I am just civic minded enough to pick up some trash now and then. Not so often that I should get a citation or public recognition. However, I will return a grocery cart or grab a discarded cup with me when the whim strikes.
In part I want to be a helpful citizen. “Leave the place better than when you found it”, and all that. In addition, sometimes I get a glimpse into someone else’s life. For example, the last receipt that I picked up was from a grocery store. The only thing that the person bought was a bunch of flowers. They only cost $13.99. Yet that consumer clearly went out of their way to make things prettier for someone they cared about. I like to believe that a husband was fulfilling his thoughtfulness quota for the week. Who is going to tell me I am wrong?
Do not go rifling through someone else’s garbage. Let us not be creepy. But if you see something lying on the side of the road with the intent of cleaning up the world? Well then that is fair game.
After I picked up this card, I found the envelope. And a little farther along was a cardboard box addressed to the same person. Three pieces of garbage sat alone on the side of the road. It was a glimpse into another’s life in triplicate form.
The box contained a gift and a card addressed to Alina. Between Alina and her last name is the note, “gorgeous made of honor”. Mohammed “I am the Greatest” Ali. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Now Alina can join their ranks.
The envelope is not reflective, but it has a shiny surface to it. And we can easily picture this torn up, thick paper-stock containing the white card which contains the simple phrase, “Will you be my maid of honor?”
If you ever see a card lying on the ground, I do not see how you could resist reading it. Cards are an overpriced way to say we care. There is a reason why entire sections of grocery and drug stores are set aside for these things. They know that we will spend time agonizing over which high-gloss piece of cardboard will perfectly state that which we cannot express ourselves. Some are over-sized and goofy. Some contain more flowers than a florist and far too much calligraphy. But the purpose is unchanging. Spend $5 and sign your name. Then the recipient will know that you are sincere.
Now comes everyone’s favorite part. The portion of the blog where we take a complete stranger’s scribblings and make up our own version of reality. Yay!
First off, the sender lives a state away. I choose to believe that the recipient was the one who stayed put. They were friends here. I reckon that the sender moved to the neighboring state. That is where they met their person and fell in love and decided to marry. The only real evidence I have to support that theory is that this Alina gal lives in a house. There is a permanence to that. Besides, I keep hearing that people are leaving my state in droves. Someone had to start the trend; why not her?
The sender. Hmm. Well, she is female. Also, she has a hyphenated last name. Poor thing. Can you imagine if she decides to incorporate her soon-to-be spouse’s last name into hers? Are you allowed to have a three-part hyphenated name? Is she going to end up with a first name, two middle names, and then a hyphenated last name? I am not sure there are forms big enough for that entry field.
Add to that, the purple pen that was used to write the shipping label. I once had a boss who wrote only in purple pen. She liked to have things done a certain way. It was not that your way was inferior; it was merely that her way was her way. The writing is not dotted with hearts over the eyes or bubbly letters. The address is clearly legible. There is subtle a hint of softness. You know the type. The numbers have a touch of playfulness and openness about them. The straight lines are slanted a touch.
Her intent is to be considerate. But this gal has a list of things to do. First off, it was all mailed in an Amazon box. But the address was handwritten. She did not simply buy it online and put in her maid of honor’s address. Nope. She bought something, gave it the classy touch of a note, then mailed it herself. Yet she did not remove the old mailing stickers from Amazon. There was no attempt to Sharpie-out the old barcodes. It had tracking on it, but it was not Priority Mail. She wanted this to get to Alina. She wanted to show her appreciation. But she has other stuff going on, darn it.
The return address, that which she had written plenty of times, was perfect and straight. She knew how much space it took up and she did not have to pause to double-check. Alina’s address is more hectic. For one thing, it slanted quite a bit. And one of the letters was inked over twice to correct a mistake.
The note itself shows more of the same. We all do it. We think we have all the space in the world. Then we have to start squishing things closer as we run out of room. We hunch over the note and start to notice that the right sided writing is higher up on the paper than the left side. By the time we get everything in, there is no room for a signature at the bottom. Hopefully they’ll know we love them without having to sign it.
Then there is the recipient. Oh, Alina. The two are close enough that the sender calls them sisters. A move has not kept them from being friends. She agreed to support her friend in her engagement. They care for each other.
But I think Alina is going to get a little stressed out.
“The next few months are going to be hectic fitting my special days into your schedule”
Eep. I get nervous whenever I see, “my special day”. And this gal wants more than one! Plural! Ahh! The sender has a timeline in mind. “Few” sounds to me like three. Which leaves a lot to be accomplished. Hey, no pressure. It is only, “one of the biggest days of my life”. Eep.
Knowing how much houses cost these days, we can go ahead and assume that Alina is working full time, if not more. And folks are starting to gather. And summer is a time for vacation. And Alina has a house and yard to maintain. And one has to assume that at least some of the wedding activities will need to be done in person.
You gotta be there for the dress fittings. You gotta be there to look over color schemes and find flower shops. Those bridal showers don’t host themselves… Alina’s schedule is going to be pretty hopping this summer.
I think the sender might set a foot into bridezilla territory. She has her version of how life should be. Whether it is sending parcels to say thanks or using fancy pens to add color, I suspect she has visions, goals, and certain way of doing things “just so”. And after having a year with no barbecues, graduations, or weddings, one can assume that there might be some added pressure to impress. Here’s hoping that the quick pace and the arrangements do not get to her. Or Alina.
If I were to a gambler, I would put my money on Alina to make it. She has a quickness to her. This box was sliced open. Efficiency won out over elegance. The box was not cut down and folded flat. No, even after cars had driven over it, this battered box still was trying to maintain its shape. Hang in there, last shred of packing tape! You can do it!
The envelope? That sucker was torn open. The flap was nowhere to be found. Alina wanted in and she got in, darn it. Alina makes things happen when she needs to. She may not be sentimental enough to cling to every card she has ever been sent. Yet she invests in relationships that matter to her.
I believe they will be fine. They care about each other over state lines. They keep in touch. They can weather the distance and the possible high-maintenance demand here or there. We have all been cocooning for the last year. We are rested up. Now we can start to roll our sleeves up and use all that potential energy we have been sitting on. Time for two girls to throw a party. Here’s hoping they remember to invite the spouse-to-be.
Sooner than they know it, the sender will be married off. She will be starting her married life. Alina will be ready to get back to her own little world. And I have no doubt that a thank you note will be sent to her house again. I wonder what will happen to that card?