Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Boosts for the Body and for the Mind
Today I sat reading work-related emails, the kind that disappoint, emails that indicated material I need will not necessarily arrive when I need it. Annoyed, I ran out the door on a whim to catch two buses to see “The Social Network,” a fictionialized tale about the founder(s) of Facebook.
Why not? I’m on Facebook. More importantly, Aaron Sorkin wrote the movie, and I am eternally loyal to the man who brought us “The West Wing” and “Sports Night.” Even “Studio 60,” for a while.
True story: Aaron Sorkin once sent me a blue paper clip through an intermediary, probably because though the window of opportunity was long past, he learned I was still whining that he had never licensed “West Wing” bobbleheads. That was one of the finest ideas I’ve ever had – imagine a bobblehead Leo, a Toby, a C.J. Imagine a bobblehead Josh! (And yes, I am a fan of “The Good Guys,” though I hear there are not many of us.)
Anyway, the movie was vintage Sorkin in style and quite a story, besides. I was surprised to discover that he also is in the movie. When you go, watch for his cameo role.
The movie was fun, and here is what I learned on the bus: “Pick your battles. You will never win if you fight every fight.” No actual battle was taking place at the time. The bus driver was simply was sharing his wisdom with a passenger who was agreeing completely. I also enjoyed watching a one-year-old display his entire repertory of adorable facial expressions. Those of us seated across from him were all mimicking the baby’s expressions. Soon, half the people on the bus were laughing – either with us or at us.
Getting away today also took my mind off fretting about impending dental care (and the high cost for that) and the dreaded annual mammogram, which is coming up soon. Last year, that test did not go well. I have no reason to believe that this year will be anything but fine. But I am more on edge than usual about it. How on edge? Yesterday, the checker at the grocery asked if I wanted to make a contribution to breast cancer. I replied, “I have already donated my left breast.” Together, we packed my grocery bags in silence.
Thank goodness some good things have happened, as well. On Monday I went to the eye doctor for that annual exam. After the various tests, the doctor announced, “Your vision has improved.” I was shocked. A body part that chose to improve? Get better, all on its own with no huffing and puffing at the gym or restricting chocolate required on my part? I questioned the test results, but she insisted. “You are less near-sighted than you were at your last exam and even the one before that,” said the doctor.
Another boost, this one for the mind, arrived in an email not long ago. The note was from a woman who had “shadowed” me at work in the newsroom one day when she was in high school. Here is part of what she wrote: “I have to say that day changed my life, in more than one way. Driving to see you was the very first time I'd ever drove downtown, I'd never been inside of an office building and was just in awe of the whole thing. And there you were, animated as all get out, confidently churning out story after story, calling people and writing everything up like it was magic and you were the master magician.”
She continues, “I realized that I had met someone amazing and had seen an alternate glimpse of what my life could look like.” In college, the young woman found herself changing. “I remembered you being so bold and how it didn't even occur to you not to do something you wanted to. I wanted to be like that too. I evolved.” The young woman then described some of the paths she has taken.
Today, she makes a point of telling people that she is awesome. “I do think that's true, and I really think a lot of it is because from that small bit of time I spent with you back in St. Louis,” she writes. “Thank you for being an inspiration to me.”
I wrote back to say that she is awesome, and that she had more to do with it than I did. Still, how lovely that she took time to write. Hearing “thanks” is always appreciated, right?