First of all, I wanted to thank each and every single one of you that commented or messaged or called me in response to my post earlier this week. It can be really intimidating to hit “Publish” on those super vulnerable and transparent posts. Especially when it was (and still is) a big issue in my life. It’s like taking my heart out of my body and putting it on stage for the whole world to see. But every time I allow myself to be vulnerable, it helps me heal a little more. So thank you for allowing me to share my stories with you and thank you for being non-judgmental, loving readers and friends.
I remember when we had just moved to Harrogate and I was applying for jobs left and right. I was in the process of transferring my credential to Tennessee and had compiled all my paperwork to send over to the state department. The forms were printed, signed, and ready to go. All I had to do was go drop it in the mail.
Fortunately, the post office was just down the street. I probably could have walked. But I was still adjusting to the ridiculous humidity so I hopped in my car, drove the 0.3 miles, and pranced on in to the post office.
I was the fourth person in line.
I had my phone in my hand, scrolling from one app to another as I waited. Because I wasn’t used to waiting.
When you’re a SpED teacher, there’s really no time to wait. You learn to gobble down your lunch, be efficient with every single minute you’ve got, and minimize the waiting as much as possible.
And, in a city, it’s a little easier to do that. For example, if you went to a post office back in San Jose, there would be four people working. And also a self-service machine. To make things efficient.
I remember walking into the post office that sunny, humid day last year and feeling frustrated. Not only because I had to wait in line. In the middle of a weekday. But because the guy behind the counter was just making small talk with the customer.
Didn’t he see the line?
Didn’t he want to hurry it up a little bit?
I stood there, tapping my foot, scrolling through my phone a little more. Sighing heavily.
The second customer turned around and looked at the third customer and said, “You go on ahead. I’m in no hurry.”
The third customer responded, “I ain’t in no hurry either.”
They both looked at me and I literally j-u-m-p-e-d at the opportunity to go ahead of them. They stepped aside like the thoughtful, gentlemen they were and let me go on ahead of them.
When I got up to the counter, I kept the conversation to a minimum, paid for shipping, and hurried on outta there.
“Phew,” I thought to myself as I walked out of the post office that day, “Thank goodness for Southern hospitality. Because I sure was in a hurry. I hate wasting time.”
I then proceeded to drive the 0.3 miles back home, walked back in to my cool, air-conditioned apartment, and sprawled out on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. And then remained in that position for two hours.
I guess I didn’t NEED to cut the line. I didn’t NEED to be in a hurry. It’s not like I had a job to get back to.
But, back in that post office, that whole “waiting” thing seemed stressful because I had spent my entire life go-go-going.
Today, after another post office visit, I realized just how much has changed in the short year and a half since we moved here.
There were only two customers in there. Me. And the lady in front of me who was making casual talk with the guy behind the counter. He was talking about his previous job selling trucks. He said, “Back when I was in sales, trucks were only $600. By the time I had left, the prices went up to a couple thousand.”
I found myself eager to hear how he transitioned from selling trucks to working at the post office. The same guy who – a year and a half ago – I was rolling my eyes at for talking for SO long. Today was different. I wanted to hear more stories.
When I walked up to the counter with my envelope in hand, I said, “I just need to send this package.”
He glanced down at the package, saw the address it was being sent to, and said, “I sure wish I could go where this package is going.”
(The package was going to Vegas).
I told him about how my best friend lived in the burbs of Vegas. And about how we used to go there all the time in college. He told me about his last trip out there and a funny experience he had gambling.
Before I knew it, a line had formed behind me. But none of the customers in line seemed to be tapping their foot. None of them seemed to be in a hurry. Every single one of us was listening to this man’s story. As if that was the only thing they had to do that day. Me included.
I paid him, waved my goodbyes, and then turned to leave the post office.
It wasn’t until I got back to the office that I realized I was smiling the entire drive there.
Some days, I adore this small town life. The desire to connect and converse with others. The slower, more relaxed way of living. And a close-knit community. Where the UPS guy is your friend. The manager at the grocery store is your friend on Facebook. And the USPS guy is your mid-day entertainment.
I never wanted to move here. It wasn’t my choice. I, obviously came because, apparently, when you get married, it helps if you live with your spouse.
So I did it. Because marriage is sometimes sacrifice and compromise.
And I was willing to do it. There was nothing that I could do to change the situation.
Little did I know that the situation would end up changing me.
Questions of the Day:
- Has there been a time in your life where an unexpected situation changed you for the better?