I am going to start this post by sharing something that I was thinking about today - and ending it with a question, to you. It is for research in my writing, although I can't really tell you how it will weave into the fabric, because I don't yet know.
Travis was off of work today because the alternator went out on his truck. We went early this morning to try and find a shop where they could test the old one just to be sure that was the problem, and then to a junk yard to buy a new.to.us one. On one of our stops along the way, I stood just outside of the bay where a few greasy fingered mechanics were working, pulling rags out of their back pockets and wiping sweat off of their brows to keep it out of their eyes. The raw smell, a mix of axle grease, motor oil, and heat makes something deep in my stomach get a gnawing feeling. I was standing there wondering at their lives, the day after day of it all, when I was taken off guard by a woman in her late 20s, stringy hair pulled up underneath a baseball cap, and teeth that looked as if they must hurt for all the dark stains. She came around the corner abruptly and thrust her thin hand in mine, saying, "Hi, I'm Kim." There was nothing to do but reciprocate the introduction, and I was, before it even occurred to me to do so. As my husband talked to the mechanics, Kim told me that she wasn't a mechanic, but did maintenance work - putting tools away, maintaining the flower beds and other simple but steady and necessary tasks. She proceeded to tell me that they were open from 8 to 6, Monday through Friday and on Saturdays they were opened from 8 to 12. She said she was "priveleged". I carried that with me as I walked off.
Later we found ourselves in the offices at several salvage yards, trying to procure the right sized alternator for Travis truck. The first one was so full of smoke, I had to excuse myself and six hours later am still fighting a lingering headache from the 30 seconds of secondhand exposure. I stayed in the van at the last stop, where they found the right sized alternator stored in the bathroom. (I don't even want to know.)
All of these interactions today had me thinking about some of the people I've met that are born and raised, live and die in the same spot, and from the perspective of an outsider never seem to want for more. They are happy. If you talk with them, they say things that unhinge you, such as that they feel priveleged. I have these two opposing fears that are at work within me. One is that I will be lulled into the steady rhythm of this contented life that seems to work so well for them, but to me seems more like being stuck. The other is that I never would - and miss out on knowing what that feels like - the wanting nothing else but right here, right now.
So goes my question to you - what is your biggest fear for your life. I am not talking about something that scares you like bad weather or flying in an airplane or bad weather while flying in an airplane - but what at the end of your life you would regret most having never done, or missed out on, or participated in, or seen. I have a friend who I promised to take to see whales swimming should she ever be diagnosed with an incurable illness - but knowing her I am sure that she has moved on to something else by now and while that likely remains on the list, we'll have to reevaluate it should that time comes when one of us reaches the end of our natural lives. Please don't answer to impress me or anyone else who may stumble upon this humble blog of mine - just be real.