Note, Folded Note, Dr. Seuss Quote, Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment

The Note

I have found quite often that the smallest gestures can end up having the biggest impacts on your life.  Perhaps it is a smile, a word of encouragement, a compliment – or maybe it is an insult, a cruel joke or a put-down.  I’m sure you know.  I’m sure it’s happened to you. You never see coming those brief moments in time that will end up living with you forever.  Today I’m going to share a little story with you about a note I have kept in my wallet for 30 years.  A note that still makes me smile.  I hope it inspires you to put kindness out there every chance you get, because you just never know the powerful effect you could have on someone. This post is dedicated to ‘Al, the long-haired guy’, who has no idea what he did for me.

The Noteswirly-line

I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘all that’.  I struggled like every other kid to fit in, and most of the time I failed miserably.  I had buck teeth before my braces, I never got to wear cool clothes and I always managed to say or do something incredibly stupid at the worst moments.  The boys used to snap my bra in the 4th grade, and I got into a brawl with a mean girl in Jr. High who loudly made fun of me every day after gym for using too much Aqua Net hair spray. (Shut up, it was the 80’s, and yes, I kicked her ass.) There was only a brief period of time in my late teens/early twenties when I possessed the superpower of being able to eat like a pig and still rock a bikini, had flawless (tanned) skin, big boobs and long blonde hair. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. For a few lucky years I got the kind of admiration and attention I had always longed for, but my confidence was still somewhat unstable from all the previous torture.

One afternoon in the late summer of 1986 in my hometown Redmond, WA, I decided to go down to ‘the beach’ – which was a lake near my house – to lay in the sun for few hours before I headed off to bus tables for the night.  I had to go by myself because all my friends had daytime retail jobs, but I didn’t mind because I was (and still am) an introverted bookworm at heart and I was looking forward to getting caught up on my reading while working on my tan.  I drove my embarrassing little orange Toyota barefoot that day, wearing only a black and pink bikini.  There was hardly anyone there, just a few families with kids and a water skier or two on the lake, so it was easy to find a great spot down by the water where no one would bother me.  I lost myself in my book, so I was pretty oblivious to anything going on around me, but I do remember briefly looking up to see if the snack bar was open because I was thirsty, and I saw two young hot guys walking together chatting – heading the opposite direction from me.  One of them had very long hair, and the other was shirtless with a killer set of abs.  (Who wouldn’t remember that?)  I didn’t move from my towel, but they looked over at me briefly, then disappeared out to the parking lot. I didn’t really think anything of it.

About an hour later, sweaty and dehydrated, I gathered up my crap and headed to my car.  As I got closer, I noticed a white piece of paper stuck under my windshield wipers.  I thought it was either an advertisement, or a ticket. Annoyed, I threw my stuff in the back seat, then reached over to grab it, burning my belly on the hood of the car that had sat baking in the sun for 3 hours.

The Note

I was stunned.  I did what anyone would do – I scanned the parking lot, turning around in a complete circle – to see if the author of the note might be watching near by. No such luck. Empty. Not a soul around. For a split second, I thought maybe it was a joke. It had to be. I was not a “10”. Or was I? Was it possible that he actually thought so? OK, so he wasn’t much of a speller, but still, I was dripping in flattery and my stomach was doing flip-flops. They must have seen me get out of my car if they knew which one was mine! Were they watching me the whole time? What were they talking about when they looked over at me? What did they say about me? Why didn’t they come over and talk to me? Why did ‘Al’ decide to leave a note without a phone number on it or directions to a place to meet later if I so dared? Why did he bother? There was nothing in it for him to do this. He didn’t even get to see my reaction – unless he was hiding in the bushes. So many questions. I wasn’t naive – I knew they were probably crude and lewd typical ‘guys’, but never before that, and not ever since, in all these years, have I ever felt so beautiful. He made me truly FEEL like a “10” that day, regardless of the motivation behind it. Sure, I’ve received other compliments in my life, but none have ever affected me like this one did. He took the time to find a piece of paper and a pen, write me this note, and asked for nothing from me. It was just a kind gesture. A safe way to express himself. I folded it up, put it in my wallet and kept taking it back out to look at it all night.  I may have slept with it, I don’t remember.

Note in Wallet

It wasn’t long before all the pizza, fries and cookie dough caught up with me, and then the cellulite, the wrinkles, the gravity, the stress and the depression. You know, LIFE. There also came more than two decades of soul-crushing words and judgments from those closest to me, along side variations of betrayal and ugliness that beat me into the ground, almost killing me. But each time I found myself in that lonely pit of pain and despair, God would somehow put this note in my path again, at just the right moment, whether it was my wallet dropping and all of it’s contents spilling out, or me pulling a coupon out with the note stuck to it – and it would remind me that someone, somewhere, at one time, thought I was a “10”, and that maybe some day there would be another. I know it’s stupid – silly, really, but in the strangest kind of way it lifted me up when I needed it to. Even though it happened so long ago, this note just kept (and keeps) on giving. It reminds me of a time not so complicated and messy. I don’t know how I managed not to lose any of the wallets I have had with this note inside, but I didn’t. I took it out today, not because I was feeling low, but because I think maybe it is time to find it a new home. A pretty box? A frame? It is tattered and dirty, with deep creases and yellowed, fraying edges. Although my life is much more peaceful and happy now; with an eroded self-esteem built back up, and distortion clearing as vanity subsides, I think this old friend deserves some TLC and some recognition. If you have any ideas for unique storage, preservation, a fun display, etc., I would love to hear from you! I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the tale of my long-haired admirer. This is the first time I have ever written about it, and I’m so glad that I finally did.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Cheryl, a.k.a. "CrazyDogMama". Welcome to my blog! Anything and everything goes here - seriously. I'm a super laid-back, non-traditional, 40-something introverted writer. My language can get a little colorful, I love horror movies, I pretty much live on coffee, chocolate and cigarettes and I'm not above writing about uncomfortable subjects. So, if you're good with that, take a look around and get to know me! Even if you're not, I try my best to entertain and offer up good advice occasionally, so hopefully there is a little something here for everyone.

This is my life.

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