I am generally aware of the people I am speaking with. I try to be polite and not gossip. I am gracious to my host or hostess. I was raised with good manners. But it seems that on this particular day I became just a plain, old-fashioned ass. I have no idea what came over me and if I really could have a do-over I would.
I had a space of time in my summer break when I didn’t have a job and it would be helpful if I had one. I didn’t necessarily have to have one, but the extra money would be appreciated as I left for another semester of school. My best friend’s mother worked for a fairly large general contractor in Southern California and as luck would have it, her front office receptionist went on her vacation. To save her company the extra fees associated with a temporary replacement, she hired me instead and I had a job for an entire week from 9:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night. The company would pay me at the same rate as their receptionist, a very generous hourly rate, and I honestly only had to sit there on the offhand chance the phone might ring. All their phone calls went through an automated system and the only calls that filtered through to the front office receptionist were from those callers who “dialed 0 for the operator”.
I felt guilty for essentially being paid for nothing, so I would beg to type minutes from meetings or letters. Sometimes I would be able to send faxes or file things, but mostly I read. That was the week I was paid to read a four-hundred page biography. There was only one irritation in that entire week, and I really had no right to even feel it. I would be covered for a one hour lunch by a delivery person who was constantly late from his lunch. He, too, had a one hour lunch but would consistently take almost two hours. My lunch would then be postponed because I would be waiting for him to come back in order to cover me. This would be incredibly frustrating when I could look up from my book — seriously, right? — and see him sleeping in the back end of his truck well past his one hour curfew.
On the last day of my time there, all the women in the office were taken out to lunch. I do not remember why. I hadn’t expected to be part of this group since I was only temporary, but I was. I was relieved for a couple reasons: first, I’d be able to enjoy lunch with my best friend and her mom, and second, I’d be able to have lunch at a normal time.
It was getting close to my hour limit and I was feeling a little itchy to get back to my desk. While the guy who covered me was always late, I didn’t like to be late. The company was generously paying for my lunch breaks and I felt it would be dishonest to be paid for time past the one hour. I mentioned to my friend’s mom that I should be returning and she said that it was okay for me to stay a little longer. And this is moment when I all of a sudden had rocks in my head.
I said to my best friend who sat in front of me that I was grateful her mom said I could stay longer because if the guy who covered me could have an extra hour to just sleep in his truck than I could at least be able to have a few extra minutes to finish my Coke. Her eyes went huge as I continued complaining. I can’t remember what else I said, but I do remember complaining about how he was always late and I thought it rude and dishonest. Finally, my friend kicked me under the table. The kick did me some good because it dislodged the stupid out of me.
His sister was sitting right next to me.
Oh good grief, I had completely forgotten about his sister and I felt like I was such an ungrateful bitch. And I was. I really was. I could barely finish out my last day there, and I knew my apologies were not accepted.
I am sure that day and moment is long forgotten by that brother and sister but it isn’t by me. I have remembered it even 17 years later. I learned that day to be kind. To be patient. To grateful for what I have, whatever it might be. And to not speak about others that you wouldn’t want to have repeated to them.
I’ve lost friendships, weight, hope, patience, tears, keys, my mind, money, faith, and inspiration. I misplaced clothes and coupons along with bills, my car in countless parking lots, baby socks, recipes, and grudges. I couldn’t find the point sometimes, see the purpose, understand the reason, or otherwise otherwise bother with it. Whatever it was. I lost respect for some. I lost my cool and even my usual ability to remain calm in certain circumstances. I lost my place in lines, in books, in projects, in belly dance routines. I lost my way, lost my purpose, lost my style — no I didn’t, that’s a bluff.
Yet I gained new experiences, new relationships and memories. Found new hope and faith, came across my inspiration again. I still lose my keys, but I always find them. I’m finding points that matter and purposes that make a difference, gaining understanding that will improve my world and my parenting. I keep my calm, bother with things that are botherable. Respect the people who deserve it — along with trust. I have found better ways to menu plan and to keep track of recipes, take pictures of where I park my car and don’t worry about lines anymore. I also just buy more socks.
What is lost, most of the time, is sometimes meant to be lost just so it can be found again. The finding of things is more important.
The weather is cold. Seasons are changing. Life is temperamental. Today I saw this beautiful and powerful image meant as a reminder for women to go out and vote. However, I didn’t need to remember to vote.
No. I’m not powerless. Power doesn’t come from somewhere else. It’s not given to me by anyone else. It comes from my own heart and from inside me. No where else. I can’t ever forget that or I will be lost.
I have many excuses to be angry lately. Not just a little bit mad or even a little annoyed. If I ate my hurt feelings lately I would be a Vegas buffet — but a lot less tacky. Something happened tonight that I should have really reacted to. In fact, I have every right to be not only angry about what has happened, but extraordinarily hurt.
Instead, I laughed. Just laughed. Because really, what else can be done? I’ve already been through hell and back so many times in the last few years that I don’t need any more damn souvenirs. And I just can’t be bothered anymore with irrelevant emotion, especially when it comes at the hands of those who are not worthy of emoting.
I am so very grateful for the gift of laughter. May it grace my life and heart for years to come and may it always be my constant companion.