I Gave Away My Change to the Ukulele Player

Change is a pretty odd thing. It stirs up all sorts of dust and allergens from the very crevices of your life. Slowly, it dissipates and settles on things you can tuck away again and opens other boxes begging to be explored. My present is overwhelmed by change and I’m knee-deep in the midst of brushing off the dust on my belongings and sorting them into two piles — going and staying. I’m curious to see all that I really end up taking with me and what I end up leaving behind.

I’ve become fascinated by the idea of “deep storage” — those boxes in the far back corner of your closet that you haven’t touched in years. Which things are worth coming back to and working through and which would be better if you just let them go? My home in California is where I keep my deep storage. Being here makes me delight in revisiting some of it and groan at the thought of some of the other boxes. Deep storage: How long do you keep it?

Today I needed a break from all of the mental planning that accompanies such a big upcoming trip. I decided to head into IM000103.JPGtown with the goal of buying GRE study materials (I might start using a new GRE vocabulary word in each blog post, leaving you to guess which one it could be.) and visiting the Verizon store. Since I got my new phone about two months ago, I have had a problem. I know it sounds crazy, but my phone talks to me in the late hours of the night. It tells me to buy things, particularly mobile web email from Verizon. I’ve been into the Verizon store twice now for help from representatives, but thus far, every attempt to fix the voices of the night has failed.

Before checking these tasks off my to do list, however, I stopped in Old Town to have a bagel and sit in the sun by the gazebo. I wanted to watch the fountain perform its ongoing, constant pattern. My mind was still running its own pattern that consisted of circular thoughts on what needed to be done before my trip and how all of it made me feel. By luck, a young man with a ukulele had also just chosen this same region in which to start playing his songs and singing his words. I was so delighted by his pleasant sounds and cheerful demeanor. The perfect combination of a steady trickling fountain, all-knowing bay breeze, and merry musician mixed at the same time to create a rare moment. I stopped thinking about the change and I sat in the now. When I finished my bagel, I slowly got up, walked over to the ukulele player, and handed him my change for the day. I also put a couple dollars in his instrument case.

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