Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Familiar Faces

Is it true? Have I become ‘one of them’? Those friends who are way too busy to even give you a phone call to see how you’re doing? Am I the type of person who’s way too busy with a bunch of nothingness to even send an email? Chatting is a waste of time and energy—a bunch of text all crammed in a little box telling one another lies about how ‘good’ everything is. Or is it? When I worked twelve hour shifts at a conventional job, it was like I had all the time in the world. I always had time to hang out with a friend after work for a beer, or go out for dinner—and now, it seems as though my motivation to even keep these relationships alive, have me somewhat puzzled.

Consumed in my writing and getting my book out has become priority to me. Even when I’m done thinking I’m complete with my editing, I have Madelene go over it. A second pair of eyes is always good. I have her consumed as well. Madelene sometimes gets off at 8pm, and I’m still working in my office. We meet one another in the living room to watch a show or two, and then go to sleep. The cycle then continues.

The other evening, I decided to take a break around 5pm, and grab myself a cup of coffee at a cafĂ© nearby—by myself. Madelene was working late, and I needed to get some fresh air. As I was driving down the road, my mind changed. It was as if some unbalanced chemical flooded out a few cells in my brain. I decided to go to our favorite restaurant. I planned on bringing home dinner for Madelene to surprise her. I didn’t even call it in. I wanted to sit at the bar, enjoy a glass of wine by myself, and possibly socialize.

Vinny, the owner came over to sit with me. His broken English trying to get the right words out were absolutely draining. I love him though---I’ve known him all my life, but it’s a challenge to try and decipher every word.

“Debbie, right?” A woman at the bar called out to me.
“We worked together at the telecommunications company, remember me?”

Immediately I recognized her and the lady she was sitting with. Jean was an account manager for the company I worked at, and Joyce was the district manager of the entire corporation. (I believe—correct me if I’m wrong guys!) We instantly started talking, remembering people who worked with us. Both Jean and Joyce left the company as well.

“So what are you doing now?” Jean asked.
“I’m a writer and work from home.”
“Well isn’t that something!”
Joyce says, as she puts her drink down. “I’ve always wanted to be a writer. That’s great! How did you get there?”

I explained to her how I went through certain situations in my life that led me to write in a journal on my computer. It ended up turning out to be a book. It took a few years to get it published, but I kept at it. I explained to her that blogging also helped me. To be in a writer’s community where you can be critiqued and network with other talented people is just truly amazing. I always thought blogging was for teenagers to vent their frustrations out--but as it turns out, I find more intellectually stimulating adults writing. It’s not just for ‘teeny-boppers’ anymore. She took down my web address for my blog, and said she was going to read it. She also said she wanted to try blogging out for herself. I was quite flattered that she would take my consideration for it. I always respected Joyce, because she wasn’t one of those executive types that had no time for you. She really listened to your concerns.

I remember working in the same company as Joyce, and the union I was in was planning a strike. This union was like a fricken cult. Every Thursday we had to wear a red shirt (well it was advised), and we had to go to their meetings after work. I never went to one. Their politics were horrible, and their moral was down—so it was all negative energy flowing into one room. Not for me. As we all planned to lose our jobs, I remember my views on why they were striking.

First of all, most of us were making $20 per hour and up. Not to mention we also got commission on sales that we did. So a base pay of $20 per hour, lots of overtime, and a commission check at the end of the month---I was making as much as a nurse! I felt so guilty about arguing over raises. Don’t forget, this is going back five years ago in upstate NY. The pay rate is lower than the city’s rate.

I wrote Joyce an email, thinking she would never have the time to write back to me. I told her how grateful I was to have this job. I explained how upset I was about going on strike. The main issue was, they were bringing in new people at a rate of $11 per hour. This was intimidating for a lot of senior employees who’ve been there for like twenty plus years making close to $30 per hour. It basically meant that they ‘may’ be replaced one day.

Joyce wrote me this long email back to me. I was surprised. She appreciated my opinion and view on the matter, and explained much of the situation to me. I really thought my email would have ended up in her trash bin of her computer, but it ended up being priority. Now, being that this was almost five years ago, she has probably forgotten this--but I do want to thank her on this post for acknowledging my email. She always acknowledged everyone’s views. You weren’t just a ‘number’---or----‘that employee’; you were a person who was valued. Joyce made you feel that way. If I ever end up working for a corporation again, I hope she hires me.

