For When We Aren't On Our A-Game

At a French cafe in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I was slightly off my A-game.

Which rarely stops me from playing.

I asked the waitress her name: Devon. Mine’s Caitie, I said. I’m terrible with names, she said. “No prob!” I said, “They’re passing things.” Which, you don’t need me to tell you, makes no sense.

Not to be undone, I swung again.

Another waitress said it looked like the sky was about to open up and pour, I said, “YES! It looks like the sky will open up and” - realizing I was just repeating her, I grabbed for a different caboose - “gaa-uuush.” Aimed for gush, landed on gash, still tried to snare gush, ended with a word that sounded like a snaggletoothed variant of succotash.

But really, who wouldn’t want to see the sky over the Blue Ridge Mountains open up and succotash?

You know, I used to go turnip-colored over my B-game; I’d wince thinking about it later. These days, I find mine to be pretty harmless and others’ to be disarming. What is an A-game if not the carefully cut slice of self we want the world to see? The B-game is full of the bits we wanted to leave on the cutting room floor. And as poets and philosophers have said for ages, those unchosen bits are the ones that most enable others to see themselves in us.

I paid Devon. Have a great day, Caitie! Turns out my name hadn’t been a passing thing to her.

But, I’m sorry to report, the sky never did open up and succotash.

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