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Day 129 -Weird Morning Routines with Pets.

I was privileged enough to go to this amazing event on Malibu Pier yesterday. It was an Outstanding in the Field Event ( Simple idea: get good food, wine (not for me) and people together in a beautiful place and all sit down together at one table and eat a meal and talk. No being a foodie person, I was skeptical. But the event was lovely. I met some amazing people: a stay at home mom that travels with her husband and kids, a woman who has a degree in biochemical engineering and is a pharmacist, a deep sea fisherman who works 36 hours a week and sells the whole of his catch within minutes, a woman winemaker and female empowerer, a direct sales pilates instructor, an event coordinator from Atlanta, the guy who travels the globe putting on these events, another vinter from the Santa Ynez Valley, a young man trying to make it in Hollywood and my host for the event, an amazing woman who works in the world of high finance. Those were just the people sitting right next to me. My immediate circle. We spanned at least three decades in age and came from all over the country: Iowa, Wisconsin, Atlanta, Maryland, Ohio.

There were many differences. But what we talked about was what we had in common. We talked about our work. We talked about our relationships. We talked about the weather. We talked about our gratitude for living where we do. We talked about our passions. We talked about surviving cancer. We talked about finding out 37 years later that you had children you didn’t know about. We talked about parenting children, teenagers and adults. We talked about food and wine. We talked. That was the whole point.

It was such a breath of fresh air to gather with people I didn’t know and find Los Angeles no less. A place that I typically comment lacks soul and depth, had it in spades yesterday. We sat together for five hours eating a four course meal. We watched the sunset over the ocean in Malibu. When it was over we hugged goodbye, having exchanged business cards way earlier in the event.

What struck me most was the intimacy that was shared among strangers. How for the few hours we were together that we created a community. How we came together and enjoyed each other, learned from each other.

At one point in time, several of us shared our morning routines with our pets. I know random topic but stay with me for a minute...

I shared my routine:

Get up at 3:45, extricate myself from under the cat that sleeps on top of me every night, stumble to the bathroom with the dog immediately at my side. Go to the kitchen, let the dog out, fix my coffee, get the dog in, get computer and coffee and return to bed to write. The cat immediately joins me and snuggles up to me while I write. I do this every single day of my life that I am at home. It doesn’t vary if I sleep in. This is my life every day.

The Pharmacist’s routine:

She has a new puppy who sleeps in his kennel, her alarm goes off and she wakes up to him next to her bed. He stirs and then looks to the bed to see if she is in fact up. She is trying to potty train him so she can’t let him out and on the floor until she can get him outside. So she runs to the restroom herself, comes back grabs him, picks him up, goes to the kitchen, makes a cup of coffee while holding a wiggling puppy, gets her coffee, throws on clothes and then takes him outside. She lives in an apartment so it takes a minute to get down to where he can go. She does this every morning.

The Woman Winemaker’s routine:

The cat wakes her up every day. Stands on her until she opens her eyes. The cat wants to eat and is relentless in its pursuit. She gets up, feeds the cat and gets her coffee ready. By the time her coffee is done, the cat is also done. Together they walk out of the house and into her “she shed” to begin the day writing and taking care of business.

Why is this interesting? (It may not be to you...)

What I found fascinating was the lengths we go to to accommodate our furry friends. How interwoven their needs are to our lives. How much what we do to take of ourselves is predicated on also taking care of them. How most of the time, we put our needs on hold to be of service to our four legged companions. All of us. Together. Doing the same thing, differently but the same.

This is what I took away from the event last night. Food connects people. Sitting together and talking is still something we can do as human beings. We are interested in each other. We do care about what occurs in other people’s lives. We are not just Facebook happy all the time. When you sit with people and share a meal, you learn things...about them, about food and wine, topics you never even thought about, about yourself. Sharing food is intimate.

Seems like my work towards being intimate and authentic has taken me to places that I would have never gone before...never been able to really enjoy and participate in. Breaking bread something so innate and familiar yet so foreign to me at the same time. My life so disconnected from community, so fractured.

Yesterday I spent five hours with complete strangers and I left connected, even if tangentially, to new friends. I was privileged to hear their opinions, their hopes and their dreams. I got to hear about their most intimate moments like their morning routines with their pets. Some may say that this is not interesting but to me it was...simply because now when I think of each of these people I see them in my mind in their morning routines. I can’t change it - there they are - not on the pier in Malibu but in their robes in their homes, living their every day lives. I gained a snap shot into their private world where they live, breathe, eat, sleep, love, experience pain, loss and betrayal. I was privileged to be allowed entrance to their inner sanctum if only for a moment. For that moment, I was connected to the larger community where we all home.

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