Blessings in Disguise.



Two weeks ago, inexplicably, or as fate would have it, or Providentially, or whichever persuasion suits the reader’s bent, I tripped over my Stability Ball and crashed to the floor. Tendering a bruise the size of your fist on my left hip and a swelling injury to the outer wrist, being a professional musician I did not take this lying down. Oh, wait. Well, you get the picture.

Wouldn’t we discover that, being forced to juggle a performing schedule, I would choose to push back one event by a month, the full length recital for which collaborative piano was my commitment and which was to have been presented two and a half full hours prior to call for another ensemble performance.

As the referenced weekend approached, the demand from the rest of the music – one Bach Cantata No. 4, for which I was to provide cello continuo – soon became evident; had I remained committed to the recital date as well, the mental gymnastics would have been excruciating. Neuroplasticity is not the forte of the post-menopausal, nor is any inclination toward proving feats of extraordinary finesse. Ask your mother.

Quite without warning, perhaps due to a combination of immediate attention to emergent need and a diathermic dinosaur complete with pallets for paws at the chiropractor’s office, the wrist healed within three days. The Bach, rumor has it, was exquisite.

Bach’s music is always exquisite. No respectable musician ever takes the credit. Oh; and, the flute student for whom the recital was rescheduled would reveal no small relief at a reprieve of several weeks. So, one full on resolution for the composition book.

Within days of the performance of the Cantata, I joined the Y.

Yes. That was an abrupt modulation. Middle aged women hold the monopoly. Tell your father. Having narrowly escaped a ruptured ulnar ligament, I’d call it gratitude.

Traveling light being the preference of the standard cellist, I arrived with application form completed and my driver’s license in hand, for verification. When it came time to head to the track, simultaneously discovering that I had no pockets outside of the jacket which would take its place on the wall of hooks, I reached down and slid the license into the elastic belly band of my yoga pants.

Two miles later, and eighteen solid months of support cushioned, sofa seated decompensation, my right hip flexor hit raging revolt. Off to the chiropractor, for round two.

He, being the intuitive by practice, rejected my presumption toward decompression and began to manipulate my lower appendages like a pretzel maker’s apprentice. The volume of vocalizations generated from deep in my diaphragm embarrassed all the men in the waiting room, but he would show no mercy. This is the role of the healer, after all; pain is proof.

It wouldn’t be until I’d been home for over an hour that any realization would come.

My driver’s license. was. missing.

In full celebration of advancing age, I searched the pockets of my coat. Then, the corners of the car seat, and between, and across the drive to the brick path leading from the house, and again. After which, the phone calls ensued – first, to the administrative offices of the Y, complete with reprimand regarding the absence of fair warning with respect to theft on premises; then, to the chiropractor, asking for complete search of the chair and examining table. Lord knows, the pretzel I had assumed that afternoon was convoluted enough to dislodge a gallbladder, let alone one flat, laminated card placed squarely beneath my bellybutton.

Earning nothing whatsoever except a round of apologies, I loaded my ammo for the email onslaught. No amount of ten plus years in the service industry would permit me any compassion toward any part time temp who cared insufficiently for my encroaching needs as a woman old enough to be everybody’s mother. I mean everybody. Give me the old woman’s shoe. I’ll make it my palace. What are you looking at?

The mind’s tricks are unfathomable. They lie in wait to deceive. The tactile memory of arising from the commode infiltrated like a stealth trooper, accompanied by fleeting contact between object and point of arrival. Inorganic object, to be sure; this was no common lavatory caper.

I looked down at the belly band of my yoga pants. And, then I remembered. Lifting it, I did what every bewildered existentialist did in the ’60s: I stared at my navel. I had no choice. There was nothing else there.

Convinced that I had flushed the driver’s license down the toilet, I made the requisite, illegal trip up the miracle mile to the DMV, declared mine to be the Story of the Week, paid the $27 fee, and drove legitimately back down the hill for home.

Then, just as my mother before me, and every other Daughter of the Great Depression (look it UP), I dug out the recently acquired, turquoise LED flashlight from the ValuHome dollar bin, and the scalloped foam Outdoor brand knee pad, also strangely turquoise, and made one, final, dedicated effort to search the depths of the car floor for the license.

Setting the pad on the driveway cement, I placed my dormant knees on the turquoise foam, crouched forward, and stuck my whole head of smelling henna under the front seat.

No generational equivalent of illumination could have prepared me for what that mini-LED wand would unearth. There, between, the seat and the gearshift compartment, lodged in that raw, steel Mechanism of Death, was a white, laminated card.

The Highmark. PPO. Blue. medical. insurance. card.

The one I’d blamed the local ER intake department for retaining. The last time I’d presented with migraine induced vertigo. That one. Don’t point. Pointing is rude.

Now, most west side Italian girls were raised Catholic. I’m an east side transplant. This is enough to skew all the statistics, baffle the bigots, and make the idiots really angry. But, I will thank the Patron saints, the ones who protect all those who travel and those who search, for listening, loving, and then teaching even the oldest woman in the room that blessings always arrive in the shimmering, brilliant, mystery of disguise.




© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 4/16/16     All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. And, please. Don’t stare.








2 thoughts on “Blessings in Disguise.

    1. Oh! Yah! I meant to add a postscript. Couldn’t get the rhythm. It appeared on the bathroom floor, under the edge of the built in cabinet under the sink. A blind spot, only visible from the next room when the door is open! BUT – now, I have two cards – one for the purse, and one for the cello case. Makes concert trips light and airy!


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