After taking the zillionth call of the day, I knew that my limit was reached. A red light flashed on my phone, indicating that a voicemail was waiting with more questions and requests but there was nothing left for me to give. I simply closed my laptop and headed towards the door for a walk. The receptionist saw me leave and shouted, “Wait, I’ve got a caller on the other line looking for you.”
I took a lesson from my clients and proceeded outside, pretending that I never heard her plea.
At first, I walked hard and fast. The sun was hot and I wore a long sleeve shirt, which was not great planning on my part. Beads of sweat started to form on my forehead and I slowed down. I focused on my breathing, like my husband/stress guru advised this morning. I felt better about life and could think again. The stress wasn’t controlling me.
I rounded the corner and headed back towards the building through the parking lot when I was spotted by Ms. E, the mistress of custodial services for the ladies restroom. She was dressed in an all purple outfit and was holding a bucket of cleaning supplies.
Ms. E called out, “Baby, why you walking when you have a car?”
I told her that I was having a stressful day and had to get out of the office, thinking this explanation to be justified and straight forward.
Ms. E nodded her head in a knowing (or pre-Parkinson’s) way, “Baby, there ain’t nothing worth stressing over. It’s like this, either you have the money for the bills or you don’t. If you have the money, pay the bills. If you don’t, then you don’t pay the bills. It’s simple, see. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be, Baby.”
Well, yes, that does make sense, I thought and nodded to let her know I was listening. I yearned to look at my watch, sensing that my absence was soon to be noticed. The sun beat down on my head and shoulders. Beads of sweat now started to roll down the sides of my face and neck.
She continued, “See, there’s a difference between thinking and stressing. I thinks about my bills all the time but I don’t let it get me upset, like you are now.”
Ms. E called me out in a parking-lot-style intervention. She forced me to realize, while sweating and missing in action from my cube, that there really wasn’t anything to stress over. If I can take action, do it. If there’s nothing to do or I don’t have the right tools or abilities, then that’s it. Nothing more and nothing less but no need for stress.
I am grateful to this strange cleaning angel in purple for helping me to put this Tuesday into perspective.
I told her so as I walked away and she yelled after me, “Looks like you were meant to run into me. Be good, Baby.”
She disappeared behind me as I scurried up the back stairs and slipped back into my cube without a stress in the world. Then the phone rang and it started all over again.