September 14, 2001
*One-Week-Ago Secra*


Don't bother shopping for candles at Long's Drugs on Island Drive today. They're completely sold out.

They're sold out at the Marina Village Long's, too ... and at the Santa Clara Street location, and at all three of the island Walgreens stores. There are probably still a few candles left in the Hallowe'en bin at the Hallmark Shop, but they're mostly those little dorky candles shaped like jack-o-lanterns and witches and headstones, and may not be entirely appropriate for a candlelight vigil.

How do I know all of this? Because *I'm* the one who cleaned out the candle shelves at all of the local stores last night. It's just one of the many ways that I believe I have evolved, ever-so-slightly, in the past week.

*One-Week-Ago Secra* would have considered a candlelight vigil sweet but meaningless. She almost certainly wouldn't have gone to the trouble of spending valuable personal time  -- not to mention spending valuable personal money  --  shopping for candles for the entire office. (And if she had gone to the trouble and expense, you'd better believe that *One-Week-Ago Secra* would have been filling out an expense report for that $56.82 so fast it would make the Little Accounting Manager's head spin.) *Today Secra,* on the other hand, will be down there in the pavilion at 4 p.m., handing out candles and lighters and singing "Kumbaya" along with everybody else.

*One-Week-Ago Secra* might have had a problem with George W. Bush referring to a bunch of murderous thugs as "folks" (as in "we're gonna track these folks down and punish them"). *Today Secra* is more than ready to support her President and her government, regardless of how she may feel about them personally.

*One-Week-Ago Secra* would have gotten her panties all twisted in a knot because another Totem Pole Company Executive Ass is taking credit for the company-wide donation drive. *Today Secra* understands that the important thing is that the money is being collected and sent to the people who need it most ... not who came up with the idea in the first place.

*One-Week-Ago Secra* would have found it increasingly difficult to tolerate the "kill 'em all and let God sort it out" sentiment being echoed on talk radio and at gas stations and on message boards and in some unenlightened corners of the Totem Pole Company. *Today Secra* gets the fact that everybody is processing the horror in their own fashion ... and that ignorance usually comes with a broken volume control knob.

*One-Week-Ago Secra* would have started getting annoyed, the fourth or fifth or eighty-second time she opened her e-mail and found that Nostradamus quatrain in her mailbox again. (Or the seventeen-year-old Canadian essay, or the "Drive with your headlights on/Wear red, white & blue/Leave your porchlight on" string mail, or the Prayer For America chain letter.)  *Today Secra* understands that, for some people, sending out mass e-mail feels a little bit like being proactive ... and she understands the comfort in that, and she isn't annoyed or offended or frustrated by it. 

She won't start hitting the Delete button until next week.

And *One-Week-Ago Secra* would be glibly telling you to have a great weekend, right about now, when what she actually wants to say is this:

Have a weekend filled with love and connection and simple human pleasures.

Laugh if you can. Smile if you can't laugh. Cry if you can't smile: just don't cry alone.

Prioritize like hell -- the important stuff first, the not-so-important stuff whenever.

Make love to your husband or your wife or your Most Significant Other, at least three or four or eleven times.

Hug your kids. (And if your kids aren't within hugging distance,  borrow somebody else's kids and hug them instead.)

Call your parents. E-mail your sister and thank her for something. Ask your mother-in-law for her gnocchi recipe.

Compliment a stranger in the grocery store ("Wow -- that is a perfect color on you!")

Apologize to someone you've hurt. Forgive someone who has hurt you.

Look at your photo albums. Take a nap. Turn off your TV for a few minutes, every once in a while, and listen to Tom Petty instead of Tom Brokaw.

Have a cookie. Have TWO cookies. (Then get on your bike and ride twenty miles.)

Buy a bouquet of flowers ... and then give them away.

If you've got a God -- and if you and your God are on speaking terms -- spend a little time talking to Him or Her. (Just remember to watch your language.)

Drive carefully. Speak softly. Walk slowly. Comfort. Donate. Educate.

Avoid the deliberate offense.

Make plans -- short term AND long term.

Live your life from a place of loving kindness.

And do try to have -- if not a great weekend -- then a weekend of remembrance and appreciation. I'll try and do the same.

Your friend,

p.s. anybody heard from bev in the past couple of days? is she still in london?

throw a rock