I exchanged emails with an old friend of mine earlier this week. We spent a few lines catching up. He asked how I was doing, and then he interjected he thought that I had been “bitter” about a couple of things that I have had to deal with in my life over the last decade.
I had to think about his verbiage a bit before responding.
Bitter? Had I really been bitter? I wasn’t so sure that captured how I felt. In fact, I could think of a number of other ways to describe my feelings: disappointed, realistic, not excited, resigned. I suppose the list could go on, but the point in my mind is that there is a fairly large chasm between how I view my perspective and how others do.
I promised him a follow-up email of longer length explaining my thoughts in more detail, but I haven’t actually gotten around to doing that yet. My life has gotten in the way this week.
However, I’m not so arrogant that I dismissed out of hand his observation about my demeanor. I simply filed it away, and I figured I would either revisit myself later, or it would revisit me in some way, shape, or form, as these things often do.
Not a day later, I was shopping at an auto parts store, and at the checkout counter I asked the cashier for my customary retiree discount. Upon seeing my identification card, the parts person thanked me for my Service and asked me if I was a member of any local organizations.
“That’s a new one,” I thought. A little personal, but he was a Veteran and seemed genuinely interested in talking to me. It turned out he was the president of a club nearby, and he said I was eligible to join and he welcomed me to. He even promised to buy me a beer.
“It would have to be non-alcoholic,” I replied. “Can’t do the real stuff anymore.”
“Same here,” he said.
Glad to know I’m not the only one stuck in this rabbit hole.
I then went on my merry way and had a few other errands to run. Next stop:
Home Depot Big Box Hardware Store. If you have been following my latest chronicles, I am still in the midst of a major servicing and cleaning of the Car Daughter Left Behind. Though she is fond of referencing Hoarders regarding the state of our garage, I can make a similar case for the interior (and exterior) of her car. Somehow the promise she made to clean it up before heading back to her Lesbian Cult College was overlooked in the drama of packing, repacking, and packing again.
Yet she had plenty of time to download countless kitten photos, it seems. That’s another story, I fear.
Since I almost 100% successfully installed a new convertible top, I needed to finish up a few of the details I somehow
screwed up overlooked. I specifically required some black silicone adhesive/sealant, and I knew fairly accurately what I needed to buy.
I soon found myself planted in front of a wide selection of products at said Big Box Store.
“Too many choices,” I thought. I could easily go wrong here.
After staring at the various tubes and containers for about a minute, I was joined by an older dude who immediately struck up a conversation.
“Whatcha looking for?” he asked.
Normally, I mumble something and walk away, shunning this kind of “helpful” advice from strangers. But for some reason, I launched into great detail regarding exactly what I was searching for.
Maybe my newfound openness was buoyed by the bonhomie of the previous counter clerk. Maybe this new guy could help me. Maybe the World was a Kind Place after all.
“Well, I’ll tell you what you need,” he replied. “You need some specialized stuff. I know. I used to do this kind of thing for a living. And the place I used was Sunshine Supplies, and it’s near downtown.”
What a goldmine this guy was. As a matter of fact, the business he mentioned was located about five minutes from where I work.
This was going to be perfect.
“Don’t you want to write the address down?” he offered.
“Nope. I’ll remember it,” and I thanked him, looking forward to visiting the place in the morning.
What had I done to deserve this Niceness from the World? Was is karma? Did I look pathetic and in need of help?
Something was certainly going on here, and I was determined to ride the wave.
The next morning I duly drove downtown to search out Sunshine Supplies. This was going to be easy and rewarding. For once, I was going to have the right materials to go with the right tools to finish the job I started.
But after reaching the supposed destination, there was nothing there that even t resembled the store I was looking for.
Maybe I had the directions wrong, or the wrong street, or the wrong portion of the street?
I spent the next twenty minutes in a fruitless search for the supplier in question. I knew I had the correct road, but I began to question myself about the exact name of the place. I’m finding this phenomenon happens more and more these days.
Well, I eventually gave up looking, and became resigned to going back to Big Box and buying something there. The shine on my good karma was beginning to tarnish a bit.
And after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion the dude was fairly old, and he was retired, and who knows when the last time was he actually visited this place. Maybe it was now a lamp store or something.
I just chalked up the entire experience to “no good deed goes unpunished,” and I decided to get a couple of fish tacos and an unauthorized Vanilla Coke to ensure the morning wasn’t a total loss. After all, it was lunchtime.
I guess by afternoon’s end I wasn’t really all that disappointed, as all things seem to even out in the end.
I certainly wasn’t bitter, and I wasn’t even a tiny bit upset for having gone on something of a wild goose chase for a good amount of time earlier.
After all, it had been a beautiful day, I had a nice meal, and I didn’t have to go to work.
It could always be worse.
Of course, it was.
Later, I had a severely upset stomach from the tacos (or the soda), so I was reminded, yet again, to take things as they come, to try not to get too animated one way or the other about anything, and never, ever be bitter, if at all possible.
But if you see me in a random retail establishment, just don’t offer me any free advice and, for crying out loud, Daughter, if you just kept your car clean I wouldn’t be so bitter in the first place.