One of my dearest friends called the other day– to check in on me, give me a little business advice, and insist that I start blogging again. I stopped blogging over a year ago, and my excuse was that I felt like I was suffering from a lack of distinct focus. One blog was about bath salts I made, another about a great chicken salad, and more often than not, I found myself tapping out nostalgic stories from the farm or recounting a recent visit or phone call with my grandmother. Most people have blogs on one particular topic, and I felt silly just sharing whatever was on my mind at the moment. The truth is, however, that writing has always brought a sense of peace to my hyper-anxious soul, and so in spite of my absence and continued lack of focus–, here we go again. Though I have to admit, I don’t feel like much of a writer or English major anymore–I’ve long since stopped correcting people’s texts and emails in my head and have found myself hitting “send” on many a terrible-worded message because I’m in a hurry. I’ve even diminished myself to being that person who voice texts without correcting– eek!
So here’s to a blog without any focus–hence the title.
Today was my first day back on my route again–I broke my foot in early June on a trampoline, because I mistakenly thought I was still young enough to turn multiple flips without injury. The joke and bad pun is on me, as it’s taken me the entire summer to bounce back. I didn’t walk for 3 months, and after nearly 4, was cleared to drive short distances yesterday. I’m in sales, and I’ve been blessed enough to have customers who have continued to buy from me, in spite of the fact that I’m not visiting, bringing samples, recipe ideas, or really any value at all. I certainly don’t take this for granted, but I have had some days this summer where the cabin fever made me dangerously close to declaring insanity, and I felt less than lucky or blessed.
I’ve certainly gained some perspective, however, as I had no idea what it would feel like to crawl up the 3 flights of wooden stairs in our townhouse in order to get to bed every night; I found a new appreciation for my husband, who hauled my knee scooter up and down the stairs so that I wouldn’t have to crawl on hands and knees to whatever destination per floor I needed. I thought of all the people who have life-long disabilities and felt guilty every time I started to get frustrated with my situation. I had to ask for help, though, a lot. I wore out favors with family and friends and finally started paying people to do the tasks I used to be able to do, and learned humility for the first time in awhile.
Yesterday, I was at the ortho waiting for my last X-ray and driving clearance, and the waiting room was filled with people missing limbs and in wheel chairs–permanent situations. I was punching orders and coding on my computer and rudely taking phone calls when a young woman was wheeled in by a medic; her right leg was amputated and wrapped haphazardly, and yet she was laughing, joking with the medic, and offering him the free coffee in the corner of the doctor’s office. I got off the phone, closed my computer, and disconnected for a moment from the late deliveries, orders that were waiting on my phone, and customers calling for better pricing. I knew I had lost perspective again, and I waited for my name to be called while imagining the long term life of the people in my current space. As I looked around, I knew I was the luckiest one–the only one who would probably get some kind of “freedom release,” and while I was giddy inside at the thought of getting back out to the streets and normal life, I felt incredibly guilty to be getting a pass while the rest of the room had a different kind of sentence.
I got my release—and I literally got out of Uber yesterday and right into my pollen-crusted Ford focus, worried that it may not start after months of being idle in the driveway. I drove to a couple of accounts, eager to get back going again, and then to Swifty to get the weariness of the summer rinsed clean. I couldn’t believe how fast my foot wore out, and I was back home sooner than I expected, still thinking about that room full of folks who weren’t able to even have an hour of independence like I’d just had.
So back to (one of) my point(s)–today was my first full day on my route. I said I would take it easy and just visit a few accounts, but I couldn’t stop, and found myself still out, punching my last order at 5:57 in a parking lot for a 6:00 cut off. My foot had a few heartbeats of it’s own and the drive home was seriously painful, but the day was worth it. After a summer of just doing the mundane–like punching orders, tracking trucks, listening to the criticism and putting out the relentless fires, today I got to hug customers, talk about their kids, suggest new recipes for fall, and meet their new staff.
The only reason I have this job is because Nicholas’ dad (Poppi) told me right before he passed that Gordon was coming to Atlanta and I should go work for them. I dismissed his words, as he was literally dying, and I couldn’t see past our grief of losing him, much less listen to career advice; but when the Gordon recruiter called 2 days later, I couldn’t help but pay a bit of attention and feel like there was something at work much bigger than me. After a few more signs and relentless calls from the recruiter, I went to interview, and the rest, as they say, is history. The stars aligned, as cliché as that is, and I’m thankful for a plan I could have never schemed myself.
Today, Poppi was with me all day. I felt him in every customer visit, every quiet moment in the car and as odd as it sounds, my favorite thing about being in the food industry is that it makes me feel closer to him, even though he’s gone and I can’t pick his brain and ask his advice like I’d want to. This job is a quick path to him and when I stop long enough to be as grateful as I ought to be, he’s one I’m most grateful for.
So while I’m still limping along in a hideous, and now nearly worn out walking boot, and my “green-bean sales job” is less than glamorous, I’m grateful for a summer that taught me to slow down, taught me humility and perspective, and has given me a fresh shot this fall. I don’t know when I’ll be able to wear my 50+ pairs of cute heels again, and I’m certainly behind the 8 ball on new customers, but I have much to be thankful for, and I know it.
And for the record–I don’t plan to pull any more shenanigans on trampolines any time soon—though I would like to walk/run on the beach in time for our anniversary cruise in October and have a pipe dream of learning to surf on our Mexico trip in February…
PS–So, Lauren, there you have it. It’s a crappy first blog back and I know it, but I’m rusty at a lot of things right now, so forgive the lack of photos and disaster of a coherent story, but I’m back at it, and it’ll only go up from here. That’s the amazing thing about being rock bottom in your writing. 🙂