Mary's Adventures in Wonderland

I woke up on Tuesday feeling grateful.

Well, okay, actually I awoke to the sound of the garbage truck on the street below, emptying a recycling bin full of bottles. I will admit to a momentary flicker of annoyance, but it quickly evaporated. I was in such a good mood that I stretched and yawned in the dark, and thought about how thankful I am that I don’t have to be up at 5:00 am, dealing with other people’s rubbish.

Mike can attest that this mellow state of mind is not as common for me as either of us might wish. Perhaps I felt so delightful because I was happy to be back in Southern California, which will always feel like home to me. But I think it had more to do with being on the receiving end of some unanticipated and amazing acts of kindness the day before.

It started with my trip to the airport. I booked a car service to pick me up at our Colorado house, since it doesn’t make sense to park my car in a lot for a month. The older lady (ha – older than me, at least) who was driving turned out to be a bit of a kindred spirit, and we had a pleasant conversation about the local women’s film festival during the half-hour trip.

I got out of the car, she pulled my enormous bag out of the trunk, and then I saw her reach toward me. I thought she was offering her hand, but instead she gave me a big hug. “I like to hug my passengers when they’re traveling alone,” she said. “I don’t think anyone should get on a plane without a hug.”


After landing at LAX, I strolled to the baggage carousel and turned on my phone. I had a text from one of my landlords, apologizing that his own flight from Santa Fe was delayed, and his partner is in New York, so no one would be at the house to greet me. Instead he gave me directions to a hidden key. No problem.

My bags were almost the first off the plane. Nice. And as it turned out, my landlord was only a few minutes behind me. His car pulled up just as I was lugging the gigantic suitcase out of my rental car. He insisted on grabbing it and walked it into the house for me.

He apologized that the patio — which looked great to me — had some plant debris on it, and said he’d be back with a blower to clean that off. I went in to unpack and discovered that he and his partner had left me a Whole Foods gift card because they had not been home to buy me some fresh “starter groceries.”

When I finished unpacking, I found him still on the patio, fastidiously removing the dead leaves from some potted geraniums. He and I stood chatting. It emerged that he had flown to LA just to meet me at the house and make sure I was settled in! He was leaving the next day to join his partner in New York. It would have been much more convenient for him to fly there directly, but he wanted to make sure I was okay.

Another wow.

While my landlord was watering some plants on the patio, I took off to run some errands, including dropping off a UPS parcel. Naturally I left the parcel on the kitchen counter when I walked out the door. Fortunately I remembered when I got to my car. Doubling back for the package, I laughingly commented on how forgetful I can be. I mentioned that I had walked off and left my coat in Colorado, after carefully hanging it right where I’d have to walk past it on my way out the door. Oh well, I said, I doubt I’ll need it here.

After finishing several small, successful errands, I landed at the Whole Foods on Montana, where I got a great parking space in the tiny lot. That never happens, as this video attests:

When I returned to the house, my landlord had left a fleece jacket hanging on the patio, with a note attached: “Just in case.”

So is it any wonder that I felt like the luckiest woman in the world when I woke up the next day?