Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Friend John

                I had an epiphany today. It occurred to me as I was once again working in a new school where I did not know a soul (subbing again), and I was headed into their lunchroom of co-workers, old pals, and hidden flames unsure of where to sit and what to say. The epiphany occurred the second I left that overwhelming room of people I didn’t know, and slipped into a nearby washroom. I instantly felt relieved (no pun intended). I wished I could stay there all lunch hour in my own quiet solitude, but the few short minutes I could stay would have to suffice.
                When that feeling of safety came back while in the washroom today, I thought about what would have been the first time that this place of function versus comfort became a sort of haven for me. I think it must have been in my first year of High School, and subsequently the time of my first real feelings of insecurity. I had been homeschooled for my entire elementary school career, and for one reason or another in Grade 9 my family decided to put all of us kids back into the public school system. Thus I was thrust into the great wilderness that is High School completely unawares, and more importantly, completely alone. The story ended happily. I made some incredible friends, and found my own scholarly niche amongst the masses. However, during that first year, many of my lunch hours were spent in the furthest stall in the most remote bathroom of the school. It was the perfect set up, because every other person who came to the washroom also left within five minutes, so none of those people knew that I had been sitting in there – fully clothed, I may add – for the past twenty minutes eating (yes, eating) my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and avoiding the intimidating groups of chummy people who knew where and who their place was with.
                Spending my lunch hours in that bathroom stall was definitely a low in my social career. After a few weeks, I discovered the library - the only other place in the school where you can be alone and no one second guesses why. This second discovery was probably a huge part of the reason that I did win the highest overall average of the year for my grade every year in High School.  It was enough for me in grade nine to be seen as “that really smart girl”, as long as I wasn’t “that really smart girl who has no friends”. 
                Perhaps what I am trying to say is that those insecurities from our past travel with us to our present. They make us who we are in a sense, but it is how we overcome these insecurities that defines our character. I do not think it is wrong to keep a security blanket around for the odd bout of insecurity (even if this security blanket happens to be a tiny four walled chamber of necessity), but sometimes, like today, we need to act the grown up that we now are and create a new name for ourselves; and maybe this time I will be classified under a stereotype that is more diverse than “that really smart girl”.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Common Courtesy

                Sometimes it just plain sucks to be the only optimist in the crowd; someone is always bringing you down. Tonight was the worst of the worst for me while working at my waitressing job. The amazing part was that it was not even my customers; it was the people who I work with who had the deplorable people skills – despite their current occupation in the service industry.
 I just ranted this same rant to a good friend of mine, her thoughts being, “Well, wouldn’t you be in a perpetually bad mood too if you knew that this job was your entire future??”.  I suppose I would be, but I still think that it is hardly an excuse.  Whatever happened to common courtesy? When did manners fly by the wayside? Is empathy dead? Oh, I would like to think not.  I could not count how many times I heard as a child, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” to me it has always been just a part of my social code of conduct.
Perhaps this universal grumpiness does have more to it than just the surface lack of manners. Maybe my friend was right when she pin-pointed what she foresaw as their bleak future as the source of their unhappiness. I may take it for granted that I have the luxury of considering these jobs as a gateway to THE dream job. I work all these odd and unusual occupations so that one day, I never have to work them again – sort of ironic, isn’t it? If you are reading this, what are your thoughts? Have you found that ONE dream job? Or is it a never ending search for happiness which must be fulfilled elsewhere?

  And – is common courtesy really dead??