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A Prompt

Yesterday I was overcome with a writing attack while driving down the road. For those of you who don't know the mental signs & symptoms of such an attack, let me explain. It starts like a boulder sitting atop the Mountain of the Mind. Something triggers a rolling descent and the next thing a soul knows, that boulder is rolling down thy thoughts at a pace that is damn near critical emotion.

It makes the person (or maybe this is just my own little affliction) hold their breath, their eye's go dazed....... panicked. Their hand may wave blindly around seeking a writing utensil and if this person is driving, well, you may notice only one eyeball is actually watching the road, one hand could be on the steering wheel, or knee driving may be employed. If they couldn't find a pen, they could be writing in the dust on the dashboard and they may even sit through a green light oblivious to the world around them. Don't honk, they could be writing a masterpiece, you just don't know.

The only medication for relief is a pen and paper (laptop if ones lucky enough to have one with them.) Now, since I already have this mental condition, I know the only safe course of action is to pull over at the first cafe, coffee shop or parking lot and write until the urgency has passed.

My attack brought me tire screeching into a little grease cafe yesterday. It was that, or the Pizza Hut across the street, no contest.... This was the sort of cafe that hasn't been updated, nor painted in a zillion years. It had the complimentary orange vinyl seat covers and an overbearing smell of bacon. It was perfect for my moment of need. I read the "seat yourself" sign, glanced around, saw not another soul eating and dived into the nearest booth next to the window. A coordinated gesture had my pen and paper on the table the moment my ass squeaked across the vinyl.

When my sweet little itty bity teenie tiny white haired waitress came up I admit, I barely gave her a glance when I ordered my pathetic little ticket worth of barely justifiable items to take up vinyl real estate. Diet Coke and a muffin. I was writing! I was in a panic! I needed to be left alone!

An hour later, three diet coke refills and half a muffin nibbled off, I finally felt at ease. That's when I finally paid attention to my sweet teenie little white haired waitress. She came over and asked if I'd like a fourth refill, pausing, looking at my carnage of papers scattered on the table and asked, "Are you writing a novel there sweetie?" I told her I honestly had no idea what the purpose of my writing was for, it's just something I must do.

And we talked, and talked some more. I asked questions and she asked me questions. She reminded me of my Grandmother Mary that passed away this year and she told me I reminded her of a granddaughter she hasn't seen in a very long time. She told me that she worked as a waitress because, "It feeds me 2 times a day and the money helps pay for things a person just needs in life."

That sentence was and IS a humanity gut punch. Remember what I wrote about my big huge soft spot for elderly? It makes me nauseous that someone so far along in their years has to work at a grease pit to earn money. Life should not be that way. She was too sweet, too old and too precious for such a station.

So, this is what I did. I got my $2.39 cent ticket. I took a hundred dollar bill out of my purse and wrapped it with 3 one dollar bills. I wrote her a note and folded it all together with the ticket wrapped around the outside. I left it on the table and walked out. I got in my car and watched through the window as she came over and unraveled my surprise.

All I will say was that was the best diet coke and muffin I've had my entire year. Well worth it.

Please take care of our elderly. Anyone can do what I did, and have done in the past. If not me, and if not you, then who? Even better then money is the gift of Time......Please do something kind for them, now, today, tomorrow.

30 Additional Thoughts:

I'm pissing people off and your giving out smiles, in true Rebecca fashion.

I do understand that urge/need to write. Paul on the other hand may not be so understanding if I don't get something done around here soon.

