I fell in love for a moment last night. At the county fair. I noticed him right as we walked up to the bumper cars. He stood tall with blonde, tousled hair that perfectly complemented his tan, taunt skin, and blue eyes that equally supported his sun-kissed vibe. When he glanced my way, they looked kind. His eyes. I’m sucker for kind eyes. I believe they reflect a kind soul. And I like kind souls. He let my daughter on the ride even though she was shy of the height requirement. I watched him as he kindly ushered our kids into a working car. The flashy silver one. The one my daughter most certainly would have chosen had her very boy friend not initially led her to the blue one. And then he walked over in our direction. Holding a red and a blue laminated card he asked, “which one is bigger?” The blue one we said. Most certainly the blue.
I love a good county fair. Always have. I’m not sure what I love more. The fact that you can eat the most delicious, oil-laden foods without worry of calories or toxins. Or that you can watch some of the world’s most interesting people (I’m practicing my kindness). The neighbors that you’ve never met. The ones with outrageous outfits. Hair styles that don’t quite make sense. Skin. Lots of skin. And tattoos. Good ones. Bad ones. All the tattoos. Then there are the animals. Sweet babes with their smells and sounds and slobber. I think I like that part the best. Reminds me of all the time I spent in a barn as an adolescent. And I do believe that one of the greatest scents on earth is that of a barn. I mean it. Judge me all you want.
Then there are the cowboy hats. And if there’s anything I’m more of a sucker for, it’s a cowboy hat. They take center stage. Walking down the midway. Standing at the Florida Ranchers booth in the exhibits. Sippin’ on sweet tea at the Greatest Southern Tea concession. Emceeing the tug-of-war contest in the arena. Standing in a pen of cattle at the agricultural center. I believe in cowboy hats. And I believe in sunsets. So you could say I fall in love at the county fair a lot. I just haven’t found the right hat yet.
But last night. Mr. Bumper Cars. He made me stop thinking about cowboy hats. And sweet tea. And cattle. Instead, he got me thinking about which card was bigger – the red one or the blue? And he confused me a little. Actually a lot. Because when the blue card was on the left, it was huge. But then he’d switch. He’d put the blue card in his left hand. And the red card grew. I mean, it had to grow. Because the blue one was clearly larger just seconds ago. And now, it shrank in comparison to the red. I begged him to do it again. The same result. Rinse and repeat. He started talking about geometry or physics. And that’s where he lost me. I got D in geometry and I certainly was never smart enough for physics. I chuckled. I pretended I got it. But I’m a terrible liar.
As he walked away, I stood there a little stunned. He must have seen it on my face when he looked back. “A preacher gave this to me,” he called out. And there it was. Waiting for me. Standing right there holding the controls of the bumper cars. My cue to listen. And so I did. And then it occurred to me. “Perspective!” I yelled. He nodded his head. I think he winked. Definitely grinned. “Perspective,” I said again. And again and again. Perspective. Because that’s what it’s all about. Perspective. Whichever card is on the left is going to look larger. No matter they’re the same size. Or that I don’t know shit about geometry. It’s perspective.
And then I thought about my girl for a moment. The one who, no more than an hour ago, had surprised me (and herself) by going on the Dragon Express coaster. The one whom I’d given perspective. The one whom I’d told the ride was no higher than the flying banana she’d just disembarked for the second time in the kid’s area. The one whom I had totally lied. The one whom, with just a few words, I was able to shift a perspective of fear to one of bravery. And she loved it. Wanted to ride it again. Even if her mother lied to her about it. Perspective.
We all have that choice everyday. Red or blue? Which one is bigger? You get to decide. It’s like my jaw. I could be furious as hell with God. Pissed at the world. Feeling sorry for myself that I have to spend my 40th birthday looking all jacked up like a teenager in a headgear. That’s not to say I haven’t felt that way. I have. In between dramatic wails of tears in the shower and panic attacks on the phone with my mom. But when I started to listen, I changed my perspective. Viewing this unfortunate dead joint as a gift has really been…well, that. A gift. I’m like double dipping in gifts over here. It’s an opportunity. A door. A reason to alter my life in a positive direction. A means to slow down and look around. Perspective. I know y’all must think I’m crazy. And you’re right. I am crazy. Bat shit. But when I start thinking about this surgery and misery and discomfort that I’m about to embark upon, I get excited. Thrilled! And it really is all about perspective. Which one is bigger? The perspective of fear. Or the perspective of bravery. No matter what side the blue card is on, it’s always the same size as red. It always will be. So I stand firm in my choice. Today I choose blue. I choose bravery. Thank you, Mr. Bumper Cars.
Now where I can find the nearest cowboy hat…