Intersections – Thankful for strange things
By Nicki Salcedo
I stood in the hot shower and felt a chill pass by. I paused, and there it was again. A shiver. I thought of the date. It was well into November. I looked at the razor on the shelf in my shower and down at my naked legs. Summer had lasted forever, and finally our warm autumn made room for winter. I adore summer, but at that moment I experienced an unexpected burst of gratitude for the cold weather. I smiled because it would be my last shave of the year.
Men go about the business of shaving the same all winter. The lumberjack sexy men keep their oversized beards the same regardless of the weather. Clean shaven men scrape off their facial hair in the winter just like they did all summer. I only know a few guys who grow a beard to keep them warm.
Facial hair is a fashion thing for men. But the hair on my legs? It was a rite of passage as a young woman, and then it became a sign of patriarchal oppression. Thank you, Winter. I can stop shaving without the internal debate. It is cold. I’m not shaving again until March.
Maybe I should be thankful for more meaningful things. I’m taking baby steps. Last year, I asked for permission not to be thankful. This year I am thankful, but only a little bit. I’m thankful for strange things.
I’m thankful that I’m not a first timer at the Farmers Market on Thanksgiving week. I saw some newbies reading handwritten shopping lists while navigating the mob. They don’t know how to throw elbows over organic kale while smiling. They didn’t have a strategic plan for how to get from the spice section on one end of the market to the tabouli on the other. I did. I’m thankful for that.
I’m thankful for one grocery shopping trip with my mother. I’m thankful my sister whispered, “Shopping carts just slow me down” as we headed toward the wine.
I’m thankful that I don’t feel pressured to have a close parking space. I drive way out to the back of the parking lot in any shopping situation and avoid the stress and delay of fighting for that first row parking spot.
Often times that first row parking spot makes itself available to me because I don’t want it. I feel gratitude. Some days I take it. Other days I drive past, park far away, and enjoy the walk.
I feel thankful that I’m not lured into frivolous shopping. I mean shopping for clothes or shoes or going into the mall. I’m not mad at big-box stores, but you won’t find me at Walmart or Lenox Square any time soon.
I’m thankful that I am not so set in my ways that I’d say you’ll never see me at Walmart or Lenox Square. I may need to buy all the toilet paper one day and a fancy pair of shoes. I’ve heard about a shoe store in Buckhead that sells $7,000 shoes. I’m thankful I put that information in the part of my brain that believes in unicorns.
I’m thankful that I have received the following hand-me-downs this year: iPhone case for my new iPhone, a Coach bag, a Vera Bradley wallet, The Walking Dead on disc, and a pair of UGG boots. I will gladly accept zombie and high-end stuff and be thankful for it.
My parents taught me about gratitude from my earliest memory. Prayer. Respect for things that aren’t promised. Now that I’m older, gratitude is frustrating. I got in a rut of being thankful and not showing it. I made the mistake of thinking that gratitude was the path to happiness. It isn’t. Gratitude allows you a moment to accept what you have without wanting more.
The more grateful you are the longer you put off the need to be right or first or heard. You have a chance to evolve, sit back, and listen. This year I’ll stick with the strange things.
I am thankful for warm boots. Tall warm boots.
I’m thankful for author and friend Amanda Kyle Williams. The other articles on gratitude forgot to mention her. I’m thankful for all of my friends who are not huggers. Upon seeing me this month she said, “We’re like two feral cats not that into hugs.” This made me happy and grateful. You have to be thankful for people who really see you.
I’m grateful that I’m the one willing to break the chain email (text, Facebook posts, etc.). I’m thankful that my friends don’t realize how grouchy I am about chain emails (text, Facebook posts, etc.).
I’m thankful for the kid who ended up in my poetry class in error, because he thought it was pottery. He stuck it out anyway and wrote a darn good poem.
I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. Mainly because of the stuffing. Even though we don’t do dressing in my family, when presented with dressing, I’m also thankful for that.
There might be a food or a person that you are grateful for this Thanksgiving. You should acknowledge that gratefulness. You might be mad at the world. You might be like me and feel fatigued of all thankfulness in November. I sometimes grow tired of the whole world.
I love to look for the bright side. I try to find the silver lining. I’m tired. In the shower, I feel a chill and there is my glistening razor. I’m thankful to put it away for a few months. Gratitude is a strange thing.
In honor of Indies First and Small Business Saturday, Charis Books & More will welcome local authors Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), Chesya Burke (Let’s Play White), Laurel Snyder (Swan), Fiona Zedde (To Italy with Love) and Nicki Salcedo (Intersections) to sign books and recommend some of their own favorites. The authors will also help kick off the #CharisReads 24-hour Read-a-thon to benefit Charis Circle, the non-profit programming arm of the bookstore. For more information go to Charis Books online.
“Intersections,” the book, is a collection of columns from Decaturish.com and beyond. It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.