In many ways I live a normal, rather humdrum life. Humdrum, an adjective, is lacking excitement or variety; dull; monotonous: Never have I seen so many synonyms: mundane, dull, dreary, boring, tedious, monotonous, banal, ho-hum, tiresome, wearisome, prosaic, unexciting, uninteresting, uneventful, unvarying, unvaried, unremarkable, repetitive, repetitious, routine, ordinary, everyday, day-to-day, quotidian, run-of-the-mill, commonplace, common, workaday, usual, pedestrian, customary, regular, normal; garden variety; typical, vanilla, plain vanilla;. Antonyms are remarkable; exciting.
Friday morning I awoke in my rather unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, commonplace apartment, just before sunrise. As is regular and customary I pray. Then had a usual breakfast of bagel, lox and cream cheese. At approximate 8 am climbed into my leased car and drove on the back streets, to Marin Jewish Community Center, my bathing suit under my rather pedestrian clothes. I did manage to insert my card properly so it was scanned (for the first time). Took the elevators to the pool area, put my stuff in a locker and went to the pool, the class had just begum I hopped, jumped up and down following the directions of a very fine instructor. After the class was over, joined others from the class in the jacuzzi, speaking to an 86 year old woman whose name was Mary. This is about to become remarkable. We exchanged pleasantries. I said I was born in Canada.
She: Where in Canada?
Me: In Saskatchewan of all places.
She: I was born in Saskatchewan as well.
Me: Are you serious??? How can that be?
She: It is very unusual for the two of us to meet here in San Rafael at the Jewish Community Center.
Me: You are right about that!!! I was born in the capital city and my parents were going to name me after it – Regina that rhymes with Vagina.
She: I was born in a small town – Dysart, a small town near Regina.
Me: Somehow I know Dysart but I am not sure how or why.
We spoke of primitive conditions there. She is the youngest in her family – her father was a teacher. They lived in simple homes often with no conveniences.
Me: I lived with my grandparents in Pennant, a very small town near Swift Current. No indoor plumbing – just an outhouse.
Our stories went on and on and on. She came back to live in San Francisco, all by herself, when she was 22. How brave!! She met a 36 year old man and married him after a fairly long courtship. She was not formally educated but made a good living learning to type on a precursor to the computer. The couple had children, her husband lived a long and happy life but, at this moment, she is a widow. I came to San Francisco when I was 24 but came equipped with a husband and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta. We talked about the good old days in San Francisco. We were so happy to meet one another, she lives near the JCC and walks to class. I, of course, drive my Lexus from Corte Maders. So I made a new friend, both of us come three times a week to water aerobics and will in ordinary fashion jump up and down to music. So it is commonplace to speak to a woman in the jacuzzi after class – but she was born in Saskatchewan. (And so was I)
I drove my Lexus to The Village as I was meeting a woman for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. She and I had met at another restaurant a couple of months ago. She does not have a cell phone, nor a computer – she was waiting a decent amount of time after my knee replacement scheduled surgery to reach out to me. Gentle readers will know that the surgery did not take place. She did not know this because no cell phone (so no Instagram), no computer,(so did not read the blog). She is an absolutely amazing woman – not born in Saskatchewan but in Mississippi. She is retired, was an educator. She is SO smart and we have so much in common. She tries out different lifestyles, lives in different places but when they do not work out, she moves on She admitted that she picked me out to befriend for a specific reason, which, later at my apartment, she told of her dilemma and knew I would be the person to help her. I AM, I am made for that role as I know Marin, like the back and front of my hand, and have connections and knowledge. She wants to live in a retirement community in this county. So I used my computer to see the alternatives, recommended Aldersley House, called to make an appointment (but the marketing person had gone for the day), but left a message to have her call me on Tuesday (as this is Labor Day weekend). So on Tuesday GG and I will meet for lunch in San Rafael and we will go from there. I am so honored to be able to help. GG is her nickname – her first name begins with G, the preface is Great. Perhaps she will get another G as time goes on. We decided that we will be friends for life. In many ways we are opposite as in black and white. She is black, I am white. I spoke of the shock and horror I felt being discriminated against because I was a Muslim.
She: I have faced that all of my life.
Me: I know that you must have. And you did not choose to be black, I chose to be a Muslim – not really thinking it would cause any problems. I got that wrong!
I took her on a tour of the facilities here and introduced her as my new friend. I do not think that there are any black people living here, if so I have not seen them.
For some reason I am not prejudiced toward any race or creed. When a long term guest at the Trump international Hotel and Tower, a Philippine woman working as a maid (although educated as a teacher) said to me.
She: You are one of the most unprejudiced people I have ever seen.
Me: Well that is true but how do you know?
She: You treat everyone the same. Me, everyone the same, even Joe Kim Tiah, the multibillionaire that owns this hotel.
Me: You all are hardworking and deserve respect! I was hardworking all my life, now I am retired, living on retirement income that I earned. I did not have an easy life and was born into poverty. Joo Kim Tiah likes me because I treat him like an ordinary person and do not care for his money. First time we had lunch I paid. People said that he would never let me pay but he did. (He paid the second time), that is what friends do.
So I made two new women friends in one day, older women just like me. Now that is a routine, common place thing to do. But it was not – it was, for many reasons, remarkable and exciting.
This long weekend has proven rather eventful. I was totally housebound on Saturday, scarcely even looked out the window. Went to the nearby Safeway on Sunday to go grocery shopping, how is that for workaday, vanilla and plain. A young man and a young woman spoke from the pool.
They: Do you remember us?
Me: Of course I do but haven’t seen you for awhile.
So I put on my bathing suit. Max (12) is SO funny. His sister Sky (13) is very proficient on Instagram and we made a video which will be posted today on Instagram. She interviews Max and me. It is hilariously funny! I just hope they show up. They said they would, sometimes you just have to trust, to put your faith in Allah and everything will turn out all right.
Who will watch the video, made possible by Sky’s TikTok abilities? Some members of Royalty (honest).
Actually something strange did happen at the Corte Madera Safeway. Just as I was walking out a young handsome man was walking in – wearing an Air Emeritus shirt. I was rather shocked.
Me: Wow! Look at your shirt! I flew Air Emeritus, truly I did, to London but was routed through Dubai and stayed there a week or so in January of 2020.
The shirt itself probably rather commonplace, I guess. But it brought up all sorts of memories and not just memories – perhaps something from the future??? I had forgotten about it until I saw a post on Instagram – the team, its morale and team spirit. The forgotten moment emerged.
Made myself a fantastic breakfast – scrambled eggs with onions and lox. Should have taken a picture of it. Instead a photo of one of Ikebana flower arrangements. I suppose that not tiresome, taking lessons for twenty years. It is actually rather remarkable.