Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Creating a Moment to Live In

I am having a hell of a day. Having, not even had and it's almost 10PM - do you know where your last nerve is!?

I have a deadline that's killing me. The project is huge and complicated and my heart just isn't in it but I love my house and the bank is funny about mortgage payments. Plus the money from this project will keep from needing to get a 3rd job come February.

I have this nasty habit of projecting - and when I project I panic. I take not meeting a deadline (I'll probably meet it anyway - I always do) and project it all the way to financial ruin and living like a troll under a bridge. I pull up stuff from my past, mix it with fears of the future, add a dash of today's annoyances and voila - one crazy cocktail.

So I'm down here in the hole - uh - luxurious basement office and I'm telling myself to live in the moment. Except at the moment I'm trying to fix the paper tray for my very expensive, fancy schmancy laser printer. It keeps telling me the paper isn't legal - I swear I paid for the paper with US currency on American soil. WTF!? Does my paper need papers.

And then it dawns on me - I cleaned the paper tray and maybe the little green paper guide thingie isn't aligned - so I grab the thingie and I gently tug at it - and it comes off in my hand, not even a clean break, there isn't a glue crazy enough to fix this mother.

I need a different moment to live in.

As I sit down to calmly and professionally ponder my situation by crying I instantly remember a lady I met a few weeks ago at Job #2. - the big-ass retail store.

"We have to do what we have to do" she told me the day I met her. "Even if we're not doing too good at the moment" she continued.

She had come into the store to buy herself a new sweater. I guess she's in her 70s - she looked so fragile but I made her smile and laugh (my favorite part of the job). I even convinced her to pick a bright color that matched her lipstick.

She handed me an expired credit card which led us into a search of her purse that was a lot like traveling through time. She had dozens of credit cards in there - from old and expired to new and unactivated. Most of them weren't signed. I was about to say this was a problem when I saw how nervous she was so I asked her if we could spend a few moments together. Thank goodness the department was empty! If somebody behind her had complained I mighta, hadda killed them.

We lined up all the cards - destroyed the old ones, she signed the new ones and we called and activated them. While in the purse we found a coupon for 20% off the sweater - score! as my son would say. We also found coupons for brands that don't exist anymore.

She thanked me a million times and left.

A few minutes later I was headed outside for my break when I ran into my new friend in TVs. She looked so happy to see me! She said she felt so good about her cards being in order that she was going to get a new TV. The one she had now was very old and snowy and she wanted to get cable - plus she had been watching the Price is Right for days before realizing Bob Barker had become Drew Carey - she giggled just like my Grandmother used to.

We picked out a TV together, I arranged for it to be delivered and we walked to her car. She told me I was a "sweet girl" - I love being called a girl, especially since I was born fully grown. As she was getting into her car she told me she had started out thinking it was going to be a bad day, a day she wouldn't be able to handle - her husband had passed away a few weeks earlier and this was the first time she was venturing out on her own. They had done everything together and she felt she couldn't manage alone.

And "now look" she beamed - "I have a beautiful sweater, a new TV and my purse isn't crazy anymore" - Oh she reminded me of Nana.

I gave her my number and told her to call me if she needed anything. She said she would but I shouldn't worry - she felt good, she felt stronger.

She hasn't called for help but she does call to ask me how I'm doing and to tell me I'm a "good girl" and to talk about all the new shows she's discovering. In January I'm going to teach her how to use the DVR.

At the moment that I decided to connect with her I had created a moment I could live in later. As Nana used to say - "Who knew!?"

Off to find the crazy glue! I feel stronger.


cathy said...

now i wish i could really write so i could tell you how this touched me.


Dianne said...

You just told me Cathy, thank you.

Steph said...

How beautiful an experience...it made me cry and gave me hope.

Jeni said...

THAT was a great story - very well told/written as well as done by you! You are, indeed, a "very nice girl" to have helped that poor woman get her life on track. Sad to say but most people would have pretty much just pushed her aside.

Dianne said...

thank you steph and jeni - much appreciated and I'm happy the story touched you.

I really did get as much help from my "store friend" as I gave, actually more since she really came to me last night and turned a bad moment around.

thank you for visiting and commenting :)

cher said...

Imagine being able to connect with a customer in the retail world. It's a good thing you found each other before the 'Christmas Rush' began.

I used to do stuff like that on my job. Stuff that went "above and beyond". I wasn't supposed to help people as much as I did. But it was the only way to get any satisfaction.

Thanks for that lovely story, Dianne. Wait till you teach your new friend how to use DVR. There'll be no stopping her!

cathy said...

remember everyone, that inside every little old lady there is a little girl screaming, "what the hell happened?"

gpa don said...

You are a good girl! In Dubuque, we call that a Random Act of Kindness. My neighbor will be 94 Friday, and I always smile when I remember all the nice feelings I receive from conversations with her. BTW, she mows her own grass and shovels her snowy sidewalks. She is amazing and always lifts my spirit.
gpa don

Dianne said...

these comments are making me smile. isn't it wonderful to share stuff that makes you feel good, that stirs a good memory.

kudos to your neighbor gpa don - she does sound amazing. and I've always been a believer in "random acts of kindness" - the smallest thing, the briefest moment can change a person's entire day and they will pass that on.

there is power in kindness