This picture was taken a few years ago, in a diner I had retreated to for lunch after a particularly morose morning steaming and ironing clothes for a client. I saw my circumstances as pretty tough, at the time. I knew I was depressed, working with people who really didn’t like me, crying at almost every thought that crossed my mind. Some days, I grasped for relief by hiding in the back stairwell, and trying the mindfulness exercises I was practicing at home. On this bright late winter day, though, I just had to get the hell out of there. Any stool at any diner counter feels like home to me, that’s how deeply that posture ingrained itself in my Chicago-girl bones.
I was wondering why I chose this picture today. I have newer ones I could post – more soulful, mysterious images (though it is hard to improve on the visual pun of clocks and chickens coming home to roost). Regrets are on my mind lately – possibly the greatest waster of time there is. I keep imagining the decisions I should have made around the time I took this picture, hiding out in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Things are certainly as tough now as they were then. I had forgotten, though, how much every single day hurt back then. And how much I lived in my overwhelming need to know what I had done wrong.
Since the day I ate a mediocre burger surrounded by an infintely repeating brood of Barred Rock hens, I have made even more mistakes. In fact, I have misjudged almost every important financial and professional decision I could have. But the harder part for me, by far, is to remain open to the memories of pleasure and beauty that have travelled with me since that time. A journey which, thanks to this photo, I can measure by the minute.
I’m working on it.