Gray Skies

You never know what life is going to toss your way.

It’s weird, but even the most meticulous planning can go awry, and things that you’ve detailed to the Nth degree will flush down the drain faster than you can blink an eye.  It’s also strange in seeing people you once thought would ascend to the greatest of heights, lost momentum, level off, or fall completely from grace.

I just ran into a former boss of mine, a guy I knew two lifetimes ago, and one who unwittingly played a major role in me getting to where I am today.  But for his protection of me during a critical stage as I started my undergraduate work, I would likely have never finished school, much less ended up as an educator.  He didn’t understand my plans at the time; I can’t say that I knew myself what I’d wanted – but he respected that I had plans, and that was more than anyone else had given me at that point.

Life was not good to him.  He looked haggard and rushed; our meeting was brief.  He acted as one who had to race to a parking meter before the Meter Maid reached their vehicle.  I noticed that his eyes kept darting back and forth, and I wondered if he was well.  I’ll never know because our meeting was shockingly short, and before I knew it, he was off – swallowed by the rush hour crowd.

Ordinarily, I’d have shrugged and gone on my way, but as I’ve said, I feel a small measure of debt and gratitude to him and the support he gave me long ago.  I think that this has been bothering me today because – foolishly, perhaps – I decided to listen to Thomas Newman’s classic soundtrack to The Shawshank Redemption, a movie that I love, but can’t watch too often as the injustice it depicts (yes, I know the film is about overcoming that – an more), always pisses me off.  For some reason, the film always reminds me of those early collegiate days – possibly, because that’s when I saw the movie – and it’s a small hop-skip-and-jump for me to dredge up other memories associated with that period of my life.  As to the soundtrack, it’s moodiness often leaves me in a quasi-morose state, but it’s such a dark and atmospheric piece that I consider it to be one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard.  I love it, despite the fact that it often leaves me sad.  Is that craziness, or no?

But that’s not the only thing on my plate right now.  I’m conflicted over the fact that I return to work on Monday, not having done the things that I’d earnestly hoped I’d have accomplished.  I’ve spent money, yes, far more than I’d wanted.  But there’s little completed that’s tangible.  I finished a few model kits, and did some painting.  But I didn’t sew a new shirt or write an article.  I did some baking, and made dinner every night this week (usually, it’s once or twice per week), yet I feel that I’ve wasted the last carefree days I’ll have for a long time, and there’s next-to-nothing to show for it.  Those exams, however, are still on the table awaiting my attention, so it’s not like I won’t have anything to show for my time off come Monday.

I’m also sitting here quietly awaiting the fate of Baby Sis.  Seems that her problems were almost entirely due to her medications not being in sync.  She’s better, stronger, and coherent.  That said, there’s still the original problem – a staph infection – and the presumed source of that infection: Contaminated hardware from an earlier operation.  Thus, she’s having the hardware removed today, and I’m frustrated because I can’t go to the hospital, as I’m due to pick up the Little Woman from a previously scheduled event.

Truth is, I don’t want to go to the hospital. I’m tired.  Emotionally and physically.  I hate walking to that elevator, then walking down that hallway.  I hate the plastic smiles on the staff as they greet me, and my almost robotic obligatory response.  I hate seeing my sister the way she is, which is in great contrast to what I know her to be.  I know she’s getting better, but that doesn’t make it easier.  I’m sitting here imagining this and my eyes are welling up.  I’m tired and no one seems to understand.

I did, however, manage to finish that book I’d purchased three or four days ago.  I’d previously mentioned that there was a book I’d really wanted, and finally located it.  I’d also mentioned that I was disappointed in it, and now that I’ve finished, my disappointment is confirmed – despite the tons-o-praise on the book’s jacket, I just couldn’t get into it, or the alleged “humor” and “satire” the book supposedly contained.  It was just a meandering tale about a flawed, arrogant ass, who was trying to make sense of his changing world – with an emphasis on the “arrogant” part.  I must have hated the book more than I’m willing to acknowledge, because four days is some kind of record for adult-me.  Usually, we’re talking a couple of weeks – years, even – for me to finish a book.  But I wanted to get to the end of this one, and fast.  Well, at least now I can say that I did it.

I’m sorry – the chance meeting, my sister, my sense of futility, and this music – have all put me in a bad place.  I keep saying that I’ll buy more cheery music, but that never seems to work out.  I thought I’d visit the local Disney Store, in hopes that the “most magical place on Earth” had some spare happiness that would fall my way.  That was a joke.  Does Disney make an effort to hire rude people nowadays?  I didn’t feel joyous; I felt combative.  At heart was the placement of a sign.

Disney has a sale going on, and a sign announced that a certain franchise’s products were “Buy One, Get One Free.”  Okay – I can do that.  So I go to the register with two items from that series that I’d wanted; I was happy about it, too.  The sales lady rang up the price as double – no freebie. I questioned this, and referenced the sign, but she countered with, “It refers to certain products, not the whole line of them.”

Uh, the sign doesn’t say that!

She was rude and condescending, but there was a line, and if nothing else, I’m respectful of other people’s time.  I only purchased the item I wanted the most, and moved on.  Later, though, this bothered me, so I went back to the store and looked at the sign.  Sure enough, it does not say what the sales lady said it did.  A new sales lady approached me, but when I explained that I was only trying to confirm what I’d been told earlier, she took offense that I would question her colleague, and walked off as I was mid-sentence.

Fortunately, there were no arrests made in the Magic Kingdom’s store, but I’ve learned my lesson.  If I want something from Disney, an online order is the only way to go.




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