Friday, December 29, 2006

Kindness Goes a Long Way(Guest post by Barb)

He sat with me in silence. It was one of the acts of kindness that I recall with fondness to this day. I have had a few occassions through the years when I can be rather hyper. This was one such time. A group of Young Single Adults were talking about a trip they were planning to Utah. I do not know if I had thought about it before, but I know in that moment I felt like I really needed to go to Utah to visit some old companions. They said there was not room. I think I added something about riding in the trunk or on top of the car. I didn't think that seemed entirely far-fetched in my state of mind. It really was unrealistic for me to even think of such a thing. Going places was very hard for me by that point and I scarcely went to Church due to my condition. I did go to Young Single Adults and School, and Work(unless this was between jobs), and Institute. But it was hard as I have problems everywhere I go. I may have broken myself of the habit of asking people if something was safe that was racing through my mind at this time having asked one too many people who made me feel like I was a pain in my asking. Eventually, I would just stop going and that is probably for the best. Avoidance of going places is still a strategy that serves me well today in surviving.

Then I told the small group that it was okay that I understood that they were not my friends. I didn't mean anything buy it. I don't remember if they usually hung out together or such, but I was thinking that they must as they arranged to go to Utah together.I think the one man and the woman in turn said they were my friends. I kind of knew the one and was fairly good friends with his brother. I think I replied I did not know him and think I made some comment of like nature to the woman who I don't think I knew. She seemed nice. That young men said that I had an attitude. I promptly agreed in the moment with a complete lack of attitude in my acceptance of his pronouncment.

The other young man said he was my friend.(This is the one who would stay). He was in my ward and I do recall inviting him to an activity shortly after he came home from his mission. I think he really thanked me for letting me know. We would see each other at Church or Institute and he was always friendly. But we were by no means close.

I'm not sure exactly the order of events or all that was said. I do recall telling him that he was just nice to me because I was not active in Church. From what I had gleaned, he had been a very hard working missionary. I think he was serving in some capacity as a Stake or Ward Missionary during that time frame. I sensed a little astonishement at my accusation in his voice when he asked if I thought he could be nice to me for so long for that reason. I am not sure exactly when the others left and it was just the two of us.

At one point, I had a very forlorn feeling come over me. It was then that he sat with me in silence. Time seemed suspended. Then, I dismissed him saying something about how I didn't need him. He must have left shortly after that point. I must have been carrying on to the point that those in the next room heard me as I think somebody repeated something I said. Of course, that is embarassing to know that my display was more public than was supposed by me.

I called the young man later to apologize and let him know that I did not mean anything by it. I said that it was more about the definition of friends versus acquintance.

"My friend" would fall from his lips often when I would see him in the future. I don't think he used that term of endearment before that time. He paid for me to go to a movie once after Institute Graduation. I think that was after the incident.

A couple times he would ask me questions that were a little personal and say that is what friends do is ask questions. I think one of the questions was whether I was afraid to die.

When I was trying to move out of an abusive situation, he gave me a ride to an elderly ladies home that I had heard about through the school list of those who take in borders. I had never talked to him about my situation and he wanted to know why I was moving out. I did not go into how very bad things could be. I just glossed over by saying that my dad yelled at me. He told me that no home is perfect and that I should just leave when he yelled at me at that time and tell him that he ruined my day. That is not so easy when you do not drive and also when you do not like to go places when you feel contaminated. I would only go places immediately after bathing and getting dressed and incidents are not likely to follow such a time table. Although he did not understand, it was so nice that he cared enough to ask and give advice. He thought the lady was nice when he took me. She thought he seemed like a fine LDS boy when I informed her of our faith. She was RLDS herself. Moving in with her fell through ,by the way, as she decided not to take in another border at the time.

I haven't seen this young man for years. He is married now with children. I think of him sometimes when I need to remember that men can be nice to women and not want anything out of it. I have an inner smile when I think of how he seemed to always try to insert "my friend" at least once when we ran across each other. I think of how comforting it was to have someone just sit with me. I do not doubt that he is my friend. He won more than my friendship. He won my respect.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tagged by bookslinger

Barb e-mailed me and explained tagged. Hmmmm......I think you guys pretty much know everything about me.

