Downhill From Here

Today started out really well. I was on my way to an early musical rehearsal and actually had enough time to stop at 7-11 for a cup of their Kona coffee, which has become my new favorite blend in the last month. (I know, it's only 7-11, but hey, it's really good!) To my delight, my lovely little coffee punch card was full, so not only was it steaming hot and delightfully fresh, it was FREE! Lo and behold, I still had enough time to whisk through the car wash on the corner and scrub that last leftover salt off my poor black car. Wonder of wonders, my car wash punch card was also full, and that too was FREE!

Now, I usually don't get all excited about feebies like that, but even I have to think two in a row must be a good omen. However, not to be. As soon as I got to school, things began to go seriously awry. My friend Pat tossed her bag on the desk with a big sigh, rolled her eyes at me, and said, "I am so down today." Well, Pat is the eternal optimist - she's the kind of teacher who can find the best in even the hardest hearted child, the rainbow at the end of every storm, the silver lining in every cloud. When she actually says she's down, I begin to look for shelter from lightning bolts.

Seems her mood on this sunny Saturday morning was related to some rather disparaging comments from our judges at choral competition the previous date, comments the like of which she had never received in her 20 years of choral teaching. Added to it was that one of her favorite students had performed poorly on her college auditon, a friend whose son had recently commited suicide had left six very urgent messages for her during the past 24 hours, and her driver's license was suspended because she neglected to pay the late fee on her traffic ticket. I guess I really can't blame her for being depressed.

Rehearsal didn't go as planned for either of us, and I ended up hacking my way through some dance numbers that I wasn't at all prepared to play. I always hate playing for dances anyway, since I can't see or hear what they're doing and always feel this awful sense of disconnect.

I was grateful to be heading out the door, when the cheeful chirp of my mobile phone tells me Jim is calling. "Hey honey," he said. "Would you mind running over to mom's place? They just called me and said she can't find her purse and is really upset."

Marvelous. A demented (and that's a medical diagnosis, not my assessment of her personality) old lady who has lost her purse. With heavy heart, I drive across the road to the assisted living facility where's my mother in law now lives. Of course, she couldn't remember where she had been two seconds before I got there, so the chances of her recalling where she had left the battered old brown purse she carried incessantly were slim and none.

After about two hours of looking, talking to other old ladies (demented and otherwise) and one old man who always hits on me every time I go in there (at least I still appeal to the geriatric set), I decided I might as well go home.

During the drive home, I worked very hard to psyche myself back into the optimistic mood I had enjoyed during my earlier commute. It seemed to me that my days so often deteriorated just like this, and I was finding it harder and harder to justify remaining upbeat. After all, if even Pat could be depressed, how much more difficult for me, prone as I am to moroseness.

I think it was the sunshine that did it - that and the exuberant greeting my puppies gave me when I walked through the door. Sunshine in March - how can you fail to find hope in that? As I buckled on collars and leashes to enjoy a walk in the park, I was certain I caught the scent of hyacinth somewhere in bloom. So I managed a smile and a spring in my step as we set off into the almost warm air.

No matter that within five minutes Magic found a lovely burr patch and managed to get at least a dozen of the prickly things caught in his paws.