Several months ago, the famous deceased threesome of the hour, so to speak, was Luciano Pavarotti, Jane Wyman, and Madeline L’Engle (if these names mean nothing to you, look them up–they’re worth it.) Each one died within a week or so of one another. I can remember when the first one died (and I think it was Pavarotti) I thought, well, that's one. Wonder where the other two will come from? Sure enough, two and three fell into place.
All sayings, like stereotypes, have some truth to them. This time it got me wondering: why is it that we expected death to come in threes, but we never expect happiness to follow suit? Something good happens to us and we celebrate it (as we should). On rare, blessed days, things may fall miraculously into place one after the other. But for the most part, we're pretty happy just to have one thing go right in our crazy, busy lives.
I think we're cheating ourselves. We should look for good things in threes - nay, we need to expect them, demand them, determine that we are going to have them, dang it. [sidebar: If you're one of those "glass half full" people who daily find the joy in everything around them, like a hyped up Kenny the Page from 30 Rock, you may be reading the wrong blog.]
I started that same day admiring my friend and co-worker Anne’s lovely bouquet of eucalyptus, (courtesy of Costco though you wouldn’t know it to look at it) its tangy scent wafting throughout our office kitchen as she trimmed stalks and filled a vase with water. All those blooms burst forth from the bouquet, shepherding the welcome, clean scent of eucalyptus. It all seemed to suit Anne who daily and effortlessly bursts forth in beauty with her long black, glossy hair (recently chopped to a fashionable bob) and olive-tinted skin topped with dark expressive eyes that are framed by her sooty lashes. She's one of those effortless beauties you wish were a hateful beeotch so that you didn't have to like her on top of it.
The eucalyptus stalks dusted the air in clean, fresh scent and I just wallowed in their scent. Anne told me she bought them just to have something to brighten up her office and I remember admiring the freedom that allows such an impulse buy without qualm or consideration when I nickel and dime my own excursions to an annoying degree.
Later on I walked through Michaels craft store and caught another eucalyptus scent. I always feel overwhelmed and out of place in craft stores. My latent nesting/maternal instinct strains to be let out and sink into the great possibilities of all the arts and crafts projects spread out before me like unattained potential as though I’m a glue gun away from being Martha Stewart’s rival. That’s usually when my common sense rears up to remind me what a complete and utter disaster I am with anything remotely homey. Really, the only thing I get with a glue gun is fantastic glue gun burns.
But I needed Gorilla Glue to fix my funky, much loved, Indian-style (dot, not feather), wedge-heeled shoes. I went to two Payless Shoe stores to get the right size and fit on these shoes, at 9:30 at night too, dragging my poor mother with me like shopping ballast, which made them worthy of repair and not the trash bin. So there I am in Michaels, part of me aching to be the woman I’m somewhat genetically engineered and certainly conditioned to be, the rest of me glad to be the damn-the-torpedoes, buck-the-expected person I am, perusing the Mary Engelbriet $1 Christmas extras when I smelled eucalyptus – again. And I kid you not, I actually sniffed around the plastic flower displays seeking the scent’s origin, but no dice, because – and I know this is a shocker – plastic flowers have no scent. Sometimes my Polish genes are just working overtime. (Later on, I did not sniff around the check out counter to find the burning glue gun I smelled while going gray (more gray!), waiting for my turn. My nose is an amazing, complicated thing.)
So that was two and now, like a good celebrity death watch, this question lurked in the back of my mind; will the eucalyptus come in threes? (Also, I’m wondering where in the hell is my cuddly koala? With all this eucalyptus, you’d figure a fuzzy bear with sharp claws, fluffy ears, an Australian accent, and a penchant for climbing eucalyptus trees would mosey on over too, wouldn’t you?)
That evening I abused the hospitality of Steve and Marcy, two of my favorite people in the world, as I tend to do from time to time (like most Tuesday nights.) Interestingly, I rarely think of them as Marcy and Steve; it just flows better as Steve and Marcy. Sorry Marce! So we had dinner (tacos, I think, an all around favorite and yes, mine was devoid of vegetables. I’d hate to disappoint) and laughed as we often do, and Marcy and I said the same thing at the same time as we sometimes do, and Steve just shook his head at us as he usually does, and we confirmed our advancing years by watching JEOPARDY and proving how smart we are while snarking on the contestants when we got the answer wrong. [Steve claims that whenever I answer a question and get it wrong I say “it’s the same thing” and I’m thinking he’s probably not that off about that. Part of the bliss that is me, I guess.]
So my eyes are tearing (from all the laughter – follow the bouncing ball people) as I slipped over to the bathroom (hardwood floors meet knee-high socks and zoom!) where I was yet again blessed with the soothing, tart odor of eucalyptus thanks to Marcy’s handy bathroom hand soap and lotion. I thought, geez Louise, is it my day for eucalyptus or what? And then I rubbed the lotion deep into my hands so I could bring the scent home with me for a little while.
Every day should have good things that come in threes. Sadly, few do. Now, when I see a triptych of death, I wonder where the trio of good is. And every time I smell eucalyptus, I think of my three-pronged day. Most times it makes me smile (though I’m still looking for the damn koala). Sometimes it makes me wonder why I don’t have three good things today. Often it makes me want to find three good things every day. (The Trinity doesn’t count – that’s a given.)
So what were your three good things today?