Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm thankful for the robe

There are two more days of November. I have about ten hundred more stories to tell you, but it is almost December, and I haven't been pacing myself. This has been fun though, and it's kind of changed my life. I keep looking at things when I see them and exclaiming how thankful I am for them, which some in my surroundings think is way weird. Others enjoy it. I enjoy it.

I will tell you a story today, and perhaps one tomorrow.

I am allocating myself one hour right now for Recreational Internet Purposes (RIP), after which I will return to the mountain of unfinished homework meowing at me from upstairs in my room. The only way I will get through said homework is by perhaps imagining how good it will feel to wake up tomorrow morning knowing that all of it is done and that my iPod and I can skip frostily to class in good conscience. I believe, at this point, that I am going to be a high school English teacher. Maybe next week I'll again want to attempt grad school, or go to culinary school, or quit school and procreate like mad until I'm 30 and have seventeen kids. I'm not really sure. Today, I want to be an English teacher. I want to teach kids stuff. I want to teach them awesome books that they will like for the rest of their lives. I want to have theme days at the intro of each book with snacks and I want to help them prepare for the ACT and I want to give them spelling tests (I get excited just thinking about spelling tests) and vocabulary lessons, and I want papers to grade! I want them to read King Lear and LIKE IT. And they WILL.

But I digress.

Two items before I Robe:

See my new banner with the birdcage? BRYCRASCH made it for me. Go here to follow him, and please take notice of his artistically skillful blogging and artisticness. And if anyone wants to find me a big bag of money so I can visit him in Florida and see him perform at Disney World for free for two weeks, that would be kind of cool.

Liesl has become my fiftieth follower, and deserves a cookie for it, as she told me the other day. She's also a SERIOUSLY funny writer, who I worked with on the high school newspaper staff, who has a better hold on sentence structure than I will ever possess. Go see her.

Today's story is the story of The Robe. Not the lame movie, just a robe that I have.

In 2003, there was a very humongous fire in California. My dad's parents live in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, and hundreds of homes in their neighborhood burned to the ground.
My grandparents spent the majority of their lives back east, but moved to California with my aunt Heather in 2001 because the weather would be better and there was more family there.
When my grandparents and my Heather moved to California, they met a neighbor of theirs who lives just across the street. His name is Dieter, and he's from Germany. His license plate spells the name of his hometown, just three letters, and his wife had passed away just previously to my grandparents moving in. Dieter never had children, and he and my grandfather soon became best friends. They gab like ladies and take their morning walk together. They go out to eat and they go to the temple together. Dieter works there on Friday nights and also has an enormous bowtie collection. He conducts the music at church in these bowties.
He's like another grandpa to me, or an uncle, or something. I just love him.

When the fire happened in 2003, and the flames were literally feet away from my grandparents' section of the neighborhood, Dieter threw a few things into a duffel bag, ran across the street, and drove my grandmother and Heather away from the fire. My grandpa was still at church. Dieter's house burned to the ground and everything was lost besides his duffel bag. Dieter saved my family, and he is my family.
This last summer, I was in California to see the California Garbutts/Keyworths/Dieter. Dieter built a new house in the old one's place, and it is very big, and blue inside. It's quiet and clean. There are big framed photographs everywhere. There's a red leather couch in the kitchen and the most luscious wood flooring in the office. The freezer has like ten cartons of Dibs in it all the time.
As we took a tour of the cool, still house this summer, we stopped momentarily in his bathroom/walk-in closet. I laughed and pointed at the good leather office chair Dieter keeps in his bathroom just for shaving. We laid eyes upon his fantasmically large bowtie collection. The marble in the bathroom was tan and cool.
As we left the bathroom, Dieter pointed at me and said

"I've got something for you."
He retreated to the recesses of his enormous blue-carpeted closet. What in the world? Is he giving me a bowtie? Does he think he is going to die or something and has to give me a bowtie now? He's only in his sixties. Geez Louise.

He came bustling forth again with an armful of white frothy towel material and shoved it into my arms.
"I was in Cancun this summer, and I got this free robe from the hotel, and it's too small for my girth," he crisped, with a smile on his face.
Ummm....Dieter why are you giving me a robe? I guess you probably just don't need it, and don't use it, so you're giving it to me, I guess. Yeah. It's cool, a robe. I like robes.
I stared at him confusedly and said "OK, thank you! This is so nice!". I pictured Dieter trying to fit the robe around his well-fed stomach and smiled, turning the heavy thing over in my hands. It was one of those big old expensive-hotel ones, with the name on the cuff. The towel material was like two inches thick, and plush. The thing probably weighed five or ten million pounds. I'd never held one before, or tried one on. I carried the bundle back over to my grandparents' house and thought, well, cool.

A robe. Cool. Old people.

I came home from the vacation, as people do, and I took a shower, as people do when they haven't for a day or two. When I got out of the shower, cold, as people are when they remove themselves from showers, I grabbed Dieter's robe, which I'd hooked absentmindedly onto a towel rung, and slipped it around myself. It was big, and thick, and heavy, and warm. It reaches my ankles and the cuffs cover my hands halfway. I've had robes before, and used them when getting out of the shower, but this was like stepping into a warm room directly after showering. No in-between nasty cold. I have always immensely disliked that feeling directly after you leave the shower, when you can feel your skin tightening in the wet air and your entire body is covered with goosebumps, and it makes you remember how you'd rather stay in the shower--or even better, your bed--all day. Never liked that feeling, the early-morning chilly grumps. Ucgh.

The robe Dieter gave me turned out to be less like some weird thing an old person in my family gave me weirdly, and more like something that keeps me warm and comfortable every morning and makes me feel a little more optimistic and cozy about starting my day while I finish up last-minute homework, gobble some non-breakfast food, apply mascara with one hand, and put a sock on with the other.

Thank you Dieter. For the robe. It's not the cure for cancer, I know, nor is it some life-changing thing, or a meteor, or a baby, but it makes me extremely happy every morning to have that robe to slip into.

1 comment:

Liesl said...

You want to be a high school English teacher? Good. So do I. Well, sometimes I do. But in the meantime, I am majoring in art and minoring in philosophy and trying to figure out what I'm going to do in life.

Also, I am flattered and flustered that you mentioned me on your blog. This just may be the motivation for me to post more/less. I'll figure it out later. Thanks for the compliment on my sentence structure, though. I take pride in that.