I’m going in a different order today because telling this story will provide a background, and some necessary detail, for the rest of the tasks.
This morning, I was headed to work on time, early enough even to stop by Starbucks to treat myself to a coffee and breakfast pastry. It felt like a good day for it. On the way, I remembered that I needed to stop for gas too, a fact I had forgotten on the way home yesterday.
Then I remembered that I didn’t have my wallet, that I was pretty sure it was at work. So, I had a few decisions to make. I didn’t think turning around to go back home would do much good since I didn’t think my wallet was there and I would have to scrounge around for some cash or loose change. Starbucks could still get me my caffeine since I could pay with my phone, and I felt like I could probably make it to work then get gas on the way home. I wasn’t completely confident, but my gas light wasn’t even on yet.
Just as I pulled into Starbucks, the gas light came on. I went ahead and got my coffee and pastry, and thought about asking the barista if I could borrow some of her tip money and just leave a tip with my app. That felt pretty sketchy though. Instead, I went back to the car and searched for loose change. I had recently given it a light cleaning, so I managed to come up with only a dime, two nickels, and about fifteen or twenty pennies, some of them too sticky with old peppermint to give to anyone. So, I headed toward the gas station that’s on the way, wondering if thirty cents worth of gas would get me to work if I didn’t use the air conditioning.
On the way, I decided it probably wouldn’t. And even if it did, there was a slim chance that my wallet wasn’t actually in my office, in which case I might be stranded at work. So, I decided to ask some people for cash. First, I checked over by the air/water machine in case anyone had dropped some loose quarters there. Then, I approached a guy roughly my age who looked like he was almost finished filling up his vehicle. I wasn’t sure what to say, but I went with this.
“Hi. So, I left my wallet at work and I’m almost out of gas, and I was wondering if maybe you had a dollar I could borrow?”
He said he thought he might, then started into his pockets. I told him I knew this feels kind of fishy, and that I was embarrassed about it. He then found a five dollar bill but no ones. And he gave me that. I asked if he was sure and told him I could send him the money or something if he gave me his contact info. He said, “No, don’t worry about it. It happens sometimes.” I thanked him and shook his hand, then headed inside to wait in a crazy long line to pre-pay for my gas.
When I went to start my car, the battery light flickered, and I double checked to make sure I hadn’t left the lights on. I hadn’t, so I tried again. Then I popped the hood and jacked around with the battery connection, cleaning off some corrosion because sometimes it likes to play games. That got the car started. Then I headed off to work, with the A/C running, and made it without any issue (aside from being late, although I was still there earlier than almost everyone else because of my schedule).
My something positive is that I felt pretty alright through that whole thing. I was never completely stressed or worried, and even though I was embarrassed about asking for money, I felt pretty confident that someone’s kindness would eventually get me enough gas to get to work.
- Obviously, I’m grateful for the guy who gave me some money without even making me feel guilty or ashamed about it. I’m grateful he was the only one I had to ask.
- I’m also grateful that he didn’t have just one dollar because I had to leave work early to go meet Melanie for an appointment. The extra gas meant I didn’t have to try to fill up when I was already running behind.
- I’m grateful that I decided to go to Starbucks in the first place. If I hadn’t, I would have been on the toll road with fewer options for getting gas, and I probably would have tried to make it to work. A decision that likely would have resulted in an even more hectic morning.
Despite not getting to work when I wanted to, I still took a few minutes to do some meditation in my office. I knew that setting that time aside would actually lead to a better, and likely more productive, day overall. I think it helped keep me settled after the rough start to the day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the earlier meditations didn’t help with my attitude about the whole thing while it was happening.
After the kindness given to me, I feel like I should have really went for this one. Instead, I complimented a coworker on something she had made recently. She seemed to appreciate that.
I just failed on this one. You see how my morning went. That led to me working through most of my lunch, which didn’t leave time for walking. And I was in a hurry on the way out, so I didn’t take any extra stairs. The afternoon and evening were consumed by the appointment (which took over three hours) and rush hour traffic on the way home. These are all just excuses, but I’m okay admitting that.
Have a good Friday.