Build me up, Buttercup

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There’s a game I play on summery Saturdays, called “breakfast.” It’s where I race early to the farmer’s markets, pick up the ingredients for the morning meal, then cook, consume and clean everything up by 10.

It’s a challenge because most of the markets don’t open until 8:30, so the only way it really works is if I forsake my beloved Portland and Beaverton farmers’ markets for the little neighborhood market not far from home.

It’s small, maybe 20 small white tents, mostly arts, crafts and causes with a bit of food thrown in. None of that fancy pate and brioche here…but it can supply my breakfast and then some. I choose amazingly sweet donut peaches, tomatoes and fresh-laid eggs, and some green beans I’ll cook southern-style later this week.

The music students swap shifts down the aisle, a singing hula hoop girl collecting her hoops to scattered applause. She’s wrapped them in colored yarns and silk threads, and they’re gorgeous, but she says the fiber’s got to go. “I can’t get them to slide down my hips.”

A solemn Asian boy takes her place, adjusting his mike and carefully repositioning the tips jar. He launches into “Build me up, Buttercup,” in a shyly breathy voice, accompanying himself on the ukelele.

OK, that’s different, and it reminds me: My life has a soundtrack.

Catch me humming, or singing under my breath, sometime, and listen: The song will almost perfectly mirror thoughts I don’t even know (or sometimes won’t admit) I have. It’s a little too revealing as a “tell” in poker games, or in life, but sometimes it’s the only barometer I have for gauging myself.

I nod in time to the whispery-soft music, I think the boy has nailed it on the head, even if I’m not singing it.

Life’s actually pretty good; I love my job–how many people can say that?–and I’m in this thrilling place I adore with friends and family at my back. I have all I can learn, five different hobbies, three websites to rebuild, a house to mend, impending fosterkitties, art to ship off to buyers, blueberries to pick, and a bit of heartache to manage.

Which is maybe the problem: I need to put down the firehose for awhile and …rest.

I could use some building up, Buttercup. And so for as long as the song lasts, I just….stop, sitting on the pavement, staring at nothing, letting the heat and the sounds and the colors wash over me and doing absolutely nothing about any of it. It doesn’t feel good, or bad, or anything, which is maybe the point.

The boy swings into Metallica’s “Turn the Page,” and I take the hint.

A ukelele will never take the place of metal guitars and drums, but I drop a dollar in his jar for effort. He gives me an apologetic smile. Yup. It’s time to put on the big girl panties again.

I turn the page, and get on with it.

2015-11-07T16:30:33+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Lori greene August 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    That was great, quiet and thoughtful it made my mind wander too. Also I have a similar routine on summer weekends. Thanks

  2. Jen August 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Thankyou for that! Thoroughly enjoyable vignette – thought provoking too. Thankyou. Maybe we should take a minute and remember to sit and stare, sometimes.

Comments welcome! (thanks)

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