Whimsical Beginning

“Deep inside us–even during life’s darkest moments–there’s a whimsical and adventurous little fairy trying to escape. Learning to set it free is the best thing we can do for ourselves.”

–Mary Tiler More

If I could find this tile, it would all be okay. Maybe not okay right away, but okay someday. Maybe even soon. But, hey, okay someday is good, too. Except I am lying. Everything okay really, really soon would be an incredible bonus.

The tile is about whimsy and setting it free from our sadness. Believe me, I want to let the whimsy out. I want to set the whimsy free. And for a few minutes each day, the whimsy hovers above me, around me, but only ventures so far before it perches once again on my shoulder, sighing that another day is past and it is still compelled to return to the sad side.

I hunker down in my apartment, long after the wine is gone and my neighbors are still laughing with one another. Oh I was out there with them, drinking wine, smoking even though I don’t smoke, begging a home-cooked meal from the cute downstairs neighbor. My new girlfriend neighbor is the reason all this action is happening in front of my door. She is the reason we are noticed, laughing, talking, telling the “bad boy” stories. Her whimsical fairy embraces this freedom every minute of every day.

I am done telling my story, even as she repeats hers to each and every neighbor–even the 23-year-olds who are newly graduated from a preppy college up north, whom we have collectively nicknamed “The Fraternity,” and whom are never allowed to meet RG Daughter. The Fraternity aside, my girlfriend neighbor’s story is filled with energy and hope. Just as she is. And every neighbor is drawn to it, and to her.

Mine is the story no one wants to hear, because it is so pallid and staid. It is the “Yeah, whatever, been there” story. Except to me, of course. Because it is a first for me, and thus it all feels quite new and original and compelling. But when I tell it to these 30-somethings, they almost shrug with indifference. Because they never would have allowed what I allowed to happen to me to happen to them. Because they are that much more savvy about dating and relationships despite their being so many years my junior.

I am that much more dense, and they could care that much less.

So I knew I had to find the tile, because of all the stories I have read on this remarkably creative blog, this was the one that actually spoke to me. Because God knows it is long past time that I set free my personal, whimsical and adventurous fairy and just let her be. Long past.

I felt a little silly perusing the shelves of cookies and sauces and pastas and a zillion other gourmet deli items at 9 a.m. But the tile had been hidden in this market late the afternoon before, so I knew I was likely the first one to look for it.

“Can I help you find something?” asked the young worker.

“Um, yes, actually,” I said, still looking around for the “Toilette” sign, beyond which I knew the tile to be. “I want to buy some really great pasta and other items to cheer a friend up. She’s Italian and she cooks, so…” I was rambling.

“Oh, well, any of these are good,” pointed out the worker. “And over here, we have all kinds of aged vinegar.” Which was when I spotted the Toilette sign. But it was clear that this was not a public restroom. Hmm. Time to be brazen.

“Would you mind terribly if I used your restroom, then I’ll gather some of these items for my friend.”

The worker looked at me, and I could tell she was considering saying no, but she sighed and waved me back. “Yeah, sure, go ahead.” Gee, thanks!

I maneuvered around in the tiny bathroom, trying to be very quiet as I opened the under-sink cabinet door. I scanned the back, then the left side. No tile. I glanced at the right side, and just as I was about to close the door and call it another unfulfilled search, I saw the rough edge behind the yellow top of a can of a lemon-something cleaning product. I slid it out.

My first surprise was how large it was. My second was how colorful it was. My third was that I had actually found it! I flushed the toilet for effect and lamented how this beautiful tile was way too large to even pretend to hide in my purse. So I simply carried it out with me. What the hell, right?

The worker was only too happy to pull together $48.59 worth of various food stuffs for me to purchase for my girlfriend neighbor. When I placed the tile on the counter to count money from my wallet, she said, “Hey, that is really cute!”

Cute? The tile that will comfort and cajole me to let it all go and be happy in my life and with myself once again? The tile that will give me permission to no longer beat myself up for being so stupid about the boy, the idea of even considering a boy like that, of dating anyone for that matter…. I bore even myself as I think this to myself for the billionth time.

That tile? Cute?

“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?”







