I’m currently multi-tasking.
While waiting for green goo on my face and pink polish on my toes, to dry, I contemplate life’s mysteries.
I’m 42 years young today. I’m not blessed with natural girl talents, so getting all spiffied up to go to dinner means a two-hour battle with tools and potions I rarely touch.
I’m now washed, shaved and exfoliated. Perfumed and deoderized. Wishing I could just stumble from bed, jam a ball cap over my hair, throw on a pair of shorts and blouse and look ‘casually elegant’.
My friends tell me I’m funny….
I remind them looks aren’t everything.
I’m also thinking about my life’s work –
I entered the work force at age 4. My job was to shut off the ignition and pull the key from the ’67 Ford, crawling along in granny gear, while Dad threw hay bales to cattle from the bed. I had meaningful work. A yell, or ‘thump’ meant I was supposed to cut power.
Dad trusted me to do my job. (And, I might add, he survived my pre-school driving abilities. I protested starting kindergarten… Hey, I can’t leave, I’ve got work to do….)
By age 7, I was also deemed worthy enough to tell the difference between 1/2″ copper and a cast iron T. And could be relied on to wait quietly for hours, just to jump into action when my plumber dad needed 3 or 4 hands, instead of just the two he possessed.
By age 11, I had moved on to even greater responsibilities – turning hay bales without getting bit by rattlesnakes, trying to buck as many as my boy cousins did and being in charge of neighbors’ most precious possession (children) were my contributions to my local community.
At 14, I was trusted enough to work around very hot grills and mechanized food preparation machines by a local mom and pop eatery.
At 17, I was given responsibility of caring, nurturing and supporting our elderly population in the local nursing home.
At 22, I was the one who sent back-up for local law enforcement and the calm voice who assisted those frantically dialing 911.
At 34, I was in charge of making sure Temporary Restraining Orders got properly notated and routed for service, as well as making sure false arrests of my fellow citizens did not occur because of faulty data being entered in the Warrants system.
At 36, I was supposed to streamline and make efficient the systems that support our Department of Defense.
At 37, I was responsible for encouraging the ill to not give up in their quest for health and answer their questions about acupuncture and see if their health care dollars, via expensive insurance premiums, were really theirs to spend or not.
Along the way, I worked in other industries, either because medical bills coupled with no insurance resulted in needing extra income or because as a proud single mom, I needed more money in order to keep body and soul together.
Sometimes, I floated through various temp positions because I had so successfully streamlined an employer’s processes, my services were no longer required.
I’ve been a CNA, radio DJ, retail clerk, waitress, bartender, short order and main grill cook. I’ve dispatched, fought with health insurance companies, received thousands of paper-cuts from file folders and worked 36 hours straight, trying to figure out why Access won’t do what I want it to.
I’ve bathed the helpless and consoled the hopeless. I’ve tried to lighten the load of those who are ill and make those who spend their nights delivering goods via the lonely black ribbon known as our interstate system, laugh.
I’ve listened to the cry of a mother who just found her child dead and stood helplessly by while officers who just had to cover a fatal accident wonder why children have to die.
I’ve held the hand of those who slip from this world and propped up and put to bed those who were drowning their sorrow.
I’ve done a lot of things I wish I had thought better of, but I’ve also done hard jobs in a manner I can be proud of.
Today, I’m unemployed. By choice. Sort of.
I’ve got too much experience and too much bossiness about how things should be done to really be an attractive choice for local employers.
I’ve got loads of work experience but no college degree to prove I am intelligent and capable of following directions.
And I’m too tired and disillusioned to try starting yet another business of my own.
So, instead, I engage in what I love: reading and writing.
Day after day, I engage in the non-productive and non-useful.
But I also learn that sometimes, my forays into different subjects made all the difference for another who is also tired and disillusioned.
In those rare moments, I know it is all worth it.
Oops…face mask is dry and I’ve managed to smudge the sheen on my big toe…. back to the salt mine….
Thanks for listening. In talking to you, I’ve decided my life has not been a complete waste of time after all.
Call me if ever you’re questioning your own existence. I’m happy to listen. And I bet I can find evidence your life wasn’t wasted either.