This morning, I was indulging an urge for a special breakfast at a
local deli-- a Nova lox and fried onion omelette-- truly something
one should try at least once. This was an urge I'd been fighting
for almost six months, since I'd started on an effort to become
more Vegan in my eating-- no dairy, no animal products.
Frankly, a purist would say I'm a total failure, but I'm
pretty pleased with how much I've cut out milk, cheese and eggs, as
well as meat. I put fish back into my diet about a month after
going straight vegan, and now, I decided to put eggs back in. But
that is only peripherally related to the crazy part of the
Shortly after I sat down to eat, an elderly woman came in with
a man, probably in his 40s. He was odd looking and she was
pushing one of those collapsible baby strollers. But there was no
baby in it. She was using it as a walker.
I was trying to read a book by an author I'll be interviewing
in a few weeks. Her loud voice kept distracting me. I spent five
years working in acute psychiatric care, back in the seventies,
right out of college, and I can tell a psychiatric patient when I
see one. She was one. Every few minutes she'd start talking loudly
about religion, reciting hail Marys, just acting oddly enough to
confirm my suspicions. Then, she had a very loud phone call with
someone, telling the caller on the other end to go to confession,
that priests hear everything, from murderers and people who have
It wasn't like she was doing anything particularly bizarre,
but the picture added up. I was sure she was a long-time
psychiatric case and frankly, the noise level was annoying.
Then, she announced, loud enough for most of the restaurant to
hear, that she was going to the bathroom before they departed. She
walked towards me and stopped, looking directly at
"Do you believe in miracles," she asked.
I paused, for a few seconds, nonplussed, and replied, "Yes I
"Good... even flowers," she added, with a nod, as she
continued, pushing her pink baby stroller towards the Lady's
"Even flowers," I thought to myself.
She'd transformed herself from a loud, moderately annoying
head case to someone who had, in a moment, with a few words,
brought some magic and a smile to me.
On the way back from the restroom she stopped and asked my
name. I told her and she shared with me, "My daughter's getting
discharged from Friends Hospital today." Friends is one of the
oldest inpatient psychiatric hospitals in America. It's on the same
grounds as the outpatient mental health center I worked at for
almost four years, while I was putting myself through grad
I asked if I could take her picture. I did, with my
"So fast! It's done already?" she exclaimed. I showed it to
I'm only showing part of her face to maintain some anonymity.
I'm only showing part of her face to
maintain some anonymity. by rob kall
(Image by rob kall) Details DMCA
Her son, a burly bearded guy, in an extremely high, odd
soprano voice, muttered to himself that he didn't like
Okay. So, I'd nailed my layman diagnosis. But I'm writing this
because what came out of my interaction with her was something
beautiful-- far from what I'd expected.
It might be a good thing to remember in these crazy times we
Sometimes, out of something or from someone that seems really
crazy, we find unexpected beauty, magic and a reminder of what's
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.
Check out his platform at RobKall.com
He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity
He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)