Friday, October 16, 2009

Among the English

Ok, I promised recently that I would tell how I spent my time working through a migraine last week, but frankly, I was still in the midst of a migraine hangover when I made the promise, and I regret the promise. I was going to blow it off, but if you can't trust that I will keep my word, then what are we doing here anyhow?

The reason I was going to blow off the story of working through my migraine is because it wasn't really all that interesting. Just embarrassing. And, let's face it, I've given you enough embarrassing to last a life time.

But here goes.

If you'll recall, I was in the Valley last Monday for Tanner's doctor visit and the funeral of my friend's mom. Well, my migraine began to take hold during the funeral. I spoke to friends after the services were over, then had a few hours before the celebration of life at the family home that evening.

As I broke away from everyone, I knew I'd better act fast if I was going to head off a doozy of a headache. Also, I hadn't eaten yet that day. These two things provided a blessed convergence and required a wonderful thing of me: a trip to AJ's Fine Foods - my favorite gourmet market, which I have missed oh so much since my sojourn to the northland where my only grocery choices are Safeway (which is a lovely store for which I am grateful) or Circle K.

You should know that Adam and I love fancy and unusual foodstuffs, so we feel like we're on the mother ship when we browse through AJ's. (Well, actually, I've always felt Williams-Sonoma is the mother ship, so I suppose AJ's is the shuttle to the mother ship, if I have to perpetuate this silly little analogy.) When we lived in the Valley and had time together, we were delighted when we'd get to wander through AJ's and pick up quirky little nuggets to try. Only the two of us can truly understand Adam's joy when one of the gifts I gave him for some occasion or another was a bottle of fancy pearl onions. Actually, maybe Adam's the only one who truly understands his joy - I just can't get excited about tiny onions from a jar.


I went to AJ's last Monday and headed straight to the pharmacy, where I was able to find Excedrin Migraine, and then I walked with anticipation toward the salad bar. Oh, how I've missed AJ's salads. I piled on spinach, arugula, mixed greens, beets, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, artichoke hearts, cubed ham, goat cheese, marinated mushrooms, and peas - drizzling only scant dressing so as not to dim the flavors of all those colorful, crisp and yummy ingredients. I took my frosty beverage and overpriced salad outside to sit on the patio on a beautiful fall day, popped the Excedrin and settled in to savor the experience.

I registered a guy sitting at the table behind me as I munched away, listened to the birds chirping and enjoyed the familiar Scottsdale neighborhood as I waited for the pills to take effect. I stifled a laugh when an obviously "procedured" woman tottered past on her ridiculously high heels, chattering into her phone and I kid you not that I heard her saying, ", really, Tabby and Stephanie have both had it done and they say there are absolutely no side effects, so I was thinking we absolutely should have it. It's supposed to be a perfectly safe procedure. Do you want to do it with me?" It was like a bad line from a bad movie scene set on Rodeo Drive. And, in defense of all of my friends in and around Scottsdale, it was the first time I'd seen and heard such a stereotypical Scottsdale vignette in all my years in the Valley.

As I sat there enjoying my salad, I heard the chair scrape behind me and the guy who'd been sitting there threw away his trash, trotted over to his car then turned to me and said, "I LOVE this weather. I wait all year for days EXACTLY like this. Days like today are the only reason I bought this car," he said before he grinned and jumped into his silver convertible. (Yes, it was a Mercedes but I wasn't going to say it because I'm really not pulling the Scottsdale affluenza card. No, the intent of this post is to illuminate my own sad evolution...or is it devolution??)

So, happy convertible guy pulls away, I resume munching on my salad and think how much I, too, love this weather in the Valley, how nice it is to visit and enjoy this familiar favorite lunch, and hear the birds. And see the birds. Like this little bird hopping around my table and walking up and down the sidewalk. Squawking. Poor little bird - is he alone? He sure seems small compared to the ravens/crows I'm used to seeing in the Valley. Most of the crows/ravens (I knew the difference at some point but I can't remember) are much bigger. And, I don't believe I've heard that call before. Is that a distress call? Is this a baby crow/raven? Is it lost? Are you ok, little guy? Where are your friends? Did you lose your way? Are you ok?

"Hey, lit........."

Noooooooooooooo! Shhhhhhh! You can't talk out loud to the bird! You're in Scottsdale! You're among the English! You can't talk out loud. People will think you're crazy. Am I crazy? Am I a crazy bird lady? It never occurred to me to talk out loud to birds when I lived in the Valley. Why do I feel comfortable talking out loud to the chickens at home -- in fact why do all the books say I should talk out loud to the chickens at home?

Why do I feel ashamed and decidedly country when I talk out loud to the bird in Scottsdale? Have I completely lost my ability to move among civilized folk after only 2 years on our nearly 3 acres in a rural county?

No, no, I'm fine.

Why, just today, I had a pedicure and put on heels and restrictive undergarments. I'm wearing lipstick, I'm sipping from a clear plastic beverage container and my earrings are shiny and new. I have been able to use multiple syllable words and there are no screened cartoon characters on my shirt, and I'm eating arugula, for pity's sake. I'm fine. I'm just fine.

As long as I don't talk to the birds, out loud, I'm fine.

So, I tapped my heels and consulted my Blackberry as if I were a professional gal taking a late lunch. That's it, I'll just resume my role as Normal Woman Enjoying Lunch Al Fresco.

Surprisingly, my migraine didn't abate much during all of that intensive internal dialogue.

And that's how I spent my afternoon in the city.

The end.

Love from the farm where I can talk out loud,

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