My Trampoline

Growing up we had a huge trampoline in my backyard. We had to get rid of it a few years ago, but when I was twelve I practically lived on that thing. My siblings and I were allowed very little screen time and were told constantly to go outside (we led a tough life) so the trampoline became our favorite hangout. It was in the shad, was large enough to fit four or five of us on it, and it bounced.

The summer I was twelve, I had a superpower: I could jump higher than anyone else. Sure, my brother could do a flip and my sister was the champion of popcorn, but I could jump higher than the shed roof. I was very proud of this. In fact, I distinctly remember challenging all of our neighbors and friends to contests to see who could jump the highest. I always won.

We didn’t only jump though. When it was 90F out, we would lie on it eating popsicles. We’d play hand games, we’d plan adventures, we’d talk and laugh and hang out.

My favorite part of the trampoline though, was reading on it. Like a mattress, the springs allowed it bend to your body and it was cool in shade. Hidden in the back of my yard, there was no better place to read. On that trampoline I read every single Harry Potter book multiple times, I reread and reread and reread The Secret Garden, I read about girls in boarding schools kissing princes, girls in different times and places, I read some of my first “grown-up” books on that trampoline-John Grisham books from my parent’s shelves, and countless other books.

When we had to get rid of the trampoline, I remember having trouble reading. No other place have ever felt so comfortable and years later after a long day I still miss reading there. The summer I was twelve was a good one.

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This post was inspired by day 11 of the Writing 101 Challenge.

 

How Important is Luck?

Almost everyday at the end of work I walk Arthur and Raymond down to either Arthur’s driver, or a taxi if only Raymond is in that day. They’re two wonderful people, Arthur and Raymond. At 91 and 86 respectively, they’ve both lived long successful lives. Being a 20 year old intern at the beginning of my professional career, it has been a fantastic experience hearing the stories of two men at the opposite end of their careers.

Exiting the law firm, we turn right towards High St. There Arthur’s driver, a neighbor who looks after and plays chess with him, or Raymond’s taxi waits. Both use walkers, but Arthur has to concentrate on walking to the car, even with the walker. We usually don’t talk; it is too much effort for him to hold a conversation while walking. In the elevator though, or when just Raymond is in and I walk him to the taxi, I hear fantastic stories and wonderful. Raymond graduated Harvard with Henry Kissinger, and was either in the first law class that had to take the  LSATs, or that last class that didn’t, I forget which. This last winter he spent three weeks in Florida, and another two in London. During the summer he takes long weekends at his summer house in Maine, and he lives in the permanent residence apartments of a five-star hotel in downtown Boston. He, and Arthur as well, is extremely privileged.

I don’t mean to say they haven’t worked hard for their success, because they have. Watching two men close to a hundred years old come into work almost every day and still represent clients, read cases, and do actual work has been an important lesson on work ethic for me. That doesn’t mean though, they are not privileged.

If I had taken a left towards Purchase St. when I came out of the law firm, I would have passed a homeless man who sells newspapers. Across the street is a women holding a sign asking for change. She is unemployed and trying to support her daughter. Outside the entrance to the T is another man begging, and outside South Station a man holds a sign that says, “Obama isn’t the only one who needs change.”

Walking around Boston I see even more people homeless or begging. I know none of their stories; I’m too scared to ask someone I don’t know their, let alone their story, and its especially hard to talk to someone whose begging because it forces you to recognize their humanity. Still, I find it difficult to believe all the homeless people in Boston are lazy, that all of their work ethics are so poor compared to Raymond or Arthur.

 

John Green and his brother Hank are national treasures, and if you haven’t watched them on YouTube, you should. Yesterday John posted a video discussing Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a book I would now love to read. In discussing the book, he specifically talks about luck, and he asks a discomforting question:

How do you make sense of a world where luck plays such a huge role in your triumphs and tragedies?

Is it more luck or hard work that separates Arthur and Raymond from the many homeless in the streets of Boston? If these two men had been born in a different time, place, gender, race or socio-economic status, would they have been able to accomplish all they have? If they man who sells newspapers had been born or grew up in different circumstances, would he now be sitting in the law firm, asking me to get books from the Social Law Library for him? Are our successes and failures, as Green suggests, more dependent on our luck? What do you think?

