the Internet.

Many of you have been kind enough to leave a word or two and to keep the conversation rolling.  I can always count on Lynne, behindthemaskofabuse, Raani, Wayne, Heather, Jen, valeriedavis, Jeri, June, virginialorca, Cookie, bldodson, lindalochridge, alesiablogs, lpaulick, Dixie, Bette, Susan, quirky books, Adrienne, stutleytales, Shirley, 1dlagarino, Jodi, catnipoflife, Jessica, Expat Alien, Ria, Deanna, and Yasseen to let me know their feelings and ideas, as well as giving this writer a real motivation to keep posting. If you write me a comment, I value that, and I will always write you back.

It used to be that writing was something done in the loneliness of an empty room.  Just the writer, some paper, a pen or a typewriter, making up stories for anonymous readers.  Blogging came along and changed that.  Now, there are names and identities attached to readers, and I find myself eager to hear from people who I’ve come to know over the last 365 (or more) days I’ve been writing here.

So here’s to another 365 (or more) days of Can You All Hear Me In The Back?  I am toasting each and every one of you tonight – from those who comment, to those who are so considerate to “like” my posts or to click that “WordPress This” “Facebook” or “Twitter” button at the bottom of every post.  I wish I could send each and every one of you flowers.

After all, it is our anniversary.

Flowers

Merci! Gracias! (and whatever the word is in Polish)

Writing a blog is a little like hosting a cocktail party: You’ve got a house filled with people, there’s food and drink for all, but if you don’t circulate, you’re not a good hostess, and the party isn’t going to last long.

My living room after a party.

In the spirit of keeping a good party going, let me say thanks to all of you for dropping by.  For reading my stories, leaving your wonderful comments, and lending me your support. As a professional screenwriter, my readers have always been executives, producers, directors, and yes, actors. They’ve been more concerned with changing my words than connecting with them. Writing stories here on my blog is much more fulfilling because it takes a true partner – you, the reader – to complete the experience. I may not know all of you personally, but every time you leave me a comment, you become someone special to me.  You’ve stepped out of the anonymity of the internet to say hello.  You’ve become more than just one of the stats on a WordPress page, and I thank you for wanting to connect with a writer who spends far too much time sitting alone in a room, rather than venturing into the world to meet new people.

Judging from the stats page of this website, many of you live all over the world.  I’m amazed by the number of nations represented as “hits” on this website.  Since I started “Can You All Hear Me In The Back?” people from the following countries have visited the site: India, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Greece, Mexico, Netherlands, Thailand, France, Turkey, Eqypt, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Singapore, Cape Verde, Philippines, Romania, El Salvador, Czech Republic, Nigeria, Belgium, Jordan, Israel, Saint Lucia, Austria, Portugal, Pakistan, Tunisia, U.S., and the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.

My last post about my struggles as a recovering agoraphobic brought eleven people from Poland to this site.  Why? I have no idea. Maybe they were just lost. But I still hold out hope that if they come back to visit again they’ll say “witajcie” which means (according to the Polish-English dictionary http://en.bab.la/dictionary/polish-english/witajcie) “hello” in Polish.

For those of you who have been reading my posts weekly, let me give you an update on several of the stories.  Last week I wrote about my safety person (my husband) going out of town, and what that meant to me as a recovering agoraphobic. I want you all to know that it was a great week – I managed to do all of my errands (including going to the supermarket) and anxiety was at a minimum. I thank everyone who sent me well wishes, and told me to hang in. I did hang in, and I did take my dog with me when I went to the supermarket. I didn’t actually bring her inside the store, but I saw her through the window as she sat behind the steering wheel, (she likes to do that) watching me as I shopped.  And I must say, it did help me to know she was out there.

The last couple of days of the week, my friend, Cookie (yes, of Cookie & Marty) came to visit me, and we had a wonderful time.  Oh and for those of you wondering after reading A Love Story (sort of), and A Love Story Continues (sort of), Cookie has taken a leap of faith and booked an airline ticket for a week in New York to go sit side by side with Marty in beach chairs and to look out at the ocean (the same ocean) at the same time. She promises to keep me posted as to “how it all goes.”

Finally, for those of you who have nominated me for blogging awards, I thank you with all of my heart.  I want you to know that I’ll be creating a special page for those nominations, and I’ll be posting them over the next week.  Merci! Gracias! Danke!

I hope you’ll continue to drop by here and say hello to me.  It does get awfully lonely being a writer.

But the occasional cocktail party does help.