I have been dubbed by many "The Gold Star Lady." I like it. There is something about being given such a moniker with "Lady" at the end that makes me sound crazy and eccentric, like someone with a big cozy messy house, a lot of pets...I have no pets, barring the small frogs we are caring for in our neighbors' absence, but my alter-ego has many of them wandering about. She, unlike me, doesn't care about shedding fur.
The other morning, as I sat at Parco, working on a few things and waiting, like always there, for magic to strike, a woman who had sat down at the next table with her young daughter leaned toward me.
"Are you the Gold Star Lady?" she asked.
I smiled, picturing my eccentric alter-ego. "Yes," I said, looking at her more closely, eyes narrowed, trying to remember the circumstance in which she received her star.
"Oh!" I said, "You're the lady who was covered head to toe in water-proof gear!"
It was her turn to smile. "Yes," she said. "I have to tell you, that star made my day! It was pouring, I was having such a hard time..."
"I noticed," I said, laughing, "that's why I gave you the star. I'm so glad it helped!"
"I was just saying to a friend how nobody seems to notice other people..."
I nodded. "I agree, that's why I started this project," I said. "But it's so hard. I believe in it so much and, yet, it is hard to figure how to get the word out, to promote it, to make it a wider effort." I shook my head, sadly, frustrated, as I got up to go.
We introduced ourselves and I gave her my card. As I walked out, she looked up. "Hang in there," she said, "You're changing lives!"
I could have kissed her. I think it's the nicest thing anyone has said to me since I started the project, it is, of course, my greatest aim.
I looked at her with intense gratitude. It was as if she had given me a huge gold star. "Thank you soooo much," I said, "that is really, really nice of you to say."
With a wave, I was off. There was a bounce in my step as I bounded off to yoga, ready, now, to relax and elongate, happy in my head knowing that even if my little project stays just as it is, I am affecting people positively. That is, in the end, all that really matters.