1. How much I weigh - you will never know that. Only one person knows that, the doctor's nurse. She lets me fudge, so the doctor doesn't even know.

2. How's my sex life? You will never know.

3. How much money is in my checkbook? I never discuss money.

4. I am an extroverted introvert. There's an official word for it. I'm not shy and am very friendly, but I need to be alone 99% of the time. And I hate parties and get-togethers. I even tell my kids to go home after awhile. People who don't know me well are always surprised by that one because I seem so outgoing.

5. I am the laziest person on the planet. My favorite thing is to just lay on the couch and eat popcorn and click the remote. Or just lay. Lie? I can lay in one position for a whole hour and just feel my muscles relax and enjoy the whole process. People who know me well know this is no exaggeration.

I tag Jeff Lindsay, also. I miss your posts, Jeff.

Merry Christmas, everyone! We are having nine people for Christmas Eve dinner, Prime Rib and Shrimp. I am dreading it.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I've had an epiphany. I love visiting teaching and I have a testimony of this program in furthering God's work and serving others. I bellyache about those who don't and I complain about the hypocrisy of those who attend church regularly and bear their testimonies and don't do their visiting teaching. I know who they are because I'm the coordinater in my ward. Which is a totally thankless calling and I don't recommend it.

But somebody made an idle comment the other day that perhaps these people don't have a testimony of that particular principle, but they have a testimony of others. And I thought, "yeah, like how I don't like to go to church. I don't have a testimony of the importance of attending meetings."

And now I'm nicer to the ones who don't have that testimony, but have testimonies that I don't have. I'm also looking at myself nicer because it's not that I'm lazy and church is boring, it's that I don't have a testimony of it. Yet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fast Food Times(Guest Post by Barb)

Working at a national fastfood hamburger chain was a very pivitol experience in my young adult years. Therefore, this is probably going to be long.

I started working at the fastfood job at 18 when I was in my first semester of college. I consider it to be my first real job. I was so nervous! In high school, I had so much anxiety about my future and could not envision my sucessfully holding a job due to my spacey nature.

I remember being trained to make hamburgers in the back and thinking it was cool when I learned how to fold the paper around them. They did not keep me in the back long. I was quickly moved to work up front.

Shortly after starting there, I waited on my grandpa and his lady friend of many years. His lady friend remarked how I looked just like my grandpa's grandaughter. They did not know I was working there. Finally, I said something like, grandpa with a tone of endearment and they knew it was me. We would have a good laugh over that through the years.

I gained a reputation as a somone who tried to stay busy. However, I was not noted for my quickness in filling orders. Once a co-worker saw me move faster than usual and said she never saw me move so fast. I was so surprised the first time they called me in for over-time. They actually wanted me around! There were a few weak areas such as the fact that when reviewed, I did not smile when waiting on the customers. I was very polite though. They liked how I was constantly picking up in the dining room when it slowed down enough. I think I was forever giving too many fries. I may have given too many napkins too. We had a slow volume store and managers were very edgy about profits. The owner owned a few in our area and one elsewhere. Once he came in to let us know that he just bought his son a BMW.

Having the owner around made me uneasy. I was even more nervous when the person who I think was the district manager would come around. He would stand behind my shoulder and I would feel so tense. The managers were usually pretty satisifed with my work and did not give a lot of feedback. There was a manager who started to work there a little while after I did. She was a nice person. However, she followed me around constantly. She had a pointer for everything from how to do the fries to cleaning the window. Finally, it was just too much and a stream of tears started falling and falling. I waited on the customer and kept going until I was composed again. I think she made an effort to be more laidback from there on out.

I was very shy and quiet in those days. I would apologize for the smallest things. If someone was mopping, I would say I was sorry if I happened to be in the way. I was also very meek when I needed to ask the back workers about the status of an item. I would be just audible enough for them to hear me. I think I was incapable of raising my voice in that setting.

I did gain skills such a dove-tailing as I had to stock things up and also start shutting down the salad bar between waiting on customers when I was on the closing shift.

