{thanksful – 5: like no one is watching

“Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.” – Unknown

ALA 2010 020

Party with a big hatted cat.

One of the Glasgow-iest moments of our five years in Scotland occurred one morning in the University gym. Clyde 1, a popular radio station, was playing over the loudspeakers in the weight room, as we sweated away on Nautilus machines and free weights. I don’t even remember what song it was – something by Pink, probably – but abruptly everyone in the entire weight room was belting it out at the top of their lungs. It didn’t matter if they were any good, it didn’t matter if they were perfectly on pitch or not — it was a good song, yeah? And when it’s your jam, you sing. You dance.

I wanted to hug every single sweaty person in the room. I loved them all. I was raised to be pretty… serious. Not that my parents never laughed, but I think my perfectionist personality, together being corrected a lot, led me to try harder and harder to be conscious of how I looked, how I acted. The world, I was taught, was serious, and nearly everything had Eternal Consequences. Oddly joyless way to live, which is why you can imagine this un-self-conscious joy was so inviting. That’s just one of my favorite Glasgow memories.

Today is the combined birthday celebration for the Filipino kids next door, and I can hear the karaoke band playing – and the aunties and uncles belting out 80’s ballads like there’s no tomorrow. In an hour or so, a mob of kids is going to come over with massive plates of spaghetti and hotdogs, loads of pancit, and wedges of cake. We’re going to wish them happy, as we do every year, and they’re going to giddily go reeling back for more music and sugar. I’m so grateful that in this mad and occasionally bad world, there are little pockets of joy, where people are raised believing it’s just dandy to dance and sing like the grasshopper in the fable… time enough to be serious ants tomorrow.

3 Replies to “{thanksful – 5: like no one is watching”

  1. Had a meme once that said:

    “Dance like you have health insurance.
    Love like you have a right to privacy, and
    Work like your tax money won’t be spent on war and corporate welfare.”

    Not quite the same ring! Hope you enjoyed the joy and the treats.

  2. Yes! Love your Glasgow memory and imagining all the people next door singing at the top of their lungs. My family would never do that, so I really appreciate its singular remarkableness. It’s a lucky day when we chance upon an unrestrained pocket of joy; all the more reason to cherish.

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