Archive for May, 2010

Good ain’t forever and bad ain’t for good.

Writing has hazards involved that one may not consider before the page begins to fill.  It’s not always cathartic.  Sometimes it locks emotions into place when they are better dealt with or moved through.

It’s been a few weeks since my last post for several reasons.  No, that’s not really true.  Just one if I’m honest.  I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been so busy with all the things I’m involved with.  It would be more comfortable to say that I had some kind of writer’s block, couldn’t really figure out where I wanted to go with my story next or just lost interest in the whole thing but none of that would be true.  The real reason I’ve been silent is that the only things I felt like saying..putting down in print just sound like pathetic whingeing on  and self pity.  At least that’s what it sounds like in my head and I would find it difficult to believe that it would come across much differently on a blog.

However, it’s getting in the way of a lot more than just moving ahead with this silly website.  It’s taking an awful toll on my sanity or at least my peace of mind.  It’s robbing me of joy and hope and faith so I guess getting it out is the best way to proceed and then hopefully I’ll have it done with, faced and left behind.

It’s been odd to see how being confined in a recovery program was less stressful than return to “real life”, a home and a job.  On reflection I guess that living in a world where most of your time is structured and your activities predetermined does take a good deal of pressure off but it’s hardly a vacation.  I sure as hell don’t want to go back there.  The honeymoon of homecoming ended quickly though and the last month or so has been rough.

Last post I mentioned the difficulty of my current work situation.  The gratefulness for just having a job in this economy was wearing off and the reality of manning a cash register was hitting home.  It hasn’t gotten much better over the past few weeks.  One customer even managed to one-up the customer I talked about last time who joked about “Undercover Boss” by asking me point blank “What job were you doing before you took this one?” and “Why did you leave that job?”.  Yes, I realize that I would have been completely within my rights to say “None of your business” to both questions but frankly I was so taken back by the direct nature of the inquiry that it was my final answer of “personal reasons” that ended the line of questioning.

About that time something else happened that really shattered my morale.  For the first five weeks or so back at work I was scheduled to work every Saturday.  Usually I was scheduled from the early morning to deep into the afternoon so Saturday by any definition it had ever been to me in all my working years was a thing of the past.  Saturday’s working at a restaurant are great.  Not only are you doing the same job as you’ve done all week but you get to do it on a day when most of the rest of the world is out having a good time.  It’s worse by far, I would guess, than working most other places on Saturday.  I’ve graded papers on a Saturday, been in the office on a Saturday or had to work an event on a Saturday but the special thing about Saturday at an eating establishment is that almost all of you clients are just stopping in to have a meal on their way to or from some enjoyable event.  The weather has been nice too so everyone is in their warm weather outdoor clothing and many are driving up with the various apparatus of their activity of choice strapped on a rack to the top or back of their car.  So generally speaking, on weekends especially, I tended to start out at about 6:30 am at work with a mildly misanthropic attitude towards humanity in general and customers in particular, building towards deep disdain for every S.O.B, and D.O.B for that matter, that walked in the door, finally finishing up with believing, by the end of the day, that I truly understood the motivations of every psychopathic megalomaniacal villain in every movie ever made.  It got worse each week.

One Monday morning after a Sunday of working morning to afternoon followed by a mandatory meeting at work that night I just pulled up in my car to work a few minutes early and prayed for God just to give me some encouragement for the day while I was at work.  That’s all I wanted.  Just something to show me some light in the tunnel for those next few hours.  Well, to human observation at least, God seemed to listen and then put in a call to His irony department.  Within an hour after checking in for work I was given the news that due to the departure of another employee my schedule was going to be changed.  I was going to get a Monday through Friday schedule with pretty much full time hours and I would be working the early shift that would allow me to late afternoons and evenings free to pursue some of the activities that I had been wanting to schedule.  Awesome.  Encouragement at work just like I had asked.   I even called the wife who passed the info on to my parents.  Everybody was happy.

Literal encouragement  just during those few work hours, was exactly what it turned into.  Right after I had checked out for the day I mentioned the changes to another store manager and was quickly informed that she would not allow me to be installed into the schedule I had been offered.  So it was taken away within minutes.  A day of rejoicing was replaced by not only the revoking of the schedule that I thought I had but by being informed by the scheduling manager that she had no intention of giving anyone that advantageous of a schedule at any time.  I wasn’t too thrilled with her to say the least but at this writing at least I have resisted the urge to put mousetraps in the cash register she uses or to inact that idea I had that would make her hair fall out.  Frankly, I wasn’t too happy with God either.  Encouragement during work.  Yep, I had that.  Ripping it all away as I walked out the door.  Very funny.  You got me good with that one.

A person can deal with almost any situation so long as there is hope.  That’s the whole point of that famous sign in hell: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”  Someone flicked a switch and that sign began to buzz and then glow in bright neon in my head.  Any illusions that I had about my situation really getting better at that job were dispelled.  Don’t get me wrong.  That’s somewhat of a freeing thing as well.  Knowing where you stand definitely has value but in a job market where there is a glut of darn near everybody it is a kick in the head to realize that you may well be investing your time in a place where there is little likelihood of there being a payoff.   Cosmic irony kind of sucks too when the mind has been stewing in sarcasm and pessimism already.

When in the Overcomer program I found it easier to be upbeat about the future.  I think that I sort of had this idea that I was paying my penance while in the program and was learning my lesson and consciously our unconsciously was expecting God to notice and then get on with the blessings.  Then I came out of the program and here a year after my world came apart I find myself in roughly the same physical place.  Contentment and peace comes and goes.  Today, It’s back.  I put that mostly on the fact that lately I’ve been able to get my eyes off of myself, look for opportunities in the place God has put me and also I’ve carved out a few opportunities by volunteering with the Scout troop near my home.  That sort of thing is key and it will help keep me from ever being a miserable drunk or miserable sober for that matter again.

The great philosopher Roger Miller said: “Everything changes a little and it should. Good ain’t forever and bad ain’t for good.”