Jean is another person who was always sincere when speaking to someone. I always saw her out in the break room getting her coffee as I had my 3pm lunch. Jean always made it a point to not only say ‘hello’, but she also inquired about your life and what’s going on—she’s very personable. There was a time where I was trying to get Madelene in the company. I asked Jean, because she was the manager of outside sales. This was definitely Madelene’s forte. I remember Jean took the time out to talk to Madelene about the position and gave her an opportunity to work there. Madelene declined due to pay and other factors, but was grateful that Jean went out of her way for her.

Both Joyce & Jean truly left an impression on me. They both possess this ability to treat people with respect—whether you were working in the mail room or pushing a broom---they would always stop and talk with you to see how you were doing. They saw people for ‘who they are’, not 'what they did'. Maybe it’s because they worked so hard to get to the top that they never forgot where they came from? I’m not sure what it is, but I will always remember how they treated others.

I’m so happy I got to bump into them. It really made my evening to see them again. It’s been quite some time. I wish Joyce the best in her writing ventures, and I wish Jean all the best with her new marriage!

When I got home from the restaurant, I got a phone call from my friend Tamar, who also worked with us at that company---in fact, she still works there.

“Deb! Come out with my sister and me. Meet us at the sport’s bar for a drink!” She asked, thinking that I would say, “Oh no, I’m so tired Tamar, maybe next time…”
“Sure. I’ll be right over.”
I shocked the hell out of her. We ended up having a great time over a few pints of beer.

A few nights later, we did it again and met up with a very nice couple. I saw my friend who owns a gallery that I help out on occasion—and it was so nice seeing her again. She inquired about starting a blog of her own. Since I’ve started my own blog for the first time in July, I have had five people start a blog of their own.

So, my whole point of this story is, for my New Year’s resolution, I am going to stop cramming all my time and energy into my work, and balance it out by getting out there and spending more quality time with my friends again. I really missed them more than I knew.
Don't pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ~Romans 12:9-10


Leesa said...

~deb: I started writing something today, and you touched on it here. Not your central theme, but something. Perhaps you will see it tomorrow (if I finish it). Yeah, I am taking stock, wondering if I am spending my time where I should be spending time.

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Yay!!! So when are you coming over????? Well? I'm waiting. Sometimes we move away from friends for awhile. That's okay, it's how we bring a fresh perspective to the friendships and keep them growing.

BTW, I killed my blog, but I'm sure I'll still be reading my favorites... yours being one.

Crassius Maximus said...

Yo,Deb I feel you on dis one, especially the close (Romans 12:9-10). The only dubious thing is the "honoring each other". Being guys, me and my goombas show love by calling each other c#*%suckers and rat bastards. When girls run into each other it's like, "oh, your my trusted and dear friend, it's wonderful to see you". With me and the hellraisin' posse it's like "What's up ,jackass?, man you've picked up more pounds than an English hooker on New Year's eve!!"
Sorry to hear about Sable D's spot, it was interesting.

Crassius Maximus said...

That's "Oh, YOU'RE...
Sincerely, spellcheck

Prata said...

If your friend is wrong...does that mean you must hate them then?

And genuine affection as opposed to......

I'm fairly certain that anything aside from genuine affection is well...not affection.

Further, It's true we do move away from friends at times. It happens because we become so caught up in yesterday and tomorrow. It's difficult to be rooted in now. It's even more difficult to be rooted in now and know when now is history..and you need to bring your self to the now once again.

Such a razor's edge we all walk across like ants upon grass. Or somethin' proverbial and completely missing the point like that. lol

~Deb said...

Leesa: Great minds. ;)

Sable: Like I said, if we lived closer, we'd be shootin' the breeze over a pint of beer! I'm sad to see your blog go, I really am, but I hope that you'll get back into writing--if you're not already doing a side project of your own. Never give up! xxoo

Crassius: "What's up ,jackass?, man you've picked up more pounds than an English hooker on New Year's eve!!"
You're hysterical---you fricken nutcase! haha! Gotta love ya! Da'boyz at da'jammy are certainly forces to be reckoned with! Wouldn't have ya any other way!

