"If someone had told me 15 years ago that one warm summer night I'd be walking the dark roads of Houston for exercise while being vastly entertained by a gay man, I would have laughed long and hard," I told my longtime friend from Alabama as I drove home around 10 p.m. last night.
She agreed as we both laughed long and hard. But we weren't laughing at the oddity of the situation as we would have back in the days I lived in that also-warm-state. We laughed because these days, it seems perfectly normal.
Funny how "normal" changes with the years and the accumulation of experiences. Once that particular state of being meant being a married, church-going, 9 to 5 plus editing on the weekends kind of woman. Yesterday my current boss chuckled at the mere thought of me conforming to that role. "You just seem so irreverant for all that," she added shaking her head in disbelief.
But I was irreverant even then. I distinctly remember discussing several movies around the break table at the religious publishing house where I worked and one of my co-workers practically chastised me for watching "all that garbage" and asked why I would. I told her with no hesitation. "Because people like you always ask people like me about stuff like this. And I'm not going to take anyone else's opinion for what I should and should not like."
Guess I'm still living by that philosophy. I'm here to experience life. Sometimes that puts me in the shadows of the Texas Medical Center powerwalking in the dark. Sometimes that means I spend a Sunday afternoon dressed as a clown, face painting on a 100-ft party boat rented out for families who have survived cancer (as I did this past weekend). Sometimes I get to enjoy sitting across the table from a friend who enjoys my passion for sushi and substantive conversation. And sometimes it means carrying out a work-related task with one phone on one ear, my cell on the other and my boss in front of me as we as a staff laughingly wrestle with what should go in an email newsletter.
But always, I marvel. I marvel at the fact that I get to do this. I marvel that I am blessed with the kind of friends who will meet me at the last minute for supper, walk with me because it's time I got some exercise even if I don't seem to have time to do it, and laugh with me at where the road has already and will take me.