Friday, March 25, 2011

Small things that make me feel like everything might be okay

I can't remember a time in my life when I thought "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this!" Any time I've ever been paid to do anything it's been something horrifying that you'd have to pay me to do, like calling people and asking them to give me money for handicapped people whom I've never met, or driving out past the civilized world of cell phone reception and down into a canyon in order to get out of the safety of my car, hike up an un-passable drive, to a trailer home with the door open just wide enough for me to see someone shove something out of my line of sight, and say "Hi! I'm here on behalf of the US Government!" Those are things that you have to pay me to do, and no matter what you're paying me, I feel like I'm getting cheated.

So it was new and exciting the other day when I was driving out to Dover, Ark. on a delivery when I caught myself thinking "I'm getting paid for this!" The weather had just turned nice so I had the windows rolled down, the radio was playing something like Steve Miller Band, and I was on a long stretch of road, going somewhere, doing something - and getting paid. Usually I'm getting paid to sit in an office and look at columns of numbers, which I certainly don't complain about. I like the people I work with, I have my own desk, and the freedom to do pretty much whatever I want as long as I get my work done as well. And the actual work isn't that bad. It's not studying lost manuscripts in a language only I understand or impressing the world with my creative spirit - but it's close. And it's the best thing I can hope for right now. And it offers me the opportunity to sometimes, if one of the delivery people calls in, deliver parts and listen to the radio in a car I don't own, whose gas I don't buy.

Most of the time my life makes me feel like I'm trying to run through deep sand, choking on my lack of self-confidence and inability to communicate along the way. I worry a lot about how I'm going to get through all the days that are left, which at my age could be very many. And driving to McAlister's Station, I wasn't worrying about all of that. I wasn't worrying about anything. I was just driving, moving fast and easy, cheerful and calm. I was relieved to find that, at that particular moment, despite the many things that stress me out, all it took for me to be happy was a beat-up Chevy with no air or floorboards and a person in need of some shop towels and a blower motor switch. And surely the world will never run out of those two things.

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