Prata: Hate what is wrong--being gossip, lies, doing things to hurt one another and not being a 'real' friend. No Prata, I don't hate anyone--I dislike some people, but hate is a very strong word! I also don't 'pretend' to like people. You'll know it if I don't like someone. I'll just disappear.
And yes, anything other than genuine affection--is not affection at all. You're right! :)

Miss 1999 said...

Deb- that is so true. We do need to spend more time with our friends. I'd always dreamt of being able to be a housewife, where I'd have all the time I wanted to spend with my husband and friends- and now that I am, I don't do all the things I wanted to- and don't know why?

I'm going to be starting back to work soon, and am really looking forward to getting back to living, and spending quality time with my friends and loved ones. Life is so short- too short to be worrying about the things I've been worrying about! *Hugs*

Prata said...

Finished that post you're lookin' for Deb ^_^ heee

~Deb said...

I'm impressed! Interesting facts about you. I think everyone should head over to Prata's blog to see what he's about.

Very interesting! Even if we do have healthy religious and political debates. (hehe)

mal said...

A great story and a lesson that I should try and take to heart. It seems in the rush of getting to the places I need to go and doing the things that must be done, I have lost track of people that were important to me

kathi said...

Finally!!! So, I can expect more phone calls, emails, texting even??? Thank you!

kathi said...

Oh, and I got this great forward today, that I'm sure you'd like. :)
You know what, though? I think that just maybe your concentration was where it belonged when it belonged there. Maybe now things are at a place where you can rest and enjoy life more...hey, only God knows. :)

~Deb said...

Mallory: I admit, that I sometimes drift off into my own world to try to get things done, and then I realize that I totally leave my friends and family behind---just because I’m in ‘my own world’. I’m one to not answer the phone, not answer emails periodically, or make the first initial phone call. I email more because it’s just ‘easier’. But I can’t do that anymore. I know that it ticks my buddies off.

Kathi: I’m dialing your @ss right now! Now, what forward did you receive that “I would like”??? I’m curious.

Shoe Diva said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog -- I believe you looked Officer Penhall played by Peter Deluise. lol

gotta love the jump street

~Deb said...

That's it! I hate it when I forget someone's name.

L>T said...

Hi ~Deb! Like two ships passing in the night, we are...
You are one of those people who try to do everything.
I am one of those people who try to get the most out of life w/the lest effort...

~Deb said...

Well jump on my ship and let's have a few cocktails and not worry about anything!

blackops said...

Okay...Im all in...and I'll be back :)

SuperSpyGal said...

You are very articulate when you write, I enjoyed reading it...I too, worked for some wonderful, supportive people in my past. Not very often you come across someone who is in the role of authority, yet can still see things from the viewpoint of someone not as high on the so-called "todem pole"..
Good Luck with the book and good for you for getting out and enjoying yourself more....Everyone needs an equal balance in their life !!
Thanks for stopping by my office is open to you at any appointment necessary...LOL :)

L>T said...

O.K. like two ships passing in the night...I keep finding you.
Went & cooked dinner, don't remember what was so important???
Anyway, Chow!

Freak'n word verification, !@#$%

joey♥ said...

that's something i need to work on too. by the way, when's your book coming out? i can't wait!

Deadly Female said...

As ever, Deb, a wonderful and thought-provoking post.

It can be hard to find that balance between a life of responsility and a life of spontaneity - to divide your energies between your committments and your relationships. But I'm glad you are doing it and I know it will give you so much fulfilment.

kathi said...

I honestly do love you and I take much delight in honoring you.

Genna said...

Hi Deb! Great post! I often put off calling my friends, hoping to get a spare moment that never seems to come.

Have a great day!

Wenchy said...

You are SO beautiful.

I VERY seldom call friends or answer the phone for that matter... I hate speaking on the phone.

I prefer visiting, e-mail etc... my bad.

Anonymous said...

Cool guestbook, interesting information... Keep it UP
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