"If I die and wake up in the middle of a meeting in a room with florescent lights I will know that I am in hell." ~Fr. Matt
"I highly doubt that's going to happen but preach on, Padre." ~A Speckled Trout
Every Tuesday morning I have to go to the weekly staff meeting. Since I mostly push paper and am not a decision maker of anything more than when I should take my lunch break most everything doesn't apply to me. My presence, however, is required. The beginning of each meeting starts with everybody sharing their highs and lows. This was confusing to me during that first week of employment as I had nothing to report. A comfy chair and an office Keurig could be a high, I suppose, and so I decided that would be my response when it was my turn. Imagine my surprise when this was not business highs and lows but rather personal ones.
This exercise instantly got better because now I could learn a little something about my new coworkers and they about me and my exciting life. Normally one to prefer to not speak up and have all eyes on me, I instead embraced this opportunity to tell everyone what was going on outside of my office life. A daughter having a baby, another one about to graduate college, the Listen To Your Mother show in May.... I could go on and on with the highlight reel of my life, and being a team player I mostly kept it all high.
Driving to work every Tuesday I would mentally go over my weekend and think about what I was going to say to charm and entertain during my five minutes of highs and lows. When I was two-timing and also doing my retail job over the holidays my coworkers loved my stories of crazy customers - especially the one who insisted to me that angels were not religious. Sometimes it felt like I was doing stand-up for a new career path and maybe I was. So imagine my surprise one Tuesday morning when instead of being asked to relate our highs and lows it was decided to switch things up and inquire....
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
Going first one of my coworkers said, "At night when I get to go to bed. I am not joking." She totally took what I was going to say as the first thought of many mornings is calculating how many hours of adulting I have to fake before I can call it good and climb back into that tempur-pedic. I was in a pickle. The high and low I had practiced had to be trashed and I was under pressure to come up with something different and so I said, "It would have to be the morning. First thing when I wake up and the birds are singing. They have so much to say so early! Secondly, would be the first slug of coffee and how it courses through my veins like a blood transfusion from the American Red Cross. Lastly, my flower garden that is right outside the front door that I pass on the way to the car to get to work. All of a sudden it has sprung to life."
My coworkers smiled and nodded. "Oh that's good," they said. "Especially the coffee part."
And I smiled back and thought, "That might have been the biggest line of bullshit I've ever said out loud." I hate the mornings. If the birds wake me up I want to yell at them to PIPE DOWN. If they don't beat the alarm in waking me up I want to throw that beeping thing that practically gives me a heart attack every morning out the window - quite possibly at the chattering birds. The coffee part was true. The garden? That was an unnecessary flourish to a mostly false answer.
I dreaded the next meeting and what was suddenly going to be asked in the getting-to-know-you-question-of-the-week. Fortunately we u-turned back to our regular routine and I was in my comfort zone. "My high was a relaxed weekend puttering around the house, getting caught up on laundry and grocery shopping. I do have a low this time, though. The Good Wife ended and that has been my Sunday night ritual for years."
Cue the sad, pouty face. I was back in the high/low business.
The next week we had our regular staff meeting - smaller in attendance and in a different conference room and I was ready. "My high? Going to my mother-in-law's 85th birthday party where we saw people we hadn't seen since we got married over thirty years ago. My low? You guys, the security line at Midway Airport in Chicago. It snaked clear to the parking garage and it was at the crack of daylight on a Sunday morning." They might ask me a few questions about TSA and my mini-trauma and then we'd move on to my right and another employee with their own set of highs and lows.
Imagine my surprise when once again the script was thrown overboard.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SUMMER?
Who is reading the HR manual all of a sudden?
I s.c.r.a.m.b.l.e.d. "I would have to say that I am most looking forward to the sun since it's been so cloudy and rainy lately and the heat. Definitely the sun and some good 'ol summertime heat."
It was an out-of-body experience this big, fat lie of mine. It sounded like it was coming from the deepest recesses of a lying heart that resembles you-know-who-Trump.
I hate summer. The sweat, the frizz, the relentless droning of the air conditioner, the stinky sandals. But mostly I hate summer because so many women seem to pull it off so well with their sundresses, casual ponytails, sun-kissed skin and perfectly minimal makeup. Why do they taunt me and my beady sweat 'stache with their coolness?
"Huh," a coworker said, "I wouldn't have guessed you to be a summer person."
This would be true because on every other day of the year I am neither a summer person nor a morning person - just a working girl whose only decision is when to eat the salad she brought from home and the big, fat lie she's going to pull out of her pocket when the highs and lows are no longer a priority on Tuesday morning.
"If I die and wake up in the middle of a meeting in a room with fluorescent lights I will know that I am in hell." ~Fr. Matt
"I make shit up." ~A Speckled Trout