Sunday, September 02, 2012

Spiral Notebook Sunday: Friday, December 3, 2004

Friday, December 3, 2004
It's the little things in life that make all the difference. What was it that brought this tried and true lesson home to me in an all new way? Was it a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset? The lilt of a baby's laugh? The shadow thrown across a sleeping child's face by his eyelashes? The latest antics of Sachi, Ferret Princess?

No. A pebble stuck in a door frame was what so clearly illustrated the importance of little things in our lives. Monday evening, I was all set to lock up the flower shop. I turned the key in the lock, heard the bold start to slide--and it stopped in its tracks before it slid into place. I repeated this action (or inaction) several times. I jiggled the door in its frame to try to figure out if/why the door wasn't hanging properly in its frame. Exasperated beyond measure, I tried calling Cranky Boss Lady to see if she'd had any trouble with the lock when she'd opened that morning or, alternatively, if she had any suggestions from prior experience. Perhaps fortunately, Cranky Boss Lady wasn't home. I then called Hubby and practically begged him to come down to look at it. (Not that I really had to beg much--he was only too happy to have me ask for help-especially in that bordering on hysterical helpless female tone I had been driven to by frustration.) After I had secured Hubby's promise that he was on his way, I returned to trying to lock the door myself.
I was actually bordering on outright disbelief at this point. The door looked exactly as it always has--seemed to be lining up perfectly, but somehow, the bolt part of the lock was not sliding into the hole that had been cut for it in the metal frame. Minor in the scheme of things, but somehow all the more baffling and, well, menacing for its ordinariness. It's the damned door I lock and unlock six and sometimes seven days a week. If it can stop working--and in such a diabolical and undetectable way--everything's up for grabs. It's like the laws of gravity being suspended without warning or explanation.

As melodramatic as that no doubt sounds, I'm alarmingly close to sincere. I really was staring open-mouthed at the door and shaking my head in disbelief.

In a final act of desperation, I dropped to my knees to see if something was wedged in the edge of the door. Still, nothing was visible until I leaned down even further--on all fours, now, just to fully complete my demoralization--and there in the ridges of the metal threshold, shoved against the door frame, was a teeny tiny pebble. It was just large enough to hold the door open an undetectable hair width--exactly enough of a hair to keep the bolt of the lock from sliding into place.
The pebble was a tenth the size of a dime and a silvery gray color that blended perfectly with the metal of the door frame. In other words, not only was it a little thing that made all the difference, it was practically invisible, perfectly camouflaged--waiting all afternoon to teach me the valuable lesson of the importance of little things.
So taken was I with this learning opportunity that I actually picked up the pebble and set it on the credit card machine with the intention of saving it--sticking it with glue to a keychain or tucking it into a locket to carry with me everywhere as a talisman.

I left it there overnight--intending to share the wisdom of the pebble with Cranky Boss Lady before preserving the pebble for posterity. Before I had a chance, the next morning, Cranky Boss Lady had a credit card sale and must've flicked the pebble away without a thought.

The little things make all the difference in life, but they're dang hard to hold on to and not everyone appreciates them when they stumble across them.


  1. Yeah, mostly I am afraid I don't -- appreciate them, I mean -- until I think about it in retrospect.

    1. I have that problem quite a lot--at the time of this incident, I felt like the pebble was the universe's way of getting my attention. It's a lesson that comes and goes and comes around again. :)

  2. What a lesson. Literal pebbles in doorways and in shoes cause all kinds of pain. Figurative pebbles in hearts, in minds, and in intentions creep up. Between your pebbles and Tangled Lou's bamboo, I feel I am low on seeing metaphorical lessons in front of me. What lessons can I glean from Texas barbecue tonight?

  3. Great analogy. Now, I'm looking around for pebbles in my life.