on the banks of the river willamette I sat down and wept

The last two days at work have been difficult.

I have cried at a job once ever in my life.  It was 1991; I was waiting tables at the Sheraton Hartford.  I hated my job, but health benefits to this single mom were like gold and I had to stay.  The kitchen was 100 yards from the dining room floor.  I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but I am not. Every time I had to get food I had to walk the length of a football field and back. As the kitchen was so far from the floor, wait staff were given small pagers which would buzz when orders came up.  Remember, this was twenty years ago…cell phones were rare and cumbersome, technology was fair at best.  The pagers sometimes buzzed, most times not. So we, the waitstaff, spent our shifts running back and forth.  I weighed a solid 2o pounds less than I do now.

The day I cried I had run that long hallway dozens of times.  The kitchen was ridiculously slow and guests were impatient and unsympathetic.  After a too long wait for my table of six order my food was up.  As I entered the long hallway to begin my trek back to my angry party, I got slammed by a another waiter running hopefully to the kitchen.  My long awaited for meals were on the floor…I cried…

The head food and beverage guy, who’s name I remember clearly but will leave unwritten, was about two feet from me and had witnessed the the sad affair.  As I cried he came up to me and I yelled ( for this I feel badly) “I hate this place.” I then cried harder.  I think he was scared I might do something unpredictable, so he ushered me aside and very kindly told me to take a break and he’d take care of everything.  “but they’ve been waiting FOREVER,” I wailed….”Just go..” he offered kindly…and I did.

I calmed myself down, the shift ended and I felt like a freak.  How I hated that job.  Easily the worst job I ever had, hands down, no hesitation. But it only brought me to tears once.

Today, at a job I really like, I wanted to cry. The kids were particularly mean, to themselves and staff. I got yelled at just one to many times.  F Bombs flew like fruit flies around summer watermelon. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t I had intended to have a great day.  I even did yoga for pete’s sake and recited a positive mantra.  I can change nothing outside of myself.  I want to believe otherwise some times.  Good begets good.  But it isn’t always the case.  The only heart I can change is my own. The only mind that keeps me from the person I want to be is my own.  Perhaps I am too directionless at times.  Perhaps I worry too much what others think. Perhaps I am just tired and too gullible.

I will not cry at work again.

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sometimes I’d rather not know

 

memories

It’s been too long, I know.  I contemplated ending this blog after I found and read through a box of old journals.  Ugh.  Who was I? Hard to believe that a person can change that much, hard to believe that I could and I have.  And in the same breathe, glad, so very glad that I can and have.

So why is it hard to look back? I am unsure.  I recognize the emotions, but the weight of them and the memories are perhaps too much to hold in a single sitting.  Ten years of stories, my stories, in a single afternoon was too much to take in.  And then I thought of this blog, an online journal, not only read by me, but by others.  Egad!

But I need this writing. Not that I am writer or driven to write.  But I need a place to hold my thoughts just long enough to know them…then I can let them go, as I did the journals I found.  Memory is a funny thing. It is our own and never our own. A little story to share…

I am an identical twin. It’s a funny thing being a twin, people are so curious about twins, when really I find “not being a twin” far interesting. Growing up, people were always asking us twin questions. You know, you’ve asked the questions before….”What’s it like to be a twin?”  “Did you ever fool your teachers in school and take a test for your sister?”  And my personal favorite, “Have you ever woken up in the morning and forgotten which one you were?’ Perhaps the questions we get asked the most often is the one that goes something like this…”If one of you gets hurt, does the other one feel pain?’ This story is the closest to answer I can give.

Many years ago, when my sister Deborah and I were in the 6th grade, we went to a small Catholic School in Hawaii.  We got a ride each day from one of the teachers at our school, whose own children were also students.  One day, as we were arriving at school,  the teacher pulled into a parking spot, and all of us kids hopped out of the car.  Unfortunately, the car wasn’t completely stopped, and when the teacher turned off the engine, the car rolled forward and pinned my heel down so that I could not move.  Now I wasn’t in pain or anything, but my foot was absolutely stuck.  I remember clearly the shoes I was wearing that day, and the panic I felt, and the fear that I was in going to be trouble.  And my feared was validated, as the teacher then yelled at me, scolding me for getting out of the car too soon.  She restarted the engine, and gently rolled back the car and my foot was released and I was fine.

Now I know that’s not an interesting story by itself, but what ties this story to memory is that if you ask my sister to tell you the events of that morning, she’ll tell you the story, exactly as I have told it to you, only it happened to her and not me.  From the day this incident happened we have NEVER agreed upon whose foot was run over.  In fact, for years, you could get us into a knock down drag out fight by merely asking, “whose foot got run over?”  It’s embarrassing to say, but there were times that we wouldn’t speak to each other for weeks over this.  Our worst fights ever have been about the foot. I remember once, during a particularly heated fight about something completely unrelated, I yelled,  “I hope you die, and when your life flashes before your eyes, you’ll finally see that your foot wasn’t run over, it was mine!” I know it’s completely ridiculous, but our anger was fueled by the frustration of not being able to prove to the other what really had happened.

We both truly believe what we believe.  Have you ever believed something with such conviction, and then someone else didn’t believe you.  Perhaps as a kid you got in trouble at school for something someone else did, and there was no way to convince the authorities that you were innocent.  There is that feeling of anguish and frustration, that you are not able to convince someone of the truth.  My sister and I both felt that…but the reality is one of us is wrong.  My point, and the point of this story is,  is that sometimes you can believe something to be true, believe with all your heart with all your knowing with all your memory and perception, and still be wrong.

To this day, we still don’t agree upon whose foot was run over, we’ve chalked it up to a twin thing.  Not to long ago, my sister was telling me her version of the events of that day, yes we still talk about it, and she said, “what made me remember it so vividly, was that I remember clearly how upset you were for me.”  I have to admit, in that moment, for the first time, I thought, maybe it wasn’t me….

I hope my sister doesn’t read this…