Sometimes they would have me do the prep work on the salad bar. I always felt very inefficient as I had to ask a lot of questions of the regular prep person. One day day I was doing dishes and had the bright idea to make sure I got the tomatoe slicer very clean by taking the cloth against the blade. Don't try that one at home as I had to go directly to the doctor's office to get stitched up. Upon my return, they told me to take my break and get back to work. While my fingers were still in bandages, I worked a holiday when it was slow and had to try to find cleaning projects to do that I could manuever.

I consider myself to be one of the least mechanical people on the planet. I was so impressed when I was able to take the shake maching apart and later learn how to put it back together. When I closed, I would wash the parts. I liked the order of having an indented place in plastic to put the parts.

Closing was fun for me because we would play the popular music of the day into the front microphone. It could get to be long on my feet though. I think I started at 5 pm once and we did not get out of there until 5 am. That is not supposed to happen.

They had trouble getting me to take my breaks as I was supposed to as I was such a nervous type then that I did not like sitting out there. I was always worried if I was doing a good job. I also would not order their regular food, which was related to my shyness. I would order a shake. It was weird. They thought that I did not like the food when in reality I often had their food at home with my family.

Then, it came time to quit. Not to many months later, I had to return as I could not get the schedule I needed at my other job to work around my school schedule. One of my former managers hired me back on the spot. I so did not want to work there. My home life was stressful at that point to put it mildly, school was stressful as I wanted high grades, and this job was stressful. I think I had a break when I did not work and cocentrated on my studies. I had liked the job that I worked in the interim. It was telemarking- my niche in life.

Then, I quit again and vowed never to go back. After my mission, I was not able to get Sundays off at my telemarking job where I had worked previously. I had gained weight as a missionary and thought this would be convenient as it was close enough to home to walk and also that I would get exercise on the job. This was during the break between my first semester and second semester back to school after my mission that I started working there.

I was abysmal as usual in the back. I was moved up front and the one supervisor said kindly how things should be easier as that was what I was used to doing. I was all confused. The cash register was different. I do not recall having difficulty reading the print out before. In addition to combos, they had dinners. I had trouble reading the print out and also remembering what went with a dinner or a combo. There were only combos before. Ironically, I had thought that I would concentrate so well when I returned to this job that I would outshine my former performance and fill the orders so efficiently.

There were new health regulations and also a video about food safety that was new. I had episodes of ocd. One of these caused nightmares for me. This was when it all started spiralling out of control.

I couldn't go on. All the managers were different than my previous two times working there. One of the managers was rude and sarcastic in the little sampling of the week that I worked there.

He was on duty when I walked the frigid walk from my home. Oh, how bittter cold it was. I don't think I was scheduled that day. I don't think I told my parents I was quiting. It felt like one of those windshields and temperatures that were dangerous to be out in for more than a few minutes and I had a strange feeling about me like I almost didn't care if I were being marred for life from the damage of the low temperature. It was a strange and surreal determination. I told the manager I was quiting and asked him if he wanted me to work the next day I was scheduled. He said yes. I worked that day and one of my duties was to mop the floor, which was something I was never very good at as I got it too wet and probably sudsy. It was really a back staff duty before when I worked there so I may not have had a chance before. I did my time and left.

When my grandpa found out I no longer worked there, he said that he did not go there anymore. They went to the other hamburger chain just a few blocks away. The coffee going downhill at my place of employement was the reason that he offered.

Sometimes we go through the drive thru there. That was a position that I worked there quite often that not all the register people could do. You had to be able to do the math in counting back the dollars. There was a coin maching that would give the change. After working there so long, I often knew without even thinking the amount of change on some items. Yes, I gained a lot of confidence there. As you see, I also lost a part of myself there that I have never entirely regained. My worries multiplied in so many directions starting at that point. What started as isolated incidents became every moment of my day on some level of having ocd part of my being. I didn't know as I quit that my life was turning that inside out. It was like up was down and down was up.

I like to imagine that there is a disembodied me in there. The part of me that was able to function and somehow if I were to go in back there that I would get it back.

But how I hope that I never have to go back!