It’s a rainy Saturday evening here in Chicago. My ever-changing, always artful scene of Lake Michigan is quite hampered at the moment, as a shield of fog has completely ‘dampened’ the view. Strangely comforting, I might add. You know, like a favorite blanket; comfortable, calming, and familiar.
Ah, that leads me to my topic for my Saturday evening chat! Comfort: it can appear in all sorts of forms, can’t it? Why, besides comfy blankets, perhaps we find ourselves with various foods that bring comfort and instant happiness. Maybe it’s music, or places and experiences. Comfort zones.
When we are out of, or away from our comfort zones, things become awkward, uneasy, and at times, downright frightening. I recall an experience I had when I first arrived in Chicago. As I approached a grocery store entrance, I noticed something extremely unfamiliar to me: security guards. What on earth? I had never experienced such a sight before, and it unnerved me. Was there to be a sudden stampede due to a sale on melons?
I relaxed somewhat when I entered the store; things seemed fairly straight-forward; but wait! Do my eyes deceive me, or is that………… yes, it is an alcohol section! In a grocery store! Once again my comfort zone zen was shaken a bit. For some of you this may seem trite and silly; however, everyone has their own comfort zones, and for me, whiskey and packaged walnuts somehow didn’t fit together. Nonetheless, I soon became quite used to liquor and laundry goods sold under the same roof.
And then, just as I felt I was building a new comfort zone level, something that had never happened to me occurred when I least expected it. As I extended my short self’s reach to an upper shelf for a large bag of Cheetos (in Canada we call them, “Cheezies”) a man approached me and said, “Hey, can ya give me 10 bucks?” I dropped the Cheetos, dashed away as fast as I could, and virtually almost ran down a store clerk.
“Ma’am, is everything alright?” asked the clerk. Perhaps I should have asked him that, now that I think about it; after all, I almost knocked him over. With what must have been the most bizarre look on my face I managed to say, “A man………..he asked me for ten dollars………….he’s in the snack aisle.” Clearly the fellow realized this was my ‘first rodeo’ as the saying goes.
He nodded his head but said not a word. I continued: “I’m from Canada, and nothing like that has ever happened to me before in a grocery store!” With a grin as wide as the aisle this dear fellow said, “Well, you’re in Chicago now!” And with that, I realized my Canadian comfort zone was gone.
Since that experience, I’ve had this sort of thing happen a number of times with nary a second glance from yours truly. Adaptable creatures, we humans. And so, I find that my comfort zones have shifted somewhat. I guess you could say I am continuously expanding awareness of my surroundings, and I do believe that is always a good thing. We grow when we step outside of our comfort zone.
What about you, do you have certain ‘comfort zones’, foods, or situations that bring you a cozy blanket feeling?
Oh, I must sign off for now; my favorite tv program is starting, and I need to get wrapped up in my comfy comforter! Okay, some comfort zones remain the same no matter where I am!