Living out Loud

My sweet girl and I were feeling a little blue today, and for no apparent reason (HORMONES). We went to Central Market to get a smoothie for her, and serious coffee for me. As we are sitting there enjoying each other’s company I overhear the very young baristas say something about Whitney Houston.

infant barista #1: Yeah…. Whitney Houston

infant barista #2: Who is that?

infant barista #1: Are you kidding? You know.. that really OLD pop singer.

I can’t even see the juveniles, but I feel compelled to set them straight from my table around the corner:


They holler back:

48 years old!

I glance at the elderly couple sitting near us and say, “Well damn, guess I have one foot in the grave!” Elderly lady replies, “Yeah, and I’m standing right in it with both feet!”

infant baristas: She’s died.

<insert look of disbelief with sick feeling about grave joke and an overwhelming sense of mortality>

As Ruby and I head out of the cafe and into the store, I ran into a friend and shared the sad news.  And then something very sweet transpired. As I was waiting in the restroom for my kid, a woman that had overheard me talking to my friend asked, “is it true?” She whips out her phone and shows an article denying the story. I show her my google news, headlines reporting her death… and we are both wondering… and hoping… that she is right.  We head back into the store and her hubs is  there. He looks right at her and said,”It’s true. AP confirms it.”

This woman, of my age, and a total stranger, turns to me and we hug. As we part, she says the names of Whitney’s most popular songs as if conversation… and I just said I need to watch the Bodyguard again.

Ruby and I went to my van, I downloaded “I will always love you,” cranked it up loud and drove away crying.

Now… I am not a die hard Whitney fan. Some of her songs are down right embarrassing. Probably because I can still see myself singing into a hairbrush about ‘wanting to dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me.’ It is so sad that she has died. Beautiful voice, dramatic life of drugs and that bad Bobby Brown, and a daughter that she leaves behind. Just so sad.

But what happened in the store today was lovely. I don’t have ‘walls.’ I used to, and I’m not sure how or when that all changed but I talk to strangers all the time. I don’t HUG strangers often, but it was perfect today. I like to think of it as living out loud. Some of the best encounters I’ve had have come from living out loud.

Oh.. and rest in peace dear Whitney. I will always love you.