Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 1: Something Small

Day 1: The first step is the hardest, so start small today and make something that fits in the palm of your hand…

Because I am, once again, writing, not making anything physically, I had to adapt this a little. I decided to focus on the word small. I thought about how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe (way too serious and a little depressing/unnerving), what it would be like if I was a really tiny person (like I could fit in the palm of a person’s hand), or what if I was just short. I realized that I’m not so good at writing fiction so threw all those ideas right back where they came from.
Instead of trying to run with any of these ideas, all night at work, I thought about “small things.” I tried to think of small things that irritate me: people who won’t buy a card when you know it’ll actually legitimately save them money, people who reach over and type things on your register (yes, this happened tonight), people who won’t leave at the end of the night, people who leave piles of books everywhere. These small things all add up to a big giant rage pile inside of me that at the end of most nights means I come home and bitch to J. about how I hate everyone in the world. He’s super patient, but I imagine this gets old. Then I realized that I was, again, focusing on the negative. Not only was I focusing on the negative, I was focusing on what other people were doing. And I can’t control what other people do. At some point during my shift, this quote just hit me out of nowhere:
“Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference.” ~ Winston Churchill
“Well,” I thought toward this man, “Mr. Churchill you have a good point there, I guess.” But then I whined, “what if I don’t want a good attitude and don’t want to make a difference?”
Then I realized I was being completely silly and stubborn. So I did what my Mama raised me to do, and put my big girl face on and dealt with the jerks who came in super late and the stupid people looking for a blue book with no title or author or subject. I also remembered a conversation with my friend, let’s call him C., while working in the drive thru at my previous job.
“C.” I said. “I hate when people can’t figure out how to read a menu, especially when they come in every day.”
“Just remember, it’s gotta be hard going through life being that stupid. They aren’t just dumb when they come here, it’s everywhere. And that’s gotta be a tough life,” C. responded.
Even though it may seem mean, neither of us ever called the person stupid and it served its purpose: 1. It made me laugh and 2. it reminded me that it basically wasn’t my problem. It was their issue that they couldn’t think, and I was not, and still am not, responsible for anything but helping to the best of my capability based on the information provided. I cannot be expected to know every blue book in the store (though, if it’s a new one, sometimes I can get lucky and find it because, yeah, I am that good). I never put in my resume that I am psychic or that I have magical powers so this is not a requirement of any job I’ve had. Though, it would be useful most of the time.
By looking at people this way, I can make it through each shift more easily without killing someone and without blaming everyone else for how I feel.
Yeah, I still came home and bitched to J. but really, what else do people talk about? (I’m kidding, I just haven’t broken the habit yet.)
Look at that something small enough to be within one’s own control and it STILL has that much power.
Oh look at that, I just wrote something creative for day 1. I am a brilliant writer already!

Have a super, fantastic great day!

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