When I’m not talking, I am thinking. Not always a good balance of time interspersed with sleeping, listening and driving and other things that fill a day. Waking up this morning, after a few days of time away was a struggle. It wasn’t that I didn’t get rest or sleep. I wasn’t in the mood to begin my week. It’s kind of a rare occurrence because I really do like what I do but I just wasn’t feeling it (as people, who I don’t know well, but think about, say). I believe there is a phenomenon called the Monday morning blues that sometimes strikes, that essentially says….the week ahead seems about one month long. It didn’t have anything to do with the Oscars last night since it’s never that serious, until last night, when it was just weird.
The morning started the usual way, which means on my way to the elevator, I do a flight check in the hall to make sure I have my coffee, my bag (which really contains nothing I look at or need during the day, but you never know), my lunch and my phone, and that I am wearing a pair of shoes that match one another. This morning, as I was halfway in a sprint, I imagined, correctly, that my phone was on the nightstand. It was not my imagination, it was my reality. I felt like Charlie Brown after Lucy moves the football. It was an “Aaugh!” moment. I went back to retrieve it. I missed the elevator which is not like missing a train, but sometimes feels like it might have been the last one. I could walk down the stairs but I was not in the mood. I waited and waited and finally it pulled into the station. It was a local and stopped at every floor. My instincts were correct. Not going to be anything but a Monday. All of these thoughts occurred as I smiled at neighbors, welcomed them onto the elevator, offered to push their floor, and finally, allowed them to “please go ahead, I am late anyway”. Social convention makes me smile when I want to growl. Getting into the car and out of the garage became somewhat of a Keystone Cop experience as all four people who were riding the elevator with me all seemed to be leaving simultaneously. It seems statistically impossible, but today it was going to happen. All I was thinking was “get out of my way!” but what I motioned was “please, go ahead…I’m not in a rush. I don’t want you to hit my car, so go first, second, third and so on.”
At 7 a.m. when I hit the road to head to work, there aren’t that many people around. Yet, those that were, were all in front of me. They were all going well below the speed limit. I turned the radio up so I could listen to the news, which you all know is not so good these days. I decided that the thoughts in my head were loud enough. I turned off the radio. My commute, is less than seven minutes, so that is nothing I ever complain about but is not always the right amount of time to readjust my attitude. I found a parking space and figured if I averted eye contact with colleagues getting out of their cars, I could make a beeline to my office, shut the door and regroup. Not today. People were in good spirits which in my head, sounded annoying. However, I smiled and asked how their break was and made the small talk I tried to avoid. I almost made it to the office without further conversation and when I arrived with my key in hand, a voice behind me said “Can I talk to you?” I turned and it was a very sweet, but clearly upset ninth grader with eyes full of tears. I didn’t growl. I smiled and did my work. I filled the day with kids, which is usually one of the best parts of my day. I made it through for the eight hours in front of me. It was fine and sometimes better than fine.
After the school day ended, I was alone again with my thoughts and the people, who I was convinced, knew I was leaving work, and they were ready to drive wherever I was. I told myself that the afternoon was going to be fine. I had a few errands to run and kept up a lively conversation, in my head about my end goal. I was looking forward to being home, making dinner and hanging out with my FHB. I had four destinations before heading home. So far, so good. The last stop was the library which is a holy place for me but there was no time to stay and commune, I had miles to go (okay two miles) before I slept. I returned my books and as I walked out and down the steps, I noticed the quiet around me. The wind was kicking up a bit, but it was still sunny. I slowed my pace down and took in the beauty around me. There were also no visible people (though I didn’t look in the trees to see if any were ready to pounce). I had been to the bank earlier and put my withdrawal in my pocket. As I got to my car, the wind pushed the envelope out of my pocket and it was now flying down the street. I did not measure the velocity but it was moving faster than me. I had another Charlie Brown moment. I am sure I also had a somewhat crazed look on my face. It is a genteel little town, so I kept the conversation in my head as I ran (gross exaggeration for anyone who knows, I neither run or trot) toward the envelope. I was gaining on it and then a gust lifted it up, and amazingly, against the tire of my car. I dove with the grace of Esther Williams (not!) and recovered the envelope and clutched it to my chest. The conversation in my head took a couple of turns and there was, I admit, some name-calling. I forgave myself and laughed out loud. I let the wind take my bad mood and sent it out to sea. I made it home with only one woman in the car behind me, talking to herself but really talking to everyone who was in front of her. I recognized a kindred spirit and let her go ahead of me.