Day 9.

Ms. Georgia.

Discovering things about people you don’t know but think you’ve got figured out is one of the joys of life I’ve always denied myself. Kinda like my “love hoarding,” I’ve always been really good at keeping strangers at an even bigger arm’s length. Today I’m glad things went differently.

My cousin lives next to the sweetest lady in the world, Ms. Georgia. A thirty-year resident of the little house next door, Ms. Georgia was immediately welcoming the first morning I met her this week. She remembered my name from conversations with my cousin and energetically yelled, “Hi, Matt!” before I even knew who she was. Now, I’m from L.A., and I’m skeptical of any and all who look at me, nod at me, look past me, and especially say my name as if they know me. I have to physically adjust myself and mentally shift in a major way to remember that people are actually nice, inviting, hospitable, and can sometimes be eager to meet me. Not dogging on L.A.- I LOVE it, but certain aspects of the town (and the “biz”) start to wear down your trust. But that’s no excuse, and it’s a thing I’m working to change.

This morning I was playing more basketball with the kids- well, P-I-G-M-A-N to be exact- and yes, I was DOMINANT. Ms. Georgia came out to say hi and we started up a conversation. Turns out she happens to have taken up a renewed interest in piano and was currently teaching herself one of Prokofiev’s movements. After decades of non-playing Ms. Georgia decided to pick it back up and found a rekindled love and passion for piano. She asked me to play whatever I knew while she helped the kids find some toys they left behind on their last playdate, so I did. I graced the house with am extremely clunky version of “Let It Be” since that’s the only song I remember how to play. Ms. Georgia followed my Lennon with her Prokofiev, and it was gorgeous. I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and listen to someone play in so long- music has been missing from my day to day, and today was a good reminder of that.

She then gave us a tour of the backyard and of her three 30-year old citrus trees. If you’ve never had a lemon off a 30-year old tree, you really should. I’m looking forward to trying the oro blanco grapefruit she gave me. We decided that the next time I’m in town we’d get out some opera sheet music and I’d sing some rusty Mozart while she plays. It felt good to share a past life with someone I barely knew.

If I’d stuck with my usual M.O. I woulda just kept small talk to a minimum and looked for an exit strategy this morning. My life wouldn’t be better if I had. Why would I deny myself such a great string of moments, and for what reason? Questions to ask one’s self.

Just got to Albuquerque after 12 hours in the car, and it’s time to give the pooches a little love. Sleep tight, internet.