no matter (an exercise)

several years ago, while in new york for a trade fair, i developed one of those headaches that you know are going to color everything you do for the next few _____(hours/days/weeks, your choice.)  finding myself without relief in a bottle (aspirin/advil/tylenol, not a booze bottle, you goose), i ducked into a mid-town 5 & dime (it was right there in front of me) & searched the aisles for, what i hoped, would be my salvation.   it eluded me, however & i turned to leave & saw that what i was seeking was behind the counter.

imagine, if you will, the hustle & bustle of new york on a crisp winter day: everyone has extra layers of clothing on, they’re taking up a little more space because of it; it’s new york, everyone, it seems, is in a hurry & there i stand contemplating “bottle of advil for $8 million dollars or a 4-pack for considerably less.”  of course, my headache is inhibiting clear thought & i was trying to keep it light, as now there was a line behind me of impatience (i could feel it creeping up my back) & so, i apologized to the woman (korean) at the register, “i’m sorry it took me so long to make up my mind.”

she didn’t even look up from counting my change, “no matta!” & looked to the next person in line (i was squeezed out the door like toothpaste out of the tube.)  but it was that “no matta!” that has really stuck with me all these years later (i told all my associates about it at the time, & although they good-naturedly ‘enjoyed’ my telling of it, i knew that they weren’t buying its importance the way i was.)

now, now i try, when the time is right & my ______ or the ______ is too much to bear, i try to call up how she made me feel that wintry morning in february, because, you see, no sooner had i stepped outside of her domain than i realized that my headache had fled the scene, skedaddled, vamoosed, evaporated into thin air, & had left just the faintest, a scintilla, a vapor trail of its former self.  it was out of my mind.  “no matta.”

there is so much in life that “no matta” can be applied to:  this watercolor, for instance, is by ‘unknown/anonymous/your aunt’ & only cost $__.__ & i love it nonetheless.  it has all the right things going for it, a pleasing palette, refreshing composition, a delightful sense of darkness & light (this is just a detail of the work), it looks like somewhere i would like to be (on occasion.)

there is today, as well.  stormy, cold, wet.  m. & i have much to do out-of-doors, but i’m adorning the day with the “no matta” mantra.   it just makes sense.


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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