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Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox--Respite from the madness

For so many of us, weary with the political circus, the lies, the sideshow of that which is the manic behavior and twists and turn, this is a reboot. Well, perhaps not so much a reboot as a respite. Either way, we’re all overdue.
So many of us need a unique gift right now – a brief and joyful interlude from all the things that quarantine has brought: a frightening dance with death; detoxing rooms; financial strain; and America’s absence of all things sensible in the political arena. Mine came to me at the innocent request of the dear friend of one of my daughters. She wanted photos.
That sound you may have just heard was me smacking myself while doing a face-palm. Oh, no; this won’t be easy. I started the project by scanning into my computer the pictures that were handy. I was, I admit now, unenthused. My scanner is slow and downstairs. My computer is fine now, but it’s upstairs.
Having a momentary brain burp, I kept scanning, being frantic and getting exhausted. Then, enlightenment. I had just gotten all my photos on my phone copied to a CD. That’s when the gift happened.
Instead of scanning, I started copying pictures onto my phone and sending them to her phone. It was easy and oh so fast, but even with this technique, I still needed better photos. I dreaded going through boxes of pictures. More enlightenment.
Many of us prepare for projects, and then, we never get to them. We stock up on craft supplies, fabric, glue and straight pins, or markers and ribbons. We’re prepared whenever time and motivation meld.
After at least six years of staring at a shelf of empty photo albums, I was ready. No ... I was forced to be ready because someone asked me to help them be ready. As I sifted through pictures she needed, I could place them into my photo albums, two birds with one stone. They would have the fancy artwork of my early albums, but I was jubilant they’d be done.
Sometimes, life gives us lemons. Sometimes life gives us wine ... and, sometimes, we get wine from lemons by helping someone else, despite the fact that we began under protest. I found joy where I was prepared for sacrifice. Refreshed and ready to accomplish two wonderful goals, task became delight.
More often than not, we have someone else to thank for our joy. I do, for this wonderful diversion and accomplishment. My daughter’s dear friend wanted help doing something great for her friend. I, recruited unexpectedly, found not only accomplishment, but laughs, reminiscence and accomplishment. Now, instead of her thanking me, I have to thank her.
Chatterbox, Sept. 29, 2005, talked about how jobs done piecemeal are still jobs done. It’s in that spirit that we can all find encouragement to accomplish anything overwhelming a bit at a time. The later years of my photo album assembling was stalled for decades but, nonetheless, when I was requested to do someone a favor this past week, the pictures were standing ready.
One full summer, I labeled and filed one package of photos every night before I went to bed. That’s all, just one. They were organized into boxes the same way, one each night through the long winter. The boxes sat on those shelves for decades, but whenever I was ready to put them into albums, they would be totally ready too. It took someone else’s good deed to light a fire under me.
My daughter’s friend has been with her through college, work, marriage, childbirth, and babysitting ... and vice versa. Now, she’s made a wonderful memory for her friend of more than two decades, and me to boot.
We can all find joy in choosing to do something for someone else, always. When that joy spills over into our own existence, as it usually will, it’s a perk. When we actually accomplish a long back-burnered goal to boot, it’s a Triple Crown win.
These days are very blue for everyone around the world. Even nations that are rejoicing in some renewed freedom in victory over this worldwide and uber-deadly virus, experience only temporary and measured merriment. So, with any small diversion we face, even one unwelcome at first, we can’t know how it may inspire us.
This time, what looked like a tough job at an inconvenient time turned out to be welcome motivation for a long overdue process and some badly needed delight.
It could happen to anyone… who’s lucky.