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This post was inspired by Day Seven of the Writing 101 Challenge: Focus today’s post on a contrast between two things.

People Watching

People are weirdest things on this planet. I know this for a fact; I people watch so am thus an expert on people. During my lunch hour I love to people watch at Dewey Square near where I work and come up with their stories.

Today four people-two girls and two boys-played boccie in grass. They’re young, I’d guess around twenty five, and in their first or second real-world jobs, probably in entry-level positions. They all work together in a company that is now longer a start-up but isn’t old either. You wouldn’t know that there are companies that do whatever their company does unless they told you. It’s likely innovative.

It was the boy in the tie’s idea to play boccie. He’s a people pleaser- youngest of three siblings- and a cheese. Everyone should like him, he’s too quirky not to love. The idea came up while getting drinks after work on Friday. This group developed a few months ago, and their used to each other’s company. Tie came up with boccie to in order to remain a novelty to people who are used to him, to continue to impress them.

He’s the ring leader I think, tie. At one point, before the group had developed, he and black-slacks  were friends, and red dress and pink cardigan were close. Tie thought red-dress was pretty so made an excuse for the four of them to hang out. By the time he found out red dress has a boyfriend (she definitely has a boyfriend) all four of them were having so much with their group that they continued to hang out.

Black slacks likes pink cardigan. He’s cute and shy about it, but I can’t tell what pink cardigan thinks of him. She’ll give him a chance I think, but she’s not sold on the idea of him. Red dress knows whats going on between her friends, but tie has no idea. He’s too aware of himself to aware of what’s going on around him.

As I head inside, they’re packing up. Maybe they’ll be back tomorrow, getting food from the food trucks and sitting in the same grass they played on today. Or maybe I’ll have to find new people to watch.

Que Sera Sera

My grandmother loves music. She often knows the hit songs better than anyone else, has the discography of every musical memorized, and on command can sing almost any current or former pop hit. Many of my best memories of her revolve around songs and singing. When I was little, I would dress up in costumes and the two of us would sing show tunes with the enthusiasm only a three year old can muster. Even now, when I visit her house the radio is always on, and the image of her doing the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper while singing to the radio is seared into my brain.

I remember a car-ride with her when I older. As we pulled out of her driveway an old pop song, one of her favorites as a child, came on the radio and she still knew every word. We listened to it once threw and then she turned off the radio and taught my siblings and I the entire song. For the entire ride home, about thirty minutes max, we sang this song until we had it memorized, and then we sang it some more.

At the time I was in middle school at the time  and just thought it was a pretty song. I soon forgot that ride; it blended in with so many other memories of my grandmother, until my senior year of high school. Worried about college acceptance, graduating and everything else the future entailed, that song contained a message I needed to hear.

 

Que Sera Sera

Whatever will be will be

The Future’s Not Ours to See

Que Sera Sera

Singing that song loudly with my grandmother, and then softly to myself years later, taught me to take life in stride, one step at a time. It is okay, preferrable even, not to have your entire life planed out to the tee. As I go through the twists and turns of life, this song has become my motto, helping me keep calm in times of uncertainty.

Thank you Gramma.

Dewey Square, Boston

A park in full use is a glorious thing. Full of people, young professionals on lunch, mothers with young children, couples on dates, a few artsy folks. Grass so green and soft, gardens bright and full, food trucks nearby, and a farmer’s market selling everything imaginable. The sun is warm, hugging me like a blanket, and the sky an endless teal blue. Cars go by on either side and looking around I see endless office buildings, one of which is mine, yet despite these reminders of real life, I take off my shoes and lie on my back, soaking in the sun. Others around me do the same, gossip with friends or read quietly. Here for the next hour reality is kept at bay. I don’t have a to-do list a mile long, I don’t have meaningless chores to do for others nor do I live under florescent lights. Instead I am young and time is endless. No worries.