What a day! I tell ya, I was at the top of my game. All day long.
First, my group of writers at work were convening in one of the meeting rooms at the office when another group looked in and protested that they had reserved the same room for the same time. Indeed, that my group had intruded upon their territory! (Trust me, in the cutthroat world of office politics, these things matter.) "No," said our meeting facilitator. "We have the room."
The leader of the other group shot us a dirty look and started to withdraw, shaking his head in disgust and irritation. Says I, as he closes the door behind him, "Hey, buddy, take it up with somebody else."
My boss, seated nearby, shot me a glance and shook his finger at me.
I actively participated in our meeting, asking lots of questions. (Maybe too many.) But the aforementioned exchange, with its bad vibes, played on my mind the while. The incident, as it stood, threatened to fall into a growing catalog of similar incidents, all symptoms of the anxiety people everywhere are feeling.
I kept an eye out the glass of the conference room to the lobby until the fellow with whom I had had the exchange appeared. I excused myself from our meeting, caught up with the fellow, extended my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Dade. I just wanted to apologize to you for being abrupt earlier." He looked mildly taken aback as he shook my hand. But there was something else, too. For just an instant, I saw him reassess me, as if I had shattered some template to which he had previously assigned me. He regarded me with a new-found respect. Or it seemed so to me, anyway. "No worries," he said.
I went back into my meeting to find that everyone was standing up to leave. I approached my boss, slapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Hey, Boss, I just went and apologized to that guy." Boss said, "Is that why you left our meeting?" "Yeah," says I. Boss nodded and looked a little relieved. And again I saw the flash of respect.
Like I said: top of my game.
When I got back to my desk, I had email from Mom. It had arrived just minutes earlier. It stated that she had had a bit of a health scare, but that we (her family) were not to worry. I picked up the phone and dialed. "Wow! That was fast!" she said, upon hearing my voice. She knew I would call, as would all of her children. But I called first.
I walked down the hall to tell my friend and coworker about it since she and I sometimes talk with each other about our parents, but she was in no mood to prattle. "What is it?" she said tersely the minute I appeared. I was hurt at first, but then I saw that she looked very tired. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her newborn had not been sleeping well. "I'm going on three hours sleep," she said, impatiently. "Well," I said, "I'm really glad we're friends and I think you're a good person." Her demeanor softened. "Even when I'm mean?" she asked. I gave her a smile and a pat on the hand and went back to my desk.
Top of my game.
Then, tonight, when I got home, Maty asked me to go down to Safeway and pick up a French bread. They come out of the oven right at 5 o'clock at the Hawthorne store, so I set off at 4:45. It's about a 15 minute walk.
The weather was beautiful. Sunny. Cool but not cold. There was a drum circle outside the apothecary near the little Thai place. They were beating out a nice solemn rhythm, pregnant with the hollow boom of a djembe. The beat soon set the tempo for my stride.
Got the French bread just as it came out of the oven. Score! Piping hot and fresh!
Paul, the grocery clerk, thanked me enthusiastically when I contributed a dollar to the Hatian relief fund. "Why not?" I asked. "Good as we got it here? I can afford to hand out a buck here and there."
"Amen to that!" piped in Erika, the checker at the next stand over.
"Right on, Erika," says I.
"Right on," says Erika.
Just hittin' on all cylinders today.