Went to get my first cup of coffee this morning and…well, things got a little… Oh, crap. It was like this.
The kitchen is past the restrooms, through a door into shipping/receiving, hang a right, pass the omigodyouspilledtoxicchemicalsonyourselfrinseitoffNOW sink and what can be the “clean” room when it’s needed and then there’s the kitchen. Home of COFFEE. Yay. So, yes, headed over to get my first cup of the day — I’d already been working for a couple of hours by then — and the new guy in shipping/receiving was talking to one of the other folks in that department, and I heard the words, “I’d live at the beach. Not Venice, but still…” and New Guy, who is maybe 22, looked up at me. When I paused, he asked:
“So, if you were homeless, where would you live?”
And I said, “I spent six months last year living in a homeless shelter,” and kept on walking. I don’t think I said in a pissed-off way, wasn’t angry, don’t think I said it in any way other than a bare statement of fact. I may even have had a bit of a smile on my face, one of those wry, if-only-you-knew sorts of smiles. But the words were out of my mouth before I even thought about softening them, and I’m not sure I’d have said it any other way even if I’d taken a moment to consider before I answered. Then, as I said, I kept on walking.
When I reached the kitchen, there were a few other people there taking their morning break. I turned to the coffee pot and discovered it needed refilling, so I dumped the old filter and grounds, set things up for a fresh pot to brew. Sort of on autopilot. And as I waited for the brew to finish, New Guy came in, walked up to me, and started apologizing all over the place. The poor kid was so distressed he was literally shaking. I knew he hadn’t meant any harm, that he had no way of knowing any of my history, so I told him it was okay, that I wasn’t angry or anything, and I knew that’s the sort of question people ask because they’re interested in the hypotheticals. But I told him that sometimes real life sucks, and the only thing I wanted him to do in future was think.
Poor guy. Really, truly distressed that he’d offended me or hurt me. He hadn’t, and I think I convinced him. So off he went, still apologizing. And I was fine.
Right up to the moment I found myself leaning against the counter fighting tears and trying not to hyperventilate.
By that time, one of the folks had gone back to her desk. The other two looked at me and asked what was wrong. So I told them what had happened, and then it hit me…
Two years ago this weekend, I was about five weeks out of a job and in the middle of losing my house.
One year ago this weekend, I moved OUT of the homeless shelter and was a weekend away from starting this job.
What a difference a year makes!
SWIMMING in gratitude here. SWIMMING, I tell you. 🙂