Sometimes a series of unfortunate events happens all in one week, and there’s a breaking point that seems almost comic once enough time passes that I can recover my sense of humor about the whole thing.
It’s a rare occurrence, but when it happens there’s a moment mid happenings where I actually think to myself “how can one more thing go wrong right now. I deserve a win.” And without fail something else goes wrong, and I feel a meltdown coming on that rivals that of an irrational toddler.
So after a week of trying to iron out contracts with a second job I decided to take to no avail, transitioning to new projects at my “real” job, speaking with a woman who told me my job was worthless and pointless, and then finding out that something went wrong with the vacation/sick leave benefits of mine at work so I am currently without, I was not having a great week.
Everything feels worse now that I’m counting down the days to turning 30 somehow. Like maybe it would have been manageable on its own, but suddenly there’s an added thought of, “I’m going to turn 30 and not have benefits. I’m going to turn 30 and this woman thinks I’ve spent the past year and a half wasting my life with this research.” Somehow it seems to compound the problem to make it a bit worse than it actually is.
So when my bus didn’t show up on time after a particularly shitty day at work, the thought came seeping into my brain unwillingly, “of course it didn’t show. How can one more thing possibly go wrong this week? I need a win.”
So I decided to get out of the ridiculous wind that was blowing and head to the mall nearby for shelter and call my parents for the 30 minutes I had to kill before the next bus showed.
So they listened on speakerphone, as they do, to their insane daughter ramble on about how this week needs to be over and I can’t get my life together. And then as I’m walking through the mall doors I reached into my pocket and realized I didn’t have my bus pass.
I swore like a sailor and told them I had to retrace my steps.
This wasn’t just a preloaded bus card. This was my university loaded unlimited ride card with my picture and name on it. As if that didn’t make me feel violated enough, now I had to pay my non-discounted bus rate, and find the cash to do so or wait 30 minutes to beg the driver to let me on and take pity on me.
So I hung up the phone and spent the next hour going back to the office, looking for someone left there to use my mooch skills on and bum a ride home (but in accordance with how the week had gone, everyone had just left ten minutes before).
I went back to break a $10 at a random store so I could actually have bus fare in cash, something I don’t particularly like carrying with me but always have a bit of because it is instilled in my head from growing up in a house where my parents both encouraged us always to have some sort of cash on our person in case of emergencies.
My dad also encouraged me to wear a fake nose ring to school in 3rd grade and brought me to get a page boy when I was in preschool–which is still a touchy subject. So you carefully pick from the choices that your parents teach you and retain the best ones.
I used my best sad face, which wasn’t hard to do considering the circumstances, and genuinely explained why this cashier should give me change without making me buy something from his store. He didn’t care about my plight, but agreed to give me the change probably just to shut me up. I’ll call it a win.
I walked back through the wind and cold, called my parents back, and everything started to sink in at once. I was swearing profusely while still scavenging around the bus stop for my pass, and when I finally lost any shred of hope and came to accept the fact that it was gone, I felt overwhelmed by emotions.
This is weird for me considering that my stone heart and tears of dust seem to be the norm for me. I don’t like to get publicly emotional. But I felt the lump in my throat and tears making their way.
“Oh my God. I’m going to start crying. This week is the worst,” I said to my parents.
“DO NOT cry at the bus stop,” said my mother firmly.
“I’m trying not to! It’s not like I want to! I’ve got to push it down!”
“Just get on the bus, go home, you’ve got your change. But don’t start crying in the middle of the bus station.”
I laughed that my mom was saying this to me, and forced myself to choke down the tears so I wouldn’t be that freak that was swearing and crying at the bus stop. There’s plenty of crazy people around anyways without me joining the masses. I would likely have blended right in.
I sat on the bus, and decided on a game plan. No one gets by feeling sorry for himself. I had to deal with everything one at a time so I wasn’t overwhelmed. Starting with a glass of wine as soon as I got home. Then the bus pass, then working my way through everything else.
By the end of the week, I was golden again, though not a peach to be around for those who had to cross paths with me while I was sorting through it all. Then the only thing left to deal with was turning 30. And I figured I’d put a pin in that until I had to deal with it.
So when my cousin texted me that she was going to fly in the weekend before my birthday to visit me in Seattle, I was overwhelmed with happiness. Now I didn’t have to turn 30 alone, I’d have one of the best people I know in town having a blast the entire time. And I can’t think of a better way to usher in another decade of travel and adventure than with the cousin who I’ve traveled all over the place with.
No matter how terrible my week might have been, this fact trumped any bad things happening and I managed to get myself grounded again…at least for the time being.