I learned from a Facebook post by Diana Trautwein (whom I know, as in we have actually met in the flesh and shared a van ride and a few tables in addition to rich online conversation) that she has been inspired by Emily Freeman (who is new to me) to participate in a monthly “what I learned in this particular month” blog post.
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and I love lists, and August was a month of learning. So here, in the order I learned them, is my list of eight things I learned in the eighth month of this year.
1. It’s possible for a friendship with a quiet person — say, a poet — to deepen simply by sitting in the same room together. It’s also possible to work in the same room together and actually get some work done.
2. My brother is one of my very best friends. (This is technically more of a recognition, an acknowledgment, than a thing learned. But it is a thing I want to remember.)
3. There is a wooden casket model called “The Branson.”
4. I may not own a TV, and I may get bored with it quickly when I have sole access to someone else’s TV, but when two or more are gathered and there’s a Duck Dynasty marathon on and we are all exhausted from the days before, people, that is some good watchin’ and some soul-restorin’ laughin’.
5. A half-pint of milk with a bendy straw is disproportionately small to the gigantic comfort and consolation it gives, especially when you come home after two and a half weeks away and find that one of the friends who fed your cat has left eight of them neatly waiting in your fridge along with roast pork and vegetables for dinner and flowers for the table.
6. Although I once counted and then wrote about the 20 or so erasers in my possession, and although I may have acquired another one or two since then, and although this is probably a lifetime supply, if there’s a sale and there are three pink erasers for a quarter, and I can justify the purchase by saying I happen to be writing about my dislike of pink in an effort to understand and overcome it, I will be powerless to resist the bargain. I might even buy the maximum three 3-packs allowed per customer.
7. Clean up your clutter, put away those piles of laundry, and you might find things that have been missing, like a book you were pretty sure you had in hardback as well as on Kindle; your weather radio; the monogrammed decanter stopper you found on sale for your daughter and son-in-law months ago; your grimy oft-handled copy of a book a friend calls The Meddler; your watch; and that other earring.
8. Messing up and leaving the mistakes in when singing with someone while recording a random act of singing for someone else is a bonding experience, and the resulting MP3 file, which you can listen to any time you want, is maybe better than having a selfie of the two of you.