I don't claim to be a good poet, and I am very careful about the poetry I post here because I know Ryan reads this (my personal god of poetry and all things O'Connor). But I thought this was okay to post, especially since it expresses what I feel at work a lot of the time.

I come in and put on my face but not makeup-- another overused metaphor. hello, how are you today?
cheeks grow tired of being stretched into an affectatious grin. oh, I'm fine, how're you doing?
lips pull back to reveal glistening teeth. just fine.
a cheesy smile, really. did you find everything ok?
I default to superficial conversation as opposed to intimacy vulnerability or truth to people I will never know or care for. yes, thank you.
The same phrases are passed back and forth. Have a good day. I'm fine, thanks. Stay cool out there; it's a hot one. Don't work too hard.
Thank yous all around. And all the time I'm screaming inside to be real.


written by Ruthie @ 5:12 PM   2 comments
It’s funny how other people’s groceries make me remember. Today a single mother came through my line with a product called Wasa. It’s a whole-grain, cardboard-like wafer. One could stretch so far as to call it a cracker of some kind. I suppose with enough cream cheese it would taste good. The Wasa instantly carried me to a grocery store in Prague. In order to take a shopping cart at this grocery store, I had to insert a 5 krono coin into a device near the handle. Apparently Czech people like to steal shopping carts. I walked through the store looking for something recognizable that would serve as a good supper. It wasn’t too different from an American grocery store, except that everything was in Czech and none of the brand names were familiar. I had to judge by the pictures on the packages to pick out something that may be tasty. I found yogurt and some Wasa, which looked promising. Turns out the Wasa was only edible if I dipped it into the yogurt. My belly was full, anyway.

An elderly lady checked out with a bag of black licorice. I never really liked black licorice, but Grandpa Wood loved it. If he and Grandma up in Iowa for Easter and my brothers and I got black jelly beans, we’d save them for Grandpa. I thought that maybe it was an old person thing. My logic worked like this: I’m a kid; I don’t like black licorice. Daniel is a kid; he doesn’t like black licorice. Grandpa is an old man; he likes black licorice. Therefore, old people like black licorice and kids don’t. I wondered at what age I would suddenly acquire a taste for black licorice. Fifty? Sixty? That seemed so old when I was seven. Now that I’m in my twenties it doesn’t seem so far away.


written by Ruthie @ 5:59 PM   1 comments
Women descend on reduced-priced, fashionably-scented cleaning supplies like swine to a stinking pile of compost. I saw it in HyVee the other day. One such woman slowly shifts by, pushing her cart full of diapers and frozen pizza, until out of the corner of her eye she sees: PRICES REDUCED FOR QUICK SALE. She suddenly charts a new course to the discounted items, which are placed in a shopping cart near the movies and magazines. Another woman sees the sale items at the same moment, and speed-walks her cart toward the discount, trying to head off Woman 1. Now they are both pawing through the laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner and disinfecting wipes, using their highest sense of discretion to choose from scents like Grapefruit and Cucumber and Fresh Lavender. What a bargain! Each item is only fifty cents! I must get seven or eight!


written by Ruthie @ 10:42 PM   1 comments
I am, in fact, going to Japan in September. Right now I am working at HyVee, teaching piano lessons for the first time, sleeping with the dog (oh, what bliss!), and helping with VBS. More details to come. Maybe.
written by Ruthie @ 10:40 PM   1 comments
In HyVee for an interview. We go into the kitchen. Greg, my interviewer, goes to answer a phone call. As I wait in a booth I see an old man bent over a cane hobble over to a booth across the café, a steaming black mug of coffee in his hand. He puts the coffee and his reading glasses on the table, then gets back up. Half a minute later he comes back with a bakery bag and he slowly lowers himself into the booth. He catches my eye, smiles, and winks, his eye disappearing under translucent, wrinkled skin. He situates his body on the bench, and then pushes the plastic ketchup bottle and the salt and pepper shakers to their place against the window. Then he puts the jelly on top of the silver napkin dispenser. He wipes some crumbs off the table with his hand. Now he is ready to enjoy his pastry and coffee. I bet this man has been performing this routine for years—get coffee, put it on the table. Get pastry. Clean off and straighten table condiments. Enjoy.

What would humans do without routine? What if we truly flew by the seat of our pants every minute of every day? Would the chaos and uncertainty consume us? Or would we be better for it, living in the total amazement of the unexpected nature of life?

Maybe routine is the human expression of pattern. All of nature exhibits pattern: certain plants always have three leaves. Certain trees always lose their leaves in the fall and gain them back in the spring. Certain animals always hibernate in the winter. The tides roll in and out on a schedule. So is it fitting for humans to follow suit?


written by Ruthie @ 9:51 PM   0 comments

Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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