Occasionally, we all venture outside of our comfort zones.  I took Mr. Apron indoor rock-climbing for his birthday, and was worried sick in all of my surreptitious planning that he would not want to try something new.  Though it was certainly outside of our usual cultural events (plays, operetti, early music concerts), and sporting activities (downhill skiing, bowling, mini-golf, and nature walks), he overcame his fears and/or reluctance (and was also scared of hurting my feelings by telling me he did not want to do it), and we went rock-climbing.

I had a great time; he was afraid he was going to drop me when it was his turn to belay.

Other times, though, taking risks by wandering away from comforting routines is enough to be a wake-up call in and of itself.  Trying a new restaurant, eating at a different time, or making macaroni and cheese by using soy milk (I guess I’m hungry if all my examples have to do with food…) can feel new, different, challenging.  Just defying my usual preferences yesterday was enough to shock me into self-awareness.

Due to the insane, overwhelming heat, even our most powerful, modern air-conditioning unit cannot keep up with the demands we make that it maintain our indoor temperature below 88 degrees.  And when this happens, other strange events transpire.  We went yesterday to a 1:15pm showing of Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows, part 2.  While no one would say it is usual that hip, young people (or those pretending to be hip and/or young) go to matinees, for us, it is exceptionally rare.  Movies pair very well with dinner out.  Movies are often date-type activities.  Movies are a way to unwind and relax after a long day of work or running around.  Frankly, old people go to movies at 1:15pm.  Old people like my in-laws.  One additional factor plays into our evening cinematic habits, and that is my preference for darkness (of the theatre) during darkness (of the outdoors).  I dislike the disorientation that comes from being ensconced in surround sound darkness for 2 hours, only to emerge into blinding sunlight and have no idea what time it is.  Another idiosyncrasy is that I feel like I am wasting daylight hours, and, therefore, daytime itself, as if seeing a matinee will herald the end of the weekend any sooner than it would already be coming.

Yet yesterday afternoon, the extreme heat had me gladly seeking out the earliest showing in an air-conditioned movie theatre we could find.

In addition to seeing movies in the dark, I also prefer to fool around with Mr. Apron at night.  I suppose I’m rather like an Englishman, in the song the Katie Parker character sings in the 1995 film, “Funny Bones”.

Englishmen never make love by day

It can’t be helped

It’s just their way

It isn’t good form to be warm

In the heat of the sun

 

But never despair as you waste away                  

For in spite of your plight

and your deep dismay                  

Though Englishmen

never make love by day

At night they’re quite all right

 

Probably it also relates to my reluctance to do “night-time” things while the sun is shining, to waste valuable daylight hours in bed.  Beds are for night-time.  Plus, it’s the best sleep-aid there is.

Yet yesterday morning found us lingering in the cool sheets a little longer, encouraged by the cooling effects of 8 hours of air-conditioning.

As an avid library patron (albeit one with piddling fines chasing her), I rarely purchase a book I can find within the stacks of my local library system.  My mother-in-law, being a librarian at our local branch, often will bring requested books or movies home for us, and make fabulous suggestions in both book and movie.  She’s like Netflix.  I rarely reread a novel; even a favorite book I’ll pick up every few years at the most.  Why should I spend money to store a dusty volume I’ll probably only read once when my tax dollars support the library, which will store the book for me, and have it at the ready whenever I need it? (during business hours, of course) The few books I do purchase would probably fall under the reference category.  They’re not encyclopedias or Consumer Reports Best Car Seats of 2010; rather, they’re sewing/crafting books I’ll refer to for patterns or instructions again and again.  They’re cook books with recipes I’ll reach for time and time again.  They’re How to Keep Your House From Falling Apart guides, and professional resources from grad school.  They’re novelties I picked up at the thrift store for $1 showcasing knitting patterns from 1975. But I am loathe to purchase the words I will read only once.  And sometimes I’ll check a book out from the library (even a craft book) to see if I’ll use enough of it to justify the cost, or if I could find the same projects online for free.  I’ll buy them used on from Amazon sellers, eBay, or half-price book stores.

Yet yesterday, as Borders was in the midst of liquidating its stock thanks in part to non-buyers like me, who just go there to peruse and absorb the air-conditioning, I bought books.  And they were only 10% off.  Sure, it was a cookbook (the one my friend lent me with the orange bread recipe in it), but I’d seen it just the day before at a used bookstore for only $8.  Why did I pass it up then, yet decide to buy it from Borders?  Why did I have to deliberate and ponder my eventual decision so thoroughly at all?  It’s not like we can’t afford at $30 cookbook, even without the discount.  It’s not like I’m considering taking up baking and not sure if I should “invest” in a cookbook (or a stand mixer, or saffron).  On the one hand, I tend to overcomplicate buying decisions in the first place.  On the other hand, I’m an educated consumer.  I try not to succumb to impulse purchases.  I try to do my research, compare price-per-pound at the grocery store, and buy only what I need.  This gets complicated, though, by the thrifty, crafty person inside.  I compare my idea of “value” to the price on the shelf.  If I can make it, buy it used, or find it elsewhere for less, I may pass it up entirely.  Ironically, I rarely end up buying things for myself, convincing myself I don’t even really need them at all.  The robot shirt-dress I made in June and the apple-and-pear sundress I’m finishing up right now mark the first garments I have sewn for myself in a very long time.  I can’t even remember the last thing I made for myself.

But that’s another post entirely.   This isn’t about my purchasing dilemma; it’s about going outside my comfort zone, and doing three things in one day that took me outside myself, if only in a small way.

These three things may not be significant in the grand scheme of things, may not show a daring spirit, or the sense of adventure that might come in marrying an Irish Traveler and moving into a trailer with no toilet, but I hope that they show me I am still, as Ollivander the wand-maker might say, “reasonably springy”.

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