15 responses to “Whimsical Beginning”

  1. L Avatar

    Good morning RG:

    You aren’t silly for dating the boy or for dating at all. The indifference you sense from those other people might be because of differences in personalities and maturity. I don’t think maturity can’t be measured by age, but the ability to open up the heart and mind takes time to refine. You have it. It’s a blessing and a skill to love “to love” no matter if this is the feeling of a sunny day, walking on the beach with your dog friend, talking on the phone to the kids, or looking deep into the eyes of a man who has your heart. So the whimsy is part of your world view, along with many other things. You are refreshing, don’t forget what a treasure you have in yourself. Other bright stars will be attracted to you and also those trying to find their way … so keep being yourself. There will be a “boy” out there who recognizes this in you. This last one apparently did though he seems a bit unsure how to respond. One day he might be able to bring more to the table. If not, there is no shame in the time and effort you gave to the friendship. I think the night sky is beautiful even if there’s only a few stars, I admire and take the experience with me … hope my analogy makes sense.


    p.s. I really like your blog and outpouring of real feelings.

  2. Rick Avatar

    Welcome to the very exclusive “Found Tile” Club.

    “Pallid and staid?” They must not be listening.


  3. Gal's Daughter Avatar
    Gal’s Daughter

    YOU GOT A TILE IM SO JEALOUS!!!! It’s cute and boy could i use that message now too. You may be my mom, but we are in nearly identical relationship places. You know what I say? F*CK THAT!

    pardonnez mon français…

  4. Mary Tiler More Avatar

    Your story of finding this tile is too funny. That’s kinda how I feel when hiding them (even the flushing for effect .. then, of course, you have to run the water for effect too). I think if the whimsy wasn’t already emerging in you, you probably wouldn’t be on a secret mission to find a tile in a bathroom! … I believe your stories ARE the ones people want to hear … A story about a girl who follows her heart, no matter where it leads her … Pretty brave. And nobody tells a story like you do.

  5. Kim Ayres Avatar

    Nothing like a treasure hunt to lift the mood 🙂 I’ll need to remember that

  6. Jennifer Avatar

    What a GREAT story!!! Actually, BOTH stories are equally engaging, and if you don’t stop beating yourself up about it, we, your loyal internet readers, are going to have to collectively give you lashes with wet pasta noodles. Without vinegar. 😉

  7. Ali Avatar

    Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. Here you are, needing something to cheer you up, and voila! a perfect adventure and now you have something to hold onto and look at when you need to.

  8. Julie Avatar

    Seeing your tile makes me want to go make something like it for myself. Everyone needs a reminder to be whimsical. I think we’re too busy being grown-ups to remember to have fun.

  9. k Avatar

    that is awesome, what a great idea!
    We’ve ALLLLLL been there. I can’t tell you how I had my heart broken by someone i thought was a ‘someone’ who turned out to be someone who had me in his sites as a conquest… it hurt, VERY bad and I think the trust I had in him really stopped me from wanting to trust anyone else.
    You live, you learn, you love, you lose, you find everything else that matters.
    Then you live, you learn, you love again. And maybe this time you don’t lose 🙂

  10. Kevin Avatar


    Wish Mary Tiler More was hiding her art in Houston!

    Now that you have that tile, RG, you’re gonna be FINE.

  11. JoeInVegas Avatar

    I didn’t know I had a fairy inside. How can I tell if it’s still there or if it flew away already? If it flies away does it comeback, or is there then room for a new fairy?
    You bring up so many questions.

  12. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    L–What a lovely comment to share.

    Rick–The club is cool, yes?

    RG Daughter–See you later this week, sweetie. Mama loves you.

    Mary Tiler More–I hope a simple thank you conveys my heartfelt thanks best.

    Kim–Seriously, it is the best.

    Jennifer–No beatings! I do enough of it to myself, as you pointed out. Plus, you would need to make it rice noodles 🙂

    Ali–That tile is right next to my computer, as you saw in the photo. Never letting it out of my sight.

    Julie–So very true.

    K–Hanging onto those last words. Thank you.

    Kevin–Just start hiding cakes!

    Joe–You do, it comes back around I am pretty sure, and there’s always room for whimsy. There, meaningful questions of life answered.

  13. Kate Avatar

    Stay strong, RG. You’re more than this, more than right now, more than a struggle. It’s worth it, I promise.

  14. Jenn Avatar

    I have a number of tiles hanging in my kitchen and bathroom. My favorite is the baby dragon who’s just set his own tail on fire and underneath it says “sometimes I am my own worst enemy…” I hope the tile brings some measure of comfort. For what little it’s worth, we’re still here for you. Big hug to you, woman. -J

  15. namaste Avatar

    extremely cool!