By Rebecca Borman
Many years ago I was in a church choir. I was an alto, and of course all altos sat together when we rehearsed. I usually sat next to a lovely woman whose name I wish I could remember. But I do remember quite a bit about her. Like me, she was a high school English teacher, and while we weren’t close friends, I gleaned a lot of wisdom from her. She was very down to earth, and a devoted teacher. She taught in the public school system, whereas I was teaching in a Catholic school. So, while the state-wide teacher strike didn’t include me, because I wasn’t in a public school, she was affected. I recall some of our conversations around that time. The “strike” was something called “work to the rule,” meaning that teachers would go to school and teach, but per their union they were not allowed to do any work at home. It struck me as typical that the teachers’ idea of a strike was to work only the hours you were paid to work. But even that was too constraining for my friend, and she would smuggle papers home in a large purse, so that she could grade them at home. I’m sure her students didn’t appreciate that as much as they should have!
Anyway, she and I usually arrived a little early for rehearsal, and we dutifully took our seats in the second row, the first row being for the sopranos, naturally. We often sat next to each other, and as soon as she sat down, she checked the chair in front of her. If it didn’t have a bar between the back legs, she’d switch it with a chair that did, because then she could rest her feet on that bar. “Creature comforts,” she would say to me. She used that term often, referencing small things that made her life just a little bit better.
It is a philosophy I whole-heartedly agree with. Sometimes, like when there’s a pandemic going on, it’s hard to find much to be happy about. But, creature comforts definitely help. The other morning, I went to Safeway for their “seniors only” shopping hours. (Thank you, Safeway and all grocery store workers.) Fortunately, I found some things I really needed, like the dish soap I was almost out of (ok, a very expensive organic brand, but still). I purchased some pasta which I hope is not whole wheat. I grabbed the last jar of off-brand peanut butter. These are not exciting items, but they were necessary. And then…I wandered over to the liquor section and bought a bottle of Tanqueray gin, because I’ve been hankering for a martini since Nana Kris posted a picture of one recently. From there, I went to the floral department and purchased some beautiful tulips, my favorite flowers. Tanqueray and tulips are my creature comforts. They won’t keep me from getting sick, and they aren’t going to enable me to enjoy the many fun things I had planned over the next few months. But they make me happy; they lift my spirits.
Never underestimate the power of Tanqueray and tulips, or whatever your creature comforts might be…..