I was in the McKinleyville Safeway the other day when the line got a little stuck because the guy in front of me wanted to know what had happened to his $10 off on a $10 purchase e-coupon. It turned out that you can’t include alcohol in the purchase total, so the case of Pabst Blue Ribbon (along with other things, already bagged) that he’d bought hadn’t made his total high enough. He walked back behind me, examined the candy rack, and grabbed a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. He tossed it on the conveyor belt and the cashier rang it up for him. It was just enough to push him over that total, and knock $10 off his bill.

The cashier said something to him like, “There you go, $10 off.”

I said, “Plus you get a treat. Total deal.”

He said, “Yeah, it’ll go great with all my vegetables.”

Vegetables? I… kinda didn’t think that he had any vegetables. Not that I’d looked at what he was buying. I’d been looking in my own Safeway app to see if I’d missed anything I wanted.

But then I looked at my own groceries: brown rice, cucumber, broccoli slaw, micro greens, green onions.

I think just possibly he was being sarcastic. Just possibly. For some reason, it made me laugh and it still amuses me when I remember it. I don’t think of myself as a brown rice and healthy vegetables person, but perhaps I am.

At the time, Suzanne and I were on our way home from a morning walk on one of our local beaches. It was not so much of a walk for Sophie and me because the tide was really high. It was still at least an hour away from high tide, maybe more, but the surf was splashing all the way up to the dunes.

Foam touching the dunes on the beach
I’m quite sure I didn’t really need to worry about Sophie being swept out to sea by the oncoming waves, but she sure looks tiny when a wave crashes over her. And she’s willing to chase her ball wherever it goes, including out into the ocean if necessary. We had fun playing despite the tide, but I wasn’t willing to go too far away from the path to the parking lot, so it wasn’t much of a walk.

Later in the day, it rained and rained and rained. But Sophie didn’t care. She still wanted to go out. I put on my waterproof REI pants and my NorthFace raincoat (thank you, Bend thrift stores!) and took her to Creamery Field and played ball with her in the rain. While we were there, the BBE called. I happened to be wearing my phone headset so I could listen to music, my phone safely zipped into my dry pocket, so I chatted with him while still playing with Sophie in the rain. Eventually, the rain stopped and I wound up feeling a lot like a toddler on a winter playground, all bundled up for no reason, or maybe the Stay-puft Marshmallow Man. Still I was remarkably dry.

Sophie wearing a raincoat

Sophie does not agree that her raincoat is necessary. But she does look awfully cute in it!

On the way home, though, I felt like I’d failed myself by not doing any real walking during the day. Then I looked at my phone’s step count: 8,777 steps. For most of 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, that would have made the day one of the high step counts of the month. Go, me. Shine on, self. I don’t think of myself as a walker, but I’m doing some great walking.

I was thinking about that Loge demographic question, again, too. Loge, the hotel we stayed at in Bend, is meant for the “outside-adventure focused.” That’s not me. Except… I spent four years or so camping? One of the reasons I live where I live is because there’s such great outside space around here, beaches and forest and the marsh. And my favorite vacations have included sailing or kayaking or hiking. I think I might be a little more outdoor-adventure focused than I imagine myself to be.

There’s a great book by Kyra Bobinet, called Well Designed Life: 10 Lessons in Brain Science & Design Thinking for a Mindful, Healthy, and Purposeful Life. She writes about how our self-image gets in the way of change. She says that our ideas about “me” are a comfort zone, the place that feels safe even when it’s unhealthy, and that change makes us feel groundless and uncomfortable, so we resort to self-defense and revert to old behavior. It’s the “me” immune system. And — the thing that made me think about this book again and look for my notes on it —  aspirational changes, ie making choices based on who you want to be, tend to not work. 

If I’d said, “I want to be an outdoor-adventure focused person,” I would have laughed and dismissed the idea immediately. Nope, I am a sedentary reader type person. Libraries and bookstores, those are my natural habitat. If I’d said, “I want to be a brown rice and vegetables person” — well, who would say that? Who would want to be that person? I’d much rather be a Brazilian cheese bread person. Except, you know, that it’s awesome to feel healthy and happy, and that goes with the vegetable-heavy diet, not the Brazilian cheese bread diet. And if I tried to tell myself that I was a walker, I am pretty sure my belief in my own innate laziness would immediately rear its head and scoff at me. Except… I like walking. I particularly like walking when I’m outside, in nature, looking at beautiful things, breathing clean air, and wearing comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing. (I am not such a fan of walking in Florida humidity, wearing sandals, and waving off mosquitoes.)

Anyway, I’ve now lost the point of this post. Except to say that despite the never-ending rain, I hope today will include a really good walk, and that I’m looking forward to adding some broccoli slaw to my morning hash. I wish I could magically wave my wand and change my self-image from “very light, very restless sleeper with regular insomnia” to “solid sleeper, easily getting seven hours of restful sleep every night” but that’s a bit more challenging. I’ll keep working on it, though. Because I like the idea of a “me” who is healthy and happy and I think my self-image can expand to include that.