Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

So, today was an "fair to middlin'" travel day (I'm getting back to my Texas roots). I took one of those huge planes, with the middle seats, from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale, and fell asleep while reading The Stand, and proceeded to have some pretty disturbing dreams, with the Walkin' Dude and yes, Scott, I get your allusion to the black woman in Colorado now, and then I woke up to a hand gripping my shoulder. The poor guy was just trying to tell me that we were landing. I almost screamed but I think I managed to just GASP at him. How embarrassing. That's what a night of 4 hours of fitful sleep will get you. I think Stephen King is not good for my chronic insomnia problem.

ANYway, I got to Ft. Lauderdale, and went to pick up my rental car. Now, I'm an "express member" with Dollar, meaning I don't wait in line, I just walk in, see my name on the little electronic board, and proceed directly to my parking space. Pretty sweet, huh? Huh? Except, here in Ft. Lauderdale, there wasn't an electronic board with names on it, so I just got in line. The nice gentleman told me I didn't have to, and to proceed directly to parking space F2. Then he stopped me and said "Oh, Ma'am? We ran out of economy cars, so I upgraded you at no charge." I was like "SWEET!" But... guess what car I got??

A CLOWN CAR.

That's right. It's a clown car. In Electric Blue. And you know how I'm petrified of clowns. The best part of this story is this: tonight, I went to eat at one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in the U.S. of A. After I'm full of awesome food and awesome wine and awesome company, and I drive my clown car back to the hotel and decide to take a walk on the beach. While I'm admiring the white breaks of the waves and remembering how the ocean never neglects to make me feel insignificant, I decide to call Krysten... she had a tough weekend and I thought our oceanfront-property-in-Arizona gal would like to hear the actual ocean. So, I let her hear the ocean, and we're chatting, and I say... "hey, guess what, when I went to pick up my rental car today, they said they were out of economies and that they upgraded me for no additional charge," to which she replied "YOU GOT A PT CRUISER!!?!"

I almost fell over from laughing (or, maybe it was the stilettos in the sand). How the hell? Yep, same thing happened to her. Apparently there are enough PT Cruisers to go around. Shocker.

So, today I worked today for the first time since Dec. 15, and I must confess to forgetting how to do some things. Work, frankly, is for the birds. Being a grown-up just... blows. Can I get a do-over?

Something I was thinking about today: Over Thanksgiving, I stopped at the drugstore in Houston. I went inside to grab something. It was late... after 9pm. The lady who checked me out was probably about my age, although she looked 10 years older. She was hunched over and never really looked me in the eye, and she seemed pleased and embarrassed when I asked how she was doing and actually waited for her to answer. She still never looked up from her slump, but she did tell me that she liked my coat... and I was just... overcome with sadness for this girl. She was just... SAD. (I totally speculate of course, maybe she is a brilliantly happy and shy person, and who am I to judge?) I couldn't help but think about her life... the night shift at Walgreen's... how many people ask her how her night is going? And of those, how many care to hear the answer? We talked for a minute about my pink coat, and how there's a reason people wear black coats (the coffee stains on my sleeve) and I didn't really learn anything about her, but I haven't forgotten her. Her name was Eileen.

Anyway, I was thinking about her tonight, because I encounter "her" all the time, all over the country, in various positions in the service industry. I, too, work in the service industry. How many people a day care to ask me how my day is going? The answer, sadly, is few... and fewer still that wait for an answer.

So, today, ask someone how his/her day is going. Mean it, and wait for the answer. It could really make a difference in someone's day.

3 Comments:

Blogger Giovanna said...

Oh J I do that all the time. I was just thinking about that a week or two ago, after hearing some report on NPR about jobs. There are so many people who we encounter doing jobs we don't even consider... and we never even look at them. They are people, they are no different, we are no better... someone with a job, someone who cleans toilets, who rings up my groceries...they are making a living and working! So much is made about public assistance, well there are people willing to work hard and do what needs to be done. I ALWAYS talk to people. It's that bit of connection that keeps up humble, in touch, in line, in life...

I tip people well when I can too. They derserve it, and appreciate it.

January 10, 2006 8:23 PM  
Blogger krysten said...

haha, i'm wearing my "Clowns are Scary" shirt today.

;-)

dont forget about the horn...i even taught bryce to imitate it by saying "poot!"

yeah, that car's a winner.

January 11, 2006 7:12 AM  
Blogger hello jamie: said...

I have been coveting that shirt for a long while. I forgot about the horn; I'll poot it tonight! :-)

January 11, 2006 7:18 AM  

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