Friday, November 25, 2011

How My Mind Works

My husband recently treated me to his spot-on impression of me: “I have a backache. Do you think I’m dying?”


The day before Thanksgiving, my neighbor called to see if I had a rolling pin she could borrow. I told her I sort of did; our rolling pin is now just a cylinder – the handles were unscrewed, dismantled and lost by one of my sons when he was a toddler. You can still roll with it, though, so she came over and I presented it to her. “It’s really only a dowel,” she said. Which is true. A rolling pin without handles is basically a dowel.

Twenty-seven Thanksgivings ago, my brother was home from college and he needed a ride to the home of one of his high school friends. I brought him there and came inside to say hello to the kid who I hadn’t seen in a few years. The kid’s older brother was there with his girlfriend and I talked to them for a while, lamenting how I had graduated from college a year before but still wasn’t able to find a job I liked. “Are you interested in communications?” the girlfriend asked me. “Because I work for a company that’s actively looking to hire.”

I was a psychology major and had a very different idea about what “communications” meant than she did, but I said yes and she gave me her colleague’s name and I called the woman and got an interview and then got a job there all within a few short weeks.

I thought of all this because my brother’s friend’s last name was Dowell.

At that job, I met my husband. He was one of very few single men working among a sea of linen-clad, pedicured, estrogen-laden Communications professionals. He and I went out for lunch a few times and then occasionally to the movies. I had a boyfriend at the time, but didn’t think much of it. I was in New York and my not-yet-husband was thin, well-dressed, and fun to talk to, so I assumed he was gay.

It turned out I was wrong about that and we started dating and then one thing led to another and now here we are, 27 years later, lending dowels to our neighbors.

I was thinking yesterday, about how much I have to be thankful for and topping the list was finding someone who can reflect to me who I am and help me laugh about it.

I’m glad we have been left with a pastry-rolling dowel. Because the people who come into our lives and become the most important to us are often the result of chance encounters and uncharacteristic decisions, and my gratitude for these types of happenstance may never have come into such clear focus if what I had was still a regular old rolling pin.

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