Not Drowning, Waving

On working and wondering

I stammered some of this to a new mom friend of mine, a musichead and spiritual seeker who reports that her kids make a game out of waving at strangers out of the back of their car. The ones who wave back are branded "sweet," the ones who don't are "sour." They recently developed a new, even more tragic, category: "salty"--the ones who obviously want to wave back, but don't because they can't bring themselves to lift their hands.

I write columns. You write songs or software or ads or books or plays or opinion pieces or jokes or press releases or e-mails. You build things or clean things or shovel things or cook things or sing or dance or act or give legal counsel to people who can't afford it. You fall in and out of love and give up and give in and get inspired and get on with it. We're a lot alike. We just want to do our thing, to the best of our ability and for our own reasons, and every once in a while, have somebody--sweet, sour, salty--wave back in this unfathomable universe.

I should get going now; the sign above the booth says, "No loitering: 30 minute customer limit," and the sound on my headphones is Sinead O'Connor singing, "Thank you for hearing me."

James O'Brien

Jim Walsh can be reached at or 612.372.3775.

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