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  • Writer's pictureTina

Always a Learning Opportunity

I am always a little apprehensive and self-conscious when I am around people I don't know well. Being in crowds and going to parties where I don't know many people is stressful for me. I find as I get older, this anxiety increases. I have been teasing my bib overall wearing buddy for years that he has a social disorder, but now I find myself in a similar mindset. Perhaps, his social disorder has rubbed off on me. It really pushes me to remove myself from my comfort zone and engage in new situations. Once I am at an event, I am fine. It is the anticipation of attending the event that causes me ridiculously high amounts of stress.

However, once I am in attendance, I am better than fine; I am happy to have decided to participate.

This weekend when we had our impromptu shop the farm was no different. I felt uncomfortable for the few days ahead of Saturday, but I was happy to have decided to participate once Saturday arrived. I do not have my beans gregarious and outgoing personality. Nor do I have her charm and her adorable good looks. I am also lacking that million-watt smile she possesses. However, I struggle through and do the best I can with what I have. When the day was done, the thing that struck me was how much I learn from the wonderful people I encounter because of soap. Every person who graced us with their presence surprised me, offered me a new perspective, or shared something new and innovative that I had never known about before.

For example, the amazing Ms. K. Ms. K has become one of Jordan's biggest fangirls. She is a lovely, petite, pristine woman who just looks naturally put together at all times. Ms. K is my kind of person. Upon one's first impression, one would think this lovely, petite, has it all together woman would abhor farm life. At best, she would admire farm life from a safe, clean distance. Not only was my first impression wrong, but I was also impressed. After chatting with Ms. K and her family while they perused the soap, they asked if it would be possible to see the baby piglets. The Bibbed Wonder, never one to miss an opportunity to show off his porcine prizes, happily took them to the pasture with the pigs. I cringed at the thought of this lovely lady fraternizing with Eric's filthy porcine princesses. Not because they are 600 pounds of mass that think nothing of bowling one over; but because they are affection hogs and will stop at nothing to get one's attention and back scratches.

I warned Ms. K that there was a genuine possibility she would get dirty. She came out of the mama pigs pasture, mostly unscathed. However, The Bibbed Wonder can never refrain from showing off his bacon, so to the feeder pig pasture, they all went. Again, I warned Ms. K she would more than likely get dirty. She replied, "How bad can it be?" I must tell you, dear reader, it was bad. It was really bad. All the little pigs came out of the creek bed and made a beeline for their humans and new friends. Because they are used to treats, back scratches, and belly rubs, there was no stopping the horde of porcine walkers. As filthy, dripping piggies surrounded Ms. K, she exclaimed, "They are like the zombies on The Walking Dead!" Being a WD fan myself, I thoroughly appreciate her very accurate comparison. Ms. K's outfit faired about as well as an unprepared human in a zombie apocalypse. Her lovely boots were covered in mud and muck. However, it was her black jeans that took the brunt of the muddy little snouts, the filthy little hooves, and the itchy little butt rubs. In short, Ms. K was a mess.

She handled it with all the calmness and decorum of a farm girl. A big shout out to Ms. K for never once complaining, never wrinkling her nose, never commenting on the foul odors now permeating from her person, or the sudden slipperiness on the bottom of her boots. She is a class act. She simply picked up her soap bag...which I filled with a bar of extra soap and lotion...she definitely earned it. She laughed the whole way across the driveway to her immaculate car, where she proceeded to remove her muddy britches, all the while teasing and yelling, "No peeking!" She then hung them out the car window and commenced her ride home in her underpants. I did give her a garbage bag to house her muddy drawers for the ride home. It was a day of laughter, memory making, and will long be a topic in our household. The Bean missed out on all the fun and shenanigans and will be regretful of such. GramBarb's high-speed internet and Netflix is no match for fun on the farm.

Although taking myself out of my safe little circle is a challenge at times, it is always rewarding when I do so. I am always fascinated and surprised by those I meet and the knowledge I glean from such wonderful interactions. If I stayed in my comfort zone, I would never have met the wonderful Ms. K, her charmingly goading husband, or delightful son. It was one more positive for the record book of 2020.

As always dear reader, please continue to stay safe, stay smart, remove yourself from your comfort zone and welcome new people into your circle, and wash those hands.

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