Needed

Somewhere deep down, we all want to feel needed here, beyond Can you count these paper clips? Way beyond Turn in your time sheets. So far beyond Pay your doctors’ bill or It’s time for your colonoscopy.

Today, I’m mostly wondering why we pick some people as distinguished visitors, and others as just the regular type of visitors, or worse, the unwanted visitors. Why do we set up special lounges for the distinguished that has fancier furniture, like the kind that’s made for sitting and not aching?

And why on earth are we obsessed with how Meghan Markle is adjusting to her new royal life?

Instead, let’s pay attention to the new sign that popped up at the end of my street, where the new fire station finally finished building itself brick by brick. They saw it, too, the two elderly couples who stroll down my sidewalk every morning, before the sun gets unbearable, with their hands behind their backs, resting on their hips as they shuffle. They craned their necks up like they were gawking at a giraffe at the zoo.

Yes, it’s true, giraffe gawkers. And it’s more mysterious than the blue tongue. It does appear that we will all now drive or walk or run past a large billboard that will scream the ever-increasing tally of opioid deaths for this year. It’s an epidemic indeed.

I wish I could shake us out of believing that we are lemons. No, we were all programmed with a purpose—it’s not reserved for the distinguished or the royal or the giraffes or the giraffe gawkers.

You see, my parents bought a lemon Subaru. On the outside, it appears to be just fine. In great condition, really, and a lovely shade of blue. Subarus, such sturdy and reliable vehicles, they all say at first glance.

Here’s the truth: that thing is a running disaster. They’ve essentially had to rebuild or rewire or replace everything, leaving only the outside shade of blue. At some point in the near future, I fully expect Subaru to say, I am just a lemon. Take me to the dump.

It’s nice how cars can do that, self-declare that someone created them completely flawed and useless, wired and built wrong, inexplicably, no matter how hard we analyze. They get to give up, become parts that we reuse or study to try to understand what went wrong.

We, on the other hand, have a much harder road. We have to rebuild our engines, our motors, our processing systems, and our gas tanks. And then do it again and again. And again, I’m afraid.

We have to, we have to, we have to.

We have to crawl out of our lemon holes and recognize that we are needed at daily dinner tables and annual birthday parties.  We have places to go, people to see. Loved ones who need us to show up on time, or 7 minutes late at my preferred arrival. We have repair appointments to make and to keep.

Me? Today? I have a tired and confused gas gauge. I spend a small fortune, tell it it’s full, but it tells me I’m empty. And then, I look up again, and it tells me I’m full. Doesn’t it know I’m trying to cut back on caffeine? I don’t need one more thing to send a headache.

It’s the again and again and again (daily, I’m afraid) of the ordinary that sends us into counting paperclips and avoiding colonoscopies.

So we wait for someone or something to show up, a surprise delivery with a reminder that we deserve a full tank, that someone really does see us spending all that we have for a job well done. That we are needed here as wanted and distinguished visitors in this good place.

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