Monday, January 3, 2011

Mi corazón consiguió una nueva actitud

Last summer was a swirling mass of insanity. There was a period during which I didn't know whether I was coming or going, and I was very isolated. I went to the beach one day with a woman I was meeting for the first time, named Sandi. It took a some convincing, as I didn't want to leave the house. On the walk there, she was talking about how she had been "seeing hearts everywhere." I looked at her out of the corner of my eye and thought, "That sounds like a personal problem. I bet they have a medication for that."
She busted out her iPhone and started showing me a bunch of pictures that she had taken. She had cracked an egg into a pan and it formed into a heart. She cut a cucumber and the center was heart shaped. She looked up at the sky and saw a heart shaped cloud. I said, "Hm," very non-committally, thinking that must be some combination of cognitive bias and availability heuristic, but trying not to blatantly be an asshole about something she was so obviously excited about.
When we got to the water's edge, she mentioned how she and her daughter like to look for heart shaped rocks. I closed my eyes and rolled them, which made my eyelids flutter, and I wondered if we were going to talk about this all day. It was a heartbreakingly beautiful day, but I was hot and sticky because I refused to wear short sleeves or shorts, and it was at least 90 degrees. I was lagging behind her, trying to manage my flip flops with my jello-y I-never-move-unless-I-have-to-anymore legs in the wet sand with my pant legs and hoodie sleeves sticking to me, sweat started beading on my forehead, and I squinted into the sunlight. Her voice had faded into the background when I got all caught up in how much I would rather be grousing about by myself in the cool dark of a quiet room, with a book. Of course, if I was there, I would be thinking about how much I would rather be elsewhere. Anywhere else. The real problem was that everywhere I went to get away from everyone, I was still there. For whatever reason, I happened to look down to my left, and in one smooth motion, completely contrary to everything I was thinking, feeling, and had been doing all morning, I saw something, stopped, bent, grasped it, stood back up and said, "Oh- Here's one."

I tried to hand Sandi the smooth, gray, perfectly heart shaped rock I had happened upon. She turned and smiled her big bright smile at me. "No, that's yours. You keep it." She is one of those people that has a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm that is so genuine and unobtrusive that it is incredibly difficult to be irritated by, even if you are in a completely terrible mood. I thought it was weird that I saw one of these things, especially when I thought the whole concept was kind of stupid and I wasn't even looking, and to find one that was so perfectly heart shaped? I was sure that Sandi simply had a good imagination and that she was seeing what she wanted to see with this stuff, and while that struck me as odd, I just kind of shrugged it off.
Then I found another one about three feet ahead. Then another, and another...I think I found ten in a half an hour. I was trying to ignore them at first, and then I got into it and started looking.

At this time I also had terrible tremors. I could not hold my hands still to save my life; I could barely write my name. We were walking along and talking for a while, and at some point, she walked a bit ahead, and I was standing up to my calves in the water with my sleeves pushed up (these details are kind of a big deal...I never showed any of my skin except my face, hands, and feet at this point), looking at the way the sunlight glinted off of a few different colored rocks in my hands, and feeling the warmth on my skin. I reached up with a damp hand and felt my sun heated hair and closed my eyes. The wind started gliding past me in soft swoops, and little waves started forming around me. This incredibly peaceful feeling came over me. There were four heart shaped rocks in what I had just picked up. I put them in my pockets, and, as an experiment, put my arms out in front of me. No tremors. They were still.

I just kept finding more and more of them. It became a weird game.

When we left, we went to find somewhere to eat. We got lost, drove around in circles, and passed a place called Love Always Cafe, and Love's Diner. We looked at each other quizzically. We drove around for a long time, talking and looking for a mexican restaurant. Our respective indecisiveness hadn't gotten us very far, but it didn't hurt the conversation at all. When we eventually got there, we had some table side mariachi entertainment. I looked at one of the guy's guitars, and then looked at Sandi. "Look at his guitar." There was a big fat heart by the pickguard. I told him I liked it.

When we got back to the house, we laid them out and counted. Cognitive bias? I don't know... You be the judge. They sure look an awful lot like hearts to me, and I definitely ended the day with a different attitude than I started it with.
There were over 70. This isn't even all of them.


  1. I have read this post twice now. OK that's bullshit. I've actually read it three times but I was trying to play it down. Truth is that I love reading this story. Dropping your guard and just giving into this moment. Suspending your urge to rationalise it to death. Awesome. But I must warn you. If you keep using terms like "cognitive bias and availability heuristic" then I'm likely to develop an intelectual crush on you. At the risk of becoming an enabler I will leave you with "Cognitive Dissonance". Oh yeah. It's getting hot up in here now.