bill never failed. and he would get me every single time. we have had many, many dinners together, lunches together, even breakfasts together, at their house, at our house, in restaurants, in picnic areas. and each time he has managed to break through my confidence and subtly – or not so subtly – point to a tooth or wipe at the side of his mouth all the while staring at me with that-look . . . the one that says, “you might want to mimic this – be aware – there’s something you should know”. i would fall for it each and every time, quickly closing my wide-toothed smile or stopping mid-sentence to scrub my napkin at the side of my mouth, whereupon he would belly-laugh and i would lovingly roll my eyes at his antics while linda would, with one word, admonish him, “bill!”
grace’s “if you see something, say something” made me laugh aloud. we are now watching ‘grace and frankie‘ episodes all over again, starting at the beginning. while i am on the treadmill and david is on the bike, aerobic exercise our goal, we turn the volume way up and grace and frankie and sol and robert and the kids get us through exercising. each episode we see things we missed the first time; such brilliance and great writing, words at their funnest. (yes, i know…not formally a word.)
“if you see something, say something” is kind of a girl rule. i have made it a rule for david, but he misses things in a guy sort of way, so if there is a woman around, i would totally count on her to let me know about the head of broccoli in my teeth or the pasta sauce that escaped to my chin or the mascara falling onto my cheeks, inadvertent momentary flaws that need pointing out. we women have a way of letting each other know about these things and we extend the kindness to each other mostly without previous acknowledgment of the rule. first world, yes.
when i taught music at the elementary school in florida we were cautioned to watch carefully as our children were released at the end of the day. “if you see something, say something,” the principal directed. and, at the end of one particular day, a day that i was not on duty but had just walked outside under the breezeway near my room, i watched as a parent on a no-pick-up-list drove up into the line to pick up his small child. i bolted back to my little music shed and called the office, alerting them and asking for help to waylay him. i don’t know what we averted that day, but i do know that our watchfulness protected that little girl from whatever placed him on the list as dangerous. if you see something, say something. absolutely yes.
i’ve recently seen videos explicitly showing a hand motion you should use or watch for in times of peril: tucking one’s thumb in and closing one’s fingers over it. a sign, without words, for domestic abuse. a signal for help in a threatening situation. a plea for aid, for an intervention. important stuff to know and to be aware of. if you see something, say something. always yes.
in this world in these times it would seem that watchfulness is paramount. it would be lovely to think that you could just mosey through life, naively unaware, but these days call for something different than that. these days call for more attentiveness, more caution, more observing, more alertness. these days call for responsibility to each other, whether it is following pandemic health guidelines, obeying traffic rules or being vigilantly aware of keeping each other safe. these days demand it. yes.
perhaps that is why, on the treadmill in the basement of our house, immersed in grace and frankie and thinking about stuff in my teeth and bill teasing and laughing is so, so good. exercise good for our hearts in more than one way. mmhmm.