Leaping Without Belly-Flopping

25 July 2018 7.20 p.m. Leaping Without Belly-Flopping

At noon the sea was a rippling sheet of green, translucent glass. Further in it became emerald and dark jade at the horizon. Wading in, I could see the wavy, sun-dappled sand underneath and watched my feet with each step stir up tiny underwater clouds of sand. Slim strings of seaweed floated on the water like Japanese characters or intriguing runes. Bits of white stucco peeled off the low terrace wall formed curious patterns in the sand.

So funny. Except I wasn’t supposed to laugh. Went by the hardware store to pick up a broom we’d forgotten to take with us when we shopped there this morning. One with rough bristle to clean the floor of the roof terrace. Hub let me out of the car on the main street, right across the store. “Wait, I’ll be out in one minute,” I said, thinking he would stay double-parked. “Meet you behind,” he countered, and off he was. Next stop on our program was the book/newspaper/haberdashery store. From the main street I walk up to the street behind where we park when we go to that store. It’s hot, I’m in my flowing, white-and-blue-flowers, asymmetrical dress carrying a red broomstick over my shoulder. It’s so hot the rubber of my flip-flops is heating up, I’m out of breath. Even though husbands are not to be kept waiting, I’m forced to switch my tempo into lower gear. The white, sand-dusted Ibiza is nowhere on the street behind.
On the way I meet the plumber, tell him “lost my husband.” He duly commiserates, jokes the broomstick should keep me safe and reassures me I’ll be loyally tracked down. When I emerge from the street behind I find that the bookstore is closed. I’d ordered three books and been told they could be picked up today.
It’s the second time I ordered them, the first lot had attracted unexpected interest and been sold to other customers.

The book’s title: Un Curso de Felicidad. I’d come across it during a presentation at the magical Books&Books in Miami and was excited about the author, a young Spaniard, setting out to conquer the Latinos in South Florida. Since the subject — learning to be happy — has always seemed the most worthwhile pursuit, one even sanctioned by the US Constitution, I bought the slim paperback. It turned out to be an astonishingly wide-ranging, user-friendly compendium describing current self-help techniques. Like any dietary supplement, I test it, use it in small doses, and gradually, off-and-on, work my way through it.

It’s certainly exciting enough – what with happynomics now trending as a major subject — to qualify as a small gift for the host of a dinner party, along with a bottle of Marques de Riscal. Since our upcoming hosts are three sisters, and happiness can’t be attained by mere reading but requires a few practical exercises, three personal copies are called for. The ones I was hoping to pick up a moment ago. The dinner party is tomorrow.

No Hub, no Ibiza in sight. I walk back on the main street towards the hardware store. Run into an old friend I haven’t seen in more than a year. As we stand chatting, there’s honking Hub driving by, furious. How come I never get instructions right!? “Behind” was behind the broomstick store, not the bookstore. We had we planned to go to the bookstore? Not that he remembered! Straight home had been the foolproof roadmap. He’d been circling around the village a total of three of times, increasingly frustrated at not finding me at the appointed place. That negotiating hot pavement and dust in flip-flops with a broomstick over the shoulder hadn’t been an undiluted pleasure didn’t occur to him. How could his wife possibly get confused about a to all intents and purposes clearly prescribed “behind”?

Though our movie moment suggested Ionesco rather than Fellini, it made me laugh. That infuriated Hub who thought I was laughing at him. Post-ex-facto theatrical explanations were unwelcome, repentant silence the only sufferable riposte.
11.53 p.m. Swimming again at dusk – tonight is the third night before the full moon – I already sensed its mystifying beauty. The sea was smooth dark oil, fish jumped– flashes of silver first, then as the light faded, arcs of sharp shadows, leaping and instantly belly-flopping.

Something major: Thrilled to find out – thanks to Dr. Joe Dispenza on YouTube – that there is a difference, in terms of measurable body biochemistry, between “doing” and “being”. Sounds like maybe humans can learn to leap without belly-flopping. What fascinating times to live in!

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