It was a hectic week for work; lots of reading, stuffing information into the back of my head where “ol’ croc brain” works her magic of distilling it into mnemonics for later reference, cross-referencing patterns and process chains, and generally organizing it into ready-on-command information that can travel smoothly from the tar pits in which she resides to my vocal chords.
Big presentation today that I didn’t think to be nervous about until I realized how antsy my two compadres were in relation to it. Soooo… a short break about thirty minutes before the meeting to “Om” my way from under the overload of anxiety signals and pre-load the script that has been writing itself there, in the tar pits, for the last two weeks.
Locked and loaded, we began at 3:05pm, PST. Other than a small bump near the end, it went off flawlessly and to plan. I knew we were in good shape when we hit the :45 mark and were, essentially ‘done’ – no questions, no objections, and most importantly, no feedback indicating confusion.
Can I tell you how amazing it feels to be working in an environment where I am empowered and supported to “go forth and make it real”? Gad, it has been a time since I’ve had this and I am absolutely gobstopped happy for having it.
The real work is about to begin, but I’m beyond ready for it. The general layout of industry process standards (operational, not specifics) are pre-loaded and the run at internal processes and extraction of the information that will drive this forward is soon to start.
Yes, I am truly enjoying work again; long overdue and I am duly appreciative of all the elements that combine to make this “as it is”.
In unrelated news, a “just because you can” moment today as I went to lunch. Homeless fellow with small sign and legitimate walking cane (believe me, I can tell; long stories that I won’t type here but to say “been there, done that, have the t-shirt, key-chain, mouse pad, AND the coozy) stopped me to ask for change.
I never carry cash. Never. Odd karma of only being mugged/robbed when I actually have cash in my purse has long since removed that from any day’s itinerary. I felt badly for it as this fellow was legit; hungry, homeless, and serious about it in a friendly, funny way (as odd as that must sound) that I both recognized and remembered; kind of that “well, what are you going to do but laugh at the shit life sometimes asks you to endure, right?” thing.
Anyway, as I began to walk off, I remembered… I had some loose change somewhere in the depths of my bag. It was an embarrassing thought for me because the only thing worse than not sparing change is only having a nickle or a quarter to spare. (It’s a street thing… I hope you never understand.) But, it was there, so it counted, and I dropped it into the hastily retrieved Starbucks discard he pulled from the ashcan beside him.
His face lit up and he smiled and thanked me and I told him it wasn’t that much and I was sorry for that. And he looked at me and said, “Ma’am, it was more than I had five seconds ago.”
And my heart just broke. I hid it, of course; but all I could think of was my times of belly-growling hunger and counting pennies, nickles, and dimes in a empty can or discarded paper cup and trying to decide if I wanted to hold out in hopes of enough for actual food or skate my way out of those missing pennies for hope of a quick carb and sugar fix to quiet my belly for an hour or so.
He offered his hand and I shook it and wished him well and then, turned to go my way.
Three steps out it registered to me that his hand was like an ice cube…. and suddenly, I realized, I could do more.
So I did.
I walked back and he looked at me kind of funny (curious, worried, and cautious; the usual mix when they “suddenly” return), and I explained that actually, I did have something else I could give him… it wasn’t much, but maybe it would be a help. I pulled them from the bottom of my bag and handed them to him – a pair of fleece gloves.
And he broke my heart all over again by doing an involuntary dance right there, in front of me, as he gleefully slid them on.
I wanted to take him to lunch with me, but I can’t yet afford it.
I wanted to give him my coat, but I hadn’t worn it today.
Hell, I wanted to be someone “rich and famous” enough to give him a house. For that matter, to spend the rest of my life doing nothing but finding folk who need and meeting that need “just because I can”.
All this, in a split second through my head, and nothing of it said aloud; just nodding and smiling and shaking his now gloved hand and then, about-face and away to food before my blood sugar could tank.
I can’t say I feel “guilty” for being comfortable, but I definitely wish I had more largesse, more excess to spare. I would sincerely enjoy changing looks of resigned certainty that no one will care, share, or spare to involuntary dances of surprise and happiness on street corners, in alleys, and across cities, states, and countries.
And, as I sat and ate my lunch, it occurred to me once again that, if people would just do one thing, just one little thing, “just because they can” whenever such opportunity presented itself… what a different world it would be.
I thought about that all the way back to the office. I thought about it when I didn’t see him there on the return. I thought about it when another homeless person, a woman, spoke to me at the next intersection and I had to tell her that the fellow up the street got the last I had on me.
I didn’t think about it once I got back to the office; the previously mentioned work and effort kept it all at bay. But, I thought about it as I walked to the bus in the crisp, chill wind of approaching autumn and winter and, obviously, I am thinking about it still.
There is great power
In the “just because you can”
It can change the world
… if we let it.