Beautiful gesture, from a beautiful spirit. I would expect no less...(Hugs)Indy

November 07, 2008 10:28 AM  

Oh, gosh, working to eat 2 times a day. I remember when I couldn't afford to eat more than 2 times a day (my DD ate whatever she needed); that's not enough. I hope that they give her some meals, too. Bless you. I never have a $100. bill, but usually, most of us, can give and or do SOMETHING. Mary, and her granddaughter substitute. Wonder where her actual granddaughter is today, and if she realizes how her grandma is doing. Hugs, Rebecca:)

November 07, 2008 11:09 AM  

oh that is so sweet.
i can just imagine the look of surprise and shock that was on her face. what a wonderful gesture, from you. i love the elderly. everything about them makes me smile. you were her angel that day.
bless you :)

November 07, 2008 11:12 AM  

That is just awesome!!! I wish that I could afford it. I do know what you mean by the writing affliction. I have it too. Sometimes it wakes me out of a dead sleep...

November 07, 2008 11:30 AM  

As pen and notepad get regular workouts on this front, I know exactly what you mean.
I may not be blessed enough to afford the $100 tip, but the gift of time and conversation do go a long way in my world. And I imagine that the little waitress you encountered treasures your conversation as much as the extra cash.
Your sharing is true inspiration.
Hugs, Leigh

November 07, 2008 11:44 AM  

I agree with Leigh... as much as I am sure she appreciated the money, I think it was probably the company and conversation that she will remember most.

November 07, 2008 1:14 PM  

What I love about the story is the way the writing attack (you wrote "decent" instead of "descent" but that is in fact what you ended up meaning!) turned out to lead to something more important than the words that came out on the pages you filled.
The story about the story became the story.

November 07, 2008 3:08 PM  

Wow, you had a hundred dollar bill in your wallet?!

Totally kidding. What a lovely thing for you to do, and just as you will always remember her, she'll always remember that tall lady who was writing a novel and getting all jazzed up on Diet Coke. ;) Sometimes the most rewarding encounters are random ones.

My writing attacks usually happen when I've woken partway up during the night, and an idea is in my head. Then it starts doing laps in my brain, and I'm lucky if I can go back to sleep.


November 07, 2008 5:23 PM  

Rebecca Anne,
You have a heart of gold.
I know the feeling you get when you put a smile on someone's face. Thanks for sharing.

November 07, 2008 6:47 PM  

Your soft spot for the elderly is totally awesome.

November 07, 2008 7:37 PM  

And I have a big hug for you!


November 07, 2008 9:49 PM  

Through coincidence,God chooses to remain anonymous.

Suddenly stricken with the urge to write, you are guided to place that in hundred years you would never stop at. You are connected with a soul whom you have encountered a thousand times in your past...
The Angel emerges....

You left with a greater story than you entered with
LOVE & KINDNESS is author!

This world is blessed to have you in it!
Wishing you the warmth, that you so easily give to others!
Hugs! Marc :)

November 07, 2008 10:51 PM  

Beautiful entry Rebecca. Like any inspiration we must strike whilst the iron is hot . . . be it painting, writing, or leaving kindnesses little surprises for people we are inspired to do so for. We are the Saviour's hands . . . Bless you sweet friend.
PS. I still have the note you sent to me and I cherish it.

November 08, 2008 12:00 AM  

Excellent (again)... what a fabulous piece.

My Muse loves to ride in the car. She always speaks up while I'm driving, however I usually don't stop in the first cafe I see. From now on, I will reconsider.

Wonderful gesture...know you made lady's day, week, etc.

Thank you for sharing. You have the gift. Thank you...thank you.


November 08, 2008 6:40 AM  

I found you through your comment on my blog and I like yours a lot. Where you have a soft spot for the elderly mine is with the kids.

I have to admit that I do not have the money to hand out such a sum but my hubby and I give what we can afford. Still, the most valuable gift anyone can make (doesn't cost a fortune either) is showing interest in another persons life. Especially elderly people have so many stories worth telling and they do it so freely (with a lot of wisdom hidden inside) that it would be a waste of time not to listen.

Keep following your heart,

November 08, 2008 8:13 AM  

It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. We might not all have a $100 bill we can wrap up as a gift, but we all have SOMETHING we can give....a smile, a meal, a hug, a place in line.

