I did not have a good time last night. The day started off pleasantly enough, with me biding my time at my Brand New Artisty Job™ (wherein my sole duty and responsibility is to draw and color – yes, you can be jealous now). I got a few compliments/comments on my work which made me very happy; I follow in the rather large and rather more vastly talented footsteps of one Miss Angela Duncan and it has taken me a while to find my stride, so any little aside can function to either make or break my day/mindset. I got a great hug, I bought a great cold prepared dinner to eat later, I got a great surprise in the mail (and also an impending water shut-off notice, which will be remedied post-haste) and I cashed in a comparatively great big paycheck from The Job Which Does Not Require Coloring (i.e. the boring one).
Then I set off to go to the barn and drop off this month’s board money, and things went downhill. I don’t know if it’s more appropriate to say they went downhill very quickly from a steep peak and so thus the momentum was incredible, or to say they went downhill very slowly and laboriously at a gentle roll and at a sub-molasses speed. Either way, it was infuriating.
I got stuck in light snow heavy traffic, for what felt like forever and an hour. An hour and a half into my journey, only halfway to my destination, my car, temperamental at best, was threatening to pull the plug on the whole situation by crapping out on me in the very muddled middle of bumper to bumper traffic. As I struggled navigating through to the right lanes and get out of the mile-long parking lot, the engine labored to do the same, whining and growling as I alternately sweet-talked and admonished it. I got off at Telegraph, hereto and henceforth known as “Never Again Will I Get On This Road,” and pulled into a Rite Aid to let the engine cool down. After what felt like a decent amount of time but was regrettably not, we two pissed-off things made our way to the road again, battling a total of eight solid lanes of traffic to get back on our less than merry way.
One mile and one expletive-laced phone call to my barn owner later, the car, unsatisfied with its brief respite from stop-and-go traffic, phoned in again. I ended up pulling over at an honest-to-god trucker’s truck stop, complete with adult paraphernalia, showers, and rentable beds, in the middle of nowhere, still 16.5 miles away from the barn, carrying an unsafe amount of cash and lugging about my brand new laptop. It didn’t sound like it was going to go well.
It was 6.10 pm, two hours after I’d left, and I still hadn’t eaten, and I didn’t dare see if the truck stop facilities had a microwave so I could heat up my dinner, lest I get cozy and forge a new life among diesel fuels and fumes, so I bunkered down in an attached Subway. I ignored the ’15 minute parking – all violators towed’ sign and abandoned my car to the elements and authorities, reveling in the extra five minutes I took in the semi-warmth of the building. I ate what seemed like the best sub sandwich ever, and finished my Graham Greene book, and guarded my laptop with my life and my body, and racked up what seemed like a million Foursquare points, and then I tentatively went back outside, almost sort of hoping that my car had gotten towed anyway. It wasn’t. I added a quart of motor oil to it, because my limited and probably erroneous knowledge of cars dictates that there is little that can’t be cured by more oil.
That twenty-two minute break had left the engine feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, like those girls in all those rejuvenating facial wash commercials who prance around seemingly happy to be alive and awake the night after a regrettable bender. We were back on the road in no time, and the traffic and the snow had been downgraded to a minor threat. My barn owner texted to tell me to call her if my car exploded, but I didn’t want to tell her that if it exploded, I hoped to hell I’d go with it. Because then she’d think I was just getting out of paying her, you see.
Three hours after I’d left, two hours after I should have gotten there, I finally got to the barn, handed a wad of cash to Sabrina, and basked in the heavenly hell-like glow and warmth of the feed room space heater for a few minutes before I left to brave the streets again. The drive back took all of 54 minutes and zero percent of my sanity, if I’d had any left after the drive there.
After a delicious Thai meal, scratch-off lottery ticket party with my mom and two kids I’ve known since they were in diapers, and an 18-year old video of me riding one of my favorite horses ever, around midnight I finally left for home for good. Except that I took the wrong freeway junction and ended up lost and my phone died on me just as I was looking up how the hell to get home on my GPS.
An hour later, I was sweetly, gloriously, belatedly, devastatingly home. The dog went outside, and the pants came off, and then the dog begged to go outside again. I obliged, but grumbled, significantly, about it on Facebook and Twitter. I dragged myself to bed, and fell asleep, phone in hand, glasses on face, on top of the covers.
I have a daily alarm on my phone set for 7.15 am, which is grand when I work at 10am, but does me no good when I work at 7. So I woke up late, and (yes, I am getting to the moral of this story, just you wait) rushed out of the house, calling my boss to let her know I was on my way, hair disheveled, clothes slept in, deodorant haphazardly & hastily applied, with the difference made up in Gorilla Perfume’s Lust. I got to work twenty four minutes later, panicked, stricken with my failure to go to bed and wake up correctly, convinced that it would set a horrible tone for the remainder of the day.
But it didn’t. I threw away the three hour tour, the vehicular annoyance, the lack of a warm shower to get me moving, and I kept the hug, and the food (which is actually still in my car), and the compliments, and the surprise, and the gratitude my barn owner showed me for making good on my promise to deliver that great big paycheck of mine to her, and the Thai food and its leftovers, and the good family & friend times, and I made that work for me. I kept them in my heart and made sure to help every person I came across the rest of the day. I got a bunch of stuff done at the boring job, and received compliments on my visual merchandising, which further bolstered me. I graciously went out of my way to help a woman find a series of books she was looking for which were unavailable to her otherwise. Every customer who was buying a book I liked, I let know of my appreciation of the book so they could feel that much more confident about their book-buying decision. Post-transaction, a customer, who’d been rather quiet during the purchase, asked if he could ask a question, and when I happily said yes, he said “how did you get to be so cheery?” I told him I didn’t know, and he said it was great, and that he appreciated it. I offered jumper cables and my car’s battery power to a man whose van battery had died in our parking lot. I punched out of work and still rang up customers who were waiting in line till another cashier came off of break.
It was like the previous night hadn’t existed. Water off a duck’s back.
I guess the moral of this story, if there is one buried in there in my ramblings, is that there are ways to find happiness and contentedness in the everyday and the mundane, and even in the terrible and the inconvenient. And that you should do everything in your power to find them. I may have annoyed a few people with my cheer today, and vaguely disappointed the man whose van wouldn’t start again even with my jumper cables, but I can think of at least three people whose day was made just a little brighter by my letting go of the badness of the night prior, and not letting it or the subsequent late-to-work-ness affect my attitude.
And that’s enough for me.