CONVERSATION WITH…A Withering Balloon…Anxious about sudden endings

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, a withering balloon floated by. It had a clueless expression on its face, so I figured it was new in the area, as I was. I started a conversation.

balloon

Hey balloon, what brings you “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road?”

WITHERING BALLOON: I drifted here. I’m not sure how I got here, and I’m not sure where I’ll be going next.

You’re not alone. In a very broad sense, the same is true of my existence.

WITHERING BALLOON: Really?

Yes. How did you end up here?

WITHERING BALLOON: Well, I used to work in a Real Estate office. I had a string tied on me, and I was attached to an “Open House” sign. The house was finally sold, so my old, worn, tattered string unraveled and I floated off on my own. Now I’m here trying to figure out where I belong in the world.

Me too.

WITHERING BALLOON: I have to say, I passed a lot of enchanting things on my way to this place. The world is absolutely incredible.

It is.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’ve had a great ride so far.

Me too.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’d like to see more.

Same here.

WITHERING BALLOON: I’d like to keep going and going and going.

So would I.

WITHERING BALLOON: But at any moment, I could pop. And that would be the end.

Well–

WITHERING BALLOON: I mean, I’ve made it this far in life, but how much longer can I possibly go on? At any moment, I could float into a sharp tree branch and burst. Or I could drift into a street lamp and I’d be gone in a flash. Or I could–

I see you’ve given this some thought.

WITHERING BALLOON: I can give you more examples.

No need. I think about it, too.

WITHERING BALLOON: So, what are we supposed to do about it?

Well, the way I see it is…there are two choices. We can continue to enjoy the beautiful ride and take in as much as we can. Or…we can obsess with when it will all be over.

WITHERING BALLOON: I wish I could just enjoy it. But anxiety runs in my family.

Mine too.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

How do you find a balance?

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2018

CONVERSATION WITH…An Antique Tea Kettle…Leaving Her High Pressure Career

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I wandered past a house and heard the front door slam. An antique tea kettle stomped away from the door furiously. She was coming toward me and shouted:IMG_2479 (1)

TEA KETTLE: Screw this!  I’ve had it! I’m outa here!

If you don’t mind that I’m asking…uh…what’s the matter?

TEA KETTLE: You’ve never been a tea kettle, have you?

Not that I can recall.

TEA KETTLE Then you won’t understand. I can’t handle this job anymore! Can’t take the stress! Day after day! Week after week!  Year after year!

Why is it so horrible?

TEA KETTLE: It’s like this. Every morning, I sit peacefully on the stove top, minding my own business. Then suddenly, someone shoves water down my spout. Then my bottom warms up. It gets hotter…AND HOTTER…AND HOTTER!!!!

I never thought about it that way.

TEA KETTLE: You haven’t heard the worst of it. Then! The water inside me starts to get warm…and HOT…and HOTTER! It’s so hot it bubbles and churns like crazy! The stress is unbearable! I can feel my blood pressure going up!

Wow. Believe it or not, it sounds like a lot of jobs I’ve had as a writer working in an office.

TEA KETTLE: You’re kidding.

Nope. There are times I’ll sit quietly at my desk, and then someone comes over and gives me a writing assignment. I say, “Okay. When do I need to submit this?” And the answer is always, “Now, NOW, and RIGHT NOW!!!!!”

TEA KETTLE: So what happens?

So, I rush around like a lunatic to get the writing assignment done! I feel my heart beating faster! I feel my blood pressure going up! I raid the candy machine and eat all the Kit Kats!

TEA KETTLE: Let me guess what happens next. You finish…and everything calms down, right?

Right. And usually the person who asked me to do the assignment doesn’t look at it for three weeks.

TEA KETTLE: The same thing happens to me after I boil. My whistle blows. Someone rushes in and turns off the heat underneath me and pours out the hot water. I’m at peace again. Until another person wants tea! It could be anywhere!  Any time! Then the heat shoots up under me again! I get hotter, and HOTTLER AND HOTTER! Every time I hear someone say, “Would anyone like tea?” My heart sinks.

I hear ya. And you know, I used to think these high pressure jobs were exhilarating. I used to feel excited when I had to exert super high energy to get a job done right in that moment.

TEA KETTLE: Me too! I felt so alive! Like I was part of a team! In the kitchen!

But these days, I don’t see it that way. All that pressure is ridiculous and meaningless. Who needs it? Let someone else run around like a chicken without a head.

TEA KETTLE: You said it. That’s why I just quit working for the family I’ve been with for years. I don’t want to be under that kind of pressure at any given moment, all the time, anymore.

I get it.

TEA KETTLE: On the other hand, what else am I gonna do with my ridiculous life?

___________________________________________________

The tea kettle and I continued walking together and chatting until we passed a little girl in a park. She was having a picnic with her teddy bears. Each bear had a paper plate and tea cup in front of it. The little girl was feeding the bears make believe food. That gave the tea kettle an idea. If the bears were eating make believe food, why not wash it down with make believe tea? The tea kettle mustered up enough courage to pitch the idea to the little girl, and she loved it.

These days, the tea kettle pours make believe tea for the bears on all occasions. So…Maybe as we grow older, our bodies age. But the ideas that spring from inside us can always be new.

IMG_2469

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2018

CONVERSATION WITH…An Older Mobile Phone

I walked for miles and miles Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road and finally plopped down on a park bench. I was exhausted. A moment later, an older mobile phone sat down beside me. I sighed. The mobile phone asked:

mobile phone

MOBILE PHONE: What’s wrong?

Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but a mobile phone is the last thing I need to see right now.

MOBILE PHONE: Why? What did I do?

Nothing. It’s just that you’re a painful reminder of my daughter’s move to the other side of the country. My relationship with her has been reduced to text messages and calls on a phone like you.

MOBILE PHONE: Don’t I know it. Social media is killing me. I’m constantly working. Why do you think I look this way? Smashed screen. My keys don’t tap properly. My battery is dying. I need to retire but my owner isn’t due for an upgrade.

I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve never looked at it that way.

MOBILE PHONE: And I’ve never seen it through your eyes. What’s bothering you about mobile phones. We’re working our butts off for ya.

Do you really want to know?

MOBILE PHONE: I can take it.

Here goes. My daughter will text me about something that makes her happy. Like, last week she had a surprise birthday party. She texted me a photo of herself with her friends, but I didn’t get to hear everyone shout “Surprise!” when she walked in the room. I missed that moment.

MOBILE PHONE: Uh huh–

And when my daughter isn’t feeling well, she calls me. I can hear her raspy voice on the phone, but I can’t be there to give her tea and toast.

MOBILE PHONE: Uh huh–

Last night was the worst. My daughter made herself a nice dinner. She texted a photo of it, but I couldn’t be there to taste it with her.

MOBILE PHONE: Right—

And over the weekend, my daughter sent a Snapchat of herself at the end of a marathon she’d just run. But I couldn’t watch her cross the finish line.

MOBILE PHONE: But–

And about a month ago, my daughter texted me when she was afraid of the out-of-control fires in California. She texted there was smog and smoke in the air, but I couldn’t be there to smell it. I couldn’t be part of her experience. At all.

MOBILE PHONE: Okay, okay. Stop. I get it. As a mobile phone, I have my limits. You can’t see, hear, smell or taste experiences you’d like to have with your daughter.

I couldn’t have said it better.

MOBILE PHONE: But each time your daughter contacts you, there’s something you can feel.

What’s that?

MOBILE PHONE: Her love.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2108