I rarely shock myself. I do occasionally surprise myself, mostly by what comes out my mouth unbidden, but shock that’s rare. Yesterday I did something so uncharacteristic that it even shocked, and maybe worried, Joe. I could see him reeling as he helped me.

We got to our hotel in Crescent City in the very early afternoon. We checked in and before we went to the room we went over to a small Mexican restaurant that had picnic tables set up outside. No one was sitting there because apparently, its cold out. To a Canadian it’s shorts and tee weather. But we got there and discovered that the restaurant itself was accessible so we both went in and ordered. I had two soft tacos and Joe had a super huge burrito.

As is my custom, I spilled food everywhere. My shirt had so many beans on it that I was sure that we’d wake in the night to hear it farting. But I didn’t care, the food was good, it was messy, juice ran down my arms, I was in food heaven. We finished up and wiped up and headed back to the hotel. I decided that I wanted to take Joe out for a beer and we stopped at the restaurant that’s attached to the hotel. It didn’t open until 4.

So we got to the car and I knew that if I went into the room, I wouldn’t come out again and I didn’t want to sit in the room when it was so sunny out. We had passed another restaurant on our way back to the hotel which was open, which served both tea and beer so I suggested we go there.

The only thing that gave me pause was that my shirt had food broaches right down my belly to my pants.  I managed to chisel it off my pants but my shirt was a lost cause. I noticed then that there wasn’t anyone around, that there was a space I could tuck into, so I asked Joe to get me a clean shirt out of the luggage in the trunk of the car. He got in and started to drive and I waved him down, he said that he was taking the car to the parking by the room and I said that I just wanted the shirt now and I’d change here.

“Outside?” he asked his face freezing in shock.

I never, ever, ever, ever, take my shirt off in public. NEVER EVER. But I was feeling good and powerful, I’m pushing myself everywhere and my physical strength has diminished my sense of vulnerability and, I realized with a shock, I didn’t care if someone was watching, or taking photos for the Internet or whatever. I just didn’t want to go to the room. I knew myself to well. That would end our day.

So Joe handed me a clean shirt, I took off the old one and felt fresh air on my skin for the first time in 57 years. Fifty Seven. I actually remember the last time I took my shirt off outside, I remember what happened, and I remember deciding to never do it again. And I hadn’t.

Until yesterday.

And the air felt good. Cool. Clean. Fresh.

But not caring any more felt much, much, better than even that.

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