Posted in Service Industry

Working with the Cool Kids

English: This is Fred, and he is inside our co...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a cat with nine lives.  I’ve lived a few of them, and can’t wait to see what the rest bring.  One of them lasted for sixteen years, and in it I was a stay-at-home mom.  I am very proud of it, and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.  Except I did.

Let me acknowledge that every stay-at-home parent has a different story just like every cashier, or doctor, or educator has a different  story.  My experience was that before I was a SAHM, I hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to establish myself in the world.  I was young, had only worked with my mother in a retail store she owned, and had only been married for two years.  I was twenty-four when I became pregnant with my first of four children, which were born (give or take a few months) every two years.

My husband was a police officer.  He was my window to the world.  His world was dangerous, cynical, and narrow.  I was very thankful to have him to protect me from the big, scary world he told me about.  We were lucky that he made a nice living, but to run a household for six of us on the one income, I needed to be resourceful.  I cooked from scratch, sewed, planned and budgetted.  One day that just wasn’t enough to make ends meet.


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When I decided to dabble in the workplace about twelve years ago, I took a 3-month seasonal position as a cashier.  After that there was a weekend catering gig, an educational assistant, and a magazine vendor changer-outer — not my official title, but that’s a descriptive as I can get.  Then one day I saw a sign for the Barnes and Noble being built into the mall.  I just about jumped right out the window of the car.

Barnes and Noble was the place I went when I managed to eke out a night away from the kids.  It’s the one place I could justify buying new things.  I huffed new-book smell straight from the bag, and hid the receipts until the canceled checks arrived in the mail (remember that?).

I worked for that store even before the books arrived.  We dusted and cleaned and then stacked boxes upon boxes in heaps seven feet tall!  It was magical and exciting.  Then one day they told there were placing me in the café.  I know it was due to my catering experience, but I didn’t even drink coffee.


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Within a year I rose from the lead to the café manager.  I loved my job, but even more than that, I loved the people — both the customers and the staff.  They came from every walk of life.  There were old women with pink crocheted hats.  There were businessmen in suits and ties.  There were young people with piercings and tattoos.  There were gay people and goth people and mean people and pretty people.

And do you know what?  None of them were as scary as I was led to believe.  The world was a friendly place.  And not only did I like the world, I realized the world liked me!  I found I had a knack for making people happy.  Changing each person’s day in a positive way became my goal, for those who visited and those who showed up to work.

Community Action Services and Food Bank in Pro...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days I work for a food bank.  We distribute food to agencies who feed people who are hungry.  For five years I’ve worked in our Agency Services Department, helping agencies get what they need.

The walls are thin, and a department called Food Rescue inhabited the other side of my wall for many years.  They had a lot of fun.  Sometimes they laughed so hard, I had to plug one of my ears to hear my customer on the phone.  They were the cool kids.  The ones with the quick wit and keen sense of humor.  They came and went, often out of the office for days, on covert missions the likes of which we knew not.

One day I decided it was time to learn more about this great place that employed me.  I ventured out on a ride-along with a couple of Food Rescue staff.  I hadn’t planned to fall in love, but I did.  Head over heels, birds singing, heart-pounding love.  Within a year I managed to land the position I wanted.  I will be executing covert, dangerous food-rescuing missions in hard-to-reach places.  I imagine there will be a cape and super powers involved, although there has been no mention of them yet.

The relationship I established with the world brought me to this place — this yearning to make it smile, to brighten a corner wherever it is, a genuine appreciation for humanity.  I’m obviously still in the honeymoon phase, and I’m not sure I’m a cool kid yet, but I have a good feeling about this.

Peace . . .

Posted in Lore

Are You Still Here?

DSCN0902_2_2Are we absolutely sure the apocalypse didn’t come in 2012 and we missed it?  Can we do a head count here?  Knowing what to expect might have helped me know where to look.  Were zombies supposed to inherit the earth, was Jesus showing up for dinner, or was the earth just going to explode?

What I’m saying is, perhaps the apocalypse did happen, and we were looking in the wrong direction.  Is it possible the Hopi fifth world arrived, but it just looks an awful lot like the fourth one?  Was a baby born on the 21st of December in 2012 who will change the course of Global Warming?  Maybe the apocalypse is somewhat of a gradual movement toward a better world more than the total destruction of the one we know.  We won’t really notice it until one day we look back and say, “Hey, didn’t the world used to be a much worse place?”

If you’re looking for doomsday, just check out the morning paper.  It’s here.  People living their days on earth in hell.  Lonely people.  Hungry elderly.  Children with no one to teach them how to find the good in themselves.  Children gunned down in the middle of their play.  People living in fear.  People with no hope.  Not like those days when you wake up and life seems hopeless.  I’m talking about a real total depletion of hope.  No hope of hope.

It’s 2013.  Are you still here?  Don’t dread the apocalypse . . . I say we’re ready for it.  Don’t wait for it to happen, bring it on! Make it happen!  Stop preparing for the worst and start initiating the change.  Be the Shift!

  1. Smile.  You don’t know what someone else is going through today.  Your smile could save a life.
  2. Hold a door.  I don’t care if it’s a big burly guy or a someone with a stroller.  Common courtesy requests you hold the door.
  3. Give blood.  For goodness’ sake get over your fear of needles.  You want to know what fear is?  Cancer.  Liver disease.  Major surgery.  Car accidents.  Premature babies.  Losing your loved one.  Not everyone can give blood, so if you can, why aren’t you?  It’s the ultimate renewable resource!
  4. Treat a child with respect.  Children are people, too.
  5. Hold your horn.  Try to limit your honking to those situations where some idiot really tried to kill you for the sole purpose of getting ahead in traffic.  If he just needs to get over because he didn’t see his exit coming up, for crying out loud, let him over.
  6. Wave.  I treat my suburban neighborhood like a rural country road.  Ever notice how country folks wave at everyone?  We’re all just country folk.  We just live a little closer to our neighbors.
  7. Thank.  Don’t just say thanks.  Say thanks for [fill in the blank].  Thanks for being so prompt!  Thanks for telling me that!  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help you!  Thanks for sending me that bill . . . okay, don’t overdo it.
  8. Share.  Plant a bigger garden than you need.  Donate books to a library.  Give away things you don’t use.  Share your skills.  Share your knowledge.  Hug more.

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Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~~Theodore Roosevelt

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Can you imagine if you woke up this morning, in 2013, and everyone had a shift of global awareness?  Be the apocalypse.  How will you change the world this year?

Related Links:

United Global Shift:  Projects (Start small, check out the Peace Promises)

Tiny Buddah:  25 Ways to Make a Difference (Listed as quotes)

Scott Berkun:  Essay #49 (Scott is a writer whose popular topics are writing, creativity and management)