Sunday in the Park |

Sunday in the Park

First it was my car keys. They just disappeared. I have been driving with my spare for a week now. My reading glasses, my favorite ones, that fit just right, walked off about the same time. And no, I can’t just go to the drug store and buy another pair. These are a heavy prescription for my confused eyes that love to read. A wear-them-all-time pair of earrings followed. Then the kitchen scissors that cut up herbs and the stems off flowers and artichokes. Snippy things are playing hide and seek.

So I started searching and trying to find a pattern and wondering about the noise that might have been on my roof or maybe in my walls. It was possibly a mouse or a squirrel or even a bird but it sounded like an elephant moving furniture — really, really, BIG furniture. My fridge isn’t that large and yet somehow I lost a piece of smoked salmon. And I love smoked salmon.

So I came to the reasonable conclusion that someone has been messing with me. I live alone, so this complicates/narrows down, the list of suspects.

There were bills to pay, due about now. I had opened them upon their arrival and put them, well, everywhere. In my purse one day, in a briefcase, on the counter, in a folder. But now, when I know it is time to pay them or lose the privilege of the phone and the lights and the gas and the water, well, I’ve tried clapping my hands and commanding them to come, come to my desk, or at least the couch, but they refuse.

The navy blue sweater, the one with the saggy pockets that takes long walks with me here and on most vacations, well, I found that, actually. On a shelf with a great T-shirt I bought on an island a long time ago that still makes me laugh. My laugh, yes, I lost that, too. And my shower/inside-my-car voice. The one with perfect pitch to my ears. Soulful and with a range of octaves that makes natural sopranos and tenors weep.

I thought I’d lost my little camera the digital one that takes such remarkably good photos but it was in the bottom of a bag. I found it when I was searching for a lost bill. Or was it my reading glasses? I found a stack of Cds, unopened. In my business, I often am sent music to listen to, which is kinda fun. But for months there has been no uninterrupted time to listen. Ditto the books I was sent to read. And the magazines.

In the trunk of my car where I was looking for lost mail and earrings and even my glasses, I found my trusty, weathered road atlas. It was opened to a page marking a road trip I had taken more than two years ago. Ah, the talisman. The thing that made sense of everything else and marked carefully where I should be: Away from here.

You know that epiphany. You deny all the signs. You tell yourself taking time off is difficult. You are such a busy, busy, busy person. Busier, really, than anyone else you know. You envy those folks who take off often but really, they have easier jobs, or families, or higher credit limits on their cards. You travel for business. Every minute counts. Your cell phone and laptop are at the ever ready. If someone has fit six appointments in a day, you know you can do seven.

But then you start to notice how watching bad television reduces you to more than gentle tears. Sobs come. Sniffling becomes honking wipe-your-nose-with-your-sleeve kinda stuff. You drop a favorite glass in the kitchen and it doesn’t bounce. It shatters. The garbage man drags your container down a house and leaves it there for you to fetch, when you return home, late in the day.

The pile of books in the bedroom you keep dusting seems to mock you. Ha! And Ha! again. "We have stories to tell," they tease. "Romance and intrigue and history and mystery. You should see. You should hear." You curse again, about not finding your favorite reading glasses. And you wonder about the jackets you prematurely put away in the garage. Could they be in a pocket there? And in the garage, you nearly trip over the cooler, next to the luggage. The universe is screaming so loudly, you finally cock your head, like the old dog on the phonograph ads. And you get it. All those old clichés start singing in your ears. "To find yourself, you must lose yourself." It’s not about the destination but the journey." "I’m running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load "

It is long, long, long past time, for a road trip.

Because while I love this time of year in Park City when the yard furniture sprouts like Johnny jump-ups and the birds are so busy dining they forget I am sitting right underneath them and Main Street has skateboarders weaving a slalom path down the near deserted street they have created in their minds and the sun takes a long time to take its leave from the sky, leaving behind a wash of colors not seen in months. While all that is grand, when you are cranky and wound up and not on top of the simplest tasks and treasures, well, for me there is just one time-tested solution. Hit the road.

So I’ve made plans and soon I will grab those CDs and books and the smoked salmon, if I can find it, and will spend about the same amount on gas as checking in a couple of bags in today’s airport, and I’ll drive off, not into the sunset but the break of day. And when I return, I will, no doubt, find the glasses and car keys and earrings, in plain sight. That and my sanity. And then, I will be fully ready for a summer of Sundays in the Park


Teri Orr is the director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Center for the Performing Arts and the Big Stars Bright Nights Summer Concert Series at Deer Valley. Orr is also a former editor of The Park Record.

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