Who knew that a visit to the local Jiffy Lube on the busiest weekend of the year would yield such an energizing meeting with a stranger? I sat in the dingy waiting room with an older, full-statured woman with a walking stick leaning against her chair. We began to make small talk about how seemingly single woman getting oil changes have to be particularly strong at a Jiffy Lube in terms of turning down all the sell-ups from the management. The conversation morphed into a discussion of food, family, literature, and travel.
This woman had been a single mom of two children, and had worked for 40 years in NYC public schools, specializing in working with adolescents. “Adolescents are all hormones, and I really relate to that!” she said with a cackle. Every so often she would use curse words to great effect – “it’s not fucking bad” (about retirement); “that’s fucking bullshit” (in regard to asking a woman if she’s going to have children any time soon). She held herself with great command, despite her obesity and her shuffling walk – a kind of solidity that told me that this woman was comfortable in her skin. The fact that she cursed with abandon was encouraging – the words were beautiful to me. They only emphasized her wisdom and sense of empowerment.
I really felt appreciative of this obscure meeting while I waited for my oil change. Here, of all places, she was my connection to the Goddess mother Demeter. And even to the wise old crone. I felt enlivened and brighter for meeting her.
(I’ve been reading a fabulous book, which allows me to imagine Goddesses in Jiffy Lubes – It’s called “Life’s Daughter / Death’s Bride – Inner Transformations through the Goddess Demeter / Persephone” by Kathie Carlson. Also see “Women who run with the wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes for connection to wise-woman myths.)