November 08, 2008 10:10 AM  

I must say that was a very nice thing to do. I wish I could afford to do something like that. I'm sure she will be repeating her version of the story over and over for some time to come. You are an inspiration and heck, all Indigo does is piss people off, just borrowing a piece of her comment to be funny here. Have a good weekend beautiful.

November 08, 2008 10:13 AM  

I will have to remember to pull over and write the next time I get the urge because by the time I get the chance I am out of the you a good weekend...I have done the 100 bill thing 3 times in my life broke to do that now..but know that is why I have a roof over my head and some place warm to lay...big hugs to are such an awesome person in my books..hugs,TerryAnn

November 08, 2008 12:26 PM  

That was very kind of you. Maybe that "writing urge" happened for a reason. (((HUGS))) *M*

November 08, 2008 1:04 PM  

Rebecca...I love your story and I know that is one Grandmother that will never forget you.You made her entire day a joy to be living.
With your gift of money and your conversation with her..too many of our aged are discounted and live very lonely lives.
I too am an old one..Grandfather 6 times over and Great Grandfather 2 times. May Creator bless you richly for you generosity.


November 08, 2008 4:01 PM  

Checking in to see if you have the world safely under control. Yup. Uh huh. Just as I thought. All safe and sound. No mayhem found here. Only inspiring beauty, and I would expect nothing less from your lovely soul.

Judith Ann/jtuwliens

November 08, 2008 6:01 PM  

You might not have wings, but you are certainly an angel.

November 09, 2008 6:34 AM  

I'm a bit torn by what you said. I understand the notion that an elderly person shouldn't be working to make ends meet, but I know that, when I get to that age, if I don't have something that FORCES me to interact with the world, I'll fade away and never be heard from again. Maybe it isn't such a bad thing she's still working, otherwise, how would she get to meet people like you?


November 10, 2008 11:42 AM  

Thank you for reminding me that the world isn't all anger and confrontation. Thank you for giving me a positive reason to cry.

November 10, 2008 2:37 PM  

You are my Hero of the day.

(and your writing is good too.)

November 14, 2008 7:33 AM  

I stumbled across your blog from a friend's blog. I'm way behind in catching up, and I'm still trying to find some people who were evicted from AOL Journals. I clicked on yours, since a lot of the people I knew there have changed the name of their blog, thinking you might be someone I knew. You weren't, but I stayed anyway. I have had that boulder crash down on me, but I've never pulled over. I'm usually on my way somewhere, so I keep a notebook and pen in my car! I write at stop lights, in the parking lot at work, and even walk around work with a post it pad in my pocket when things come to mind that I just have to jot down (needless to say my computer table at home is a sea of multi-colored stickies!)
I enjoyed your last entry, and if you don't mind I'm going to stop by again. Very interesting stuff!

November 16, 2008 11:39 AM  

Rebecca what a lovely thing to do. I wish more people were as caring as you are about our older generation. Heck, I'm almost there myself..abiet kicking & screaming lol. In past years I've worked with several much older people, who have amazed me with their work ethic, loyality and staminia. God bless you for being who you are and true to yourself, Sandi

November 16, 2008 12:36 PM  

A wonderfully touching story! I love the writing attack part and can so relate! Bless you for your kind gesture to that elderly woman! She's probably so grateful and will be telling that story to whomever will listen for months to come! Lisa

November 17, 2008 10:02 AM  

You are even more wonderful than I already thought you were. ~ Lori

November 18, 2008 10:48 AM  

And so you discovered your real purpose in stopping at this cafe was not to write, but to have this spiritual interaction with the elderly waitress. Lesson learned. It's true, that writing leads us into places we do not expect, and often into places dark and unknown. I think you must be a very intuitive person to follow your instincts like this. Before I started teaching, I followed all those writing urges like you describe here. I never went anywhere without my composition book and pens. When I go on vacation, I still take a canvas bag filled with any writing and drawing implement I might need. I just like being prepared so I can respond to whatever is happening. I love your story/entry, btw. Kudos to you, Rebecca Anne!

November 23, 2008 12:00 PM  

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