It’s never going to be as bad as you thought.

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Had dinner the other night with a guy who’d mentioned on Facebook that he’d re-learned a life lesson. Personally, I’d guessed “Never get into a land war in Asia“, but it turns out that through the surprising ease of a telephone call, the universe had once again proved that things really aren’t nearly as bad as you think they’re going to be.

I had that yesterday. I was walking into a client meeting that afternoon that I was not looking forward to — I was certain that what I’d produced was horrid, and in no way what they’d want. I expected to lose the account, and simply be paid off so I could shuffle away, rejected again. Instead, I was surprised to find that not only were they pleased with what I’d done & wanted to continue, but there was a small group of employees who actually had a second project with a small side company outside of their employer which they wanted to retain me for. I’d walked in thinking I was going to be dismissed, and instead drove away a bit startled at having somehow gained another client with no extraneous effort on my part.

This morning, after a bit of Tetris regarding the contents of my car wherein I removed all the accoutrement for valet-ing which I’m temporarily in possession of & replaced them with an erg which I’d borrowed for Thanksgiving & needed to return to the boathouse, I came to the rather distressing discovery that my battery was indeed dead beyond the jumping of it. Since Zoom-Zoom was double-parked at the time (which was about 5:45am), I was only able to toss her into neutral and roll down the hill until I was close enough to the first stretch of curb & park until a decent hour when I could call a tow truck. (Note to self: ask Santa for AAA for Christmas)

At the time, I didn’t know what precisely the problem was, so in the process of moving the two halves of the erg back up the block to my apartment (really, I should have unloaded the car again, then moved it, however I was more worried about a ticket for double parking), I reflected that really, it hasn’t exactly been a stellar year in general, the last three months in particular. After all, as I mentioned in that self-same dinner conversation, nothing is better than having an administrator at a major university say without actually using the words that you’re a psychotic whore as you discover exactly what people you’d been foolish enough to trust had been lying to others about you.

So you have that moment where you stand in your apartment with the detritus of your life strewn about the living room where you’ve shoved it in an effort to clear your car because you don’t know how long it’s going to be gone after that tow truck takes it away, and you take a moment to take a deep breath as you think about your car possibly needing costly repairs, you think about people who hurt you, you think about being tired of having to scrap for everything in your life, you think about why you bother to try to be anything more than the unfortunate lack of awareness that others seem to prefer, and wonder why it seems like nastiness and lying are all it takes to get what one wants, since those seem to be the people who get to win.

Then perchance you see the keys in your hand. You look at the fact that there are two keys for the front door instead of one, because the last time you were stupid & trusted the wrong person to do the right thing, someone else was sent to physically attack you, and it warranted changing the locks on your apartment. You smile a little at how much that hurt – him. (Trying to take on a former kickboxing instructor wasn’t the smartest path to physical victory on an aggressor’s part.) You remember the last time people whispered that you were crazy, that you’d once before survived whispers behind your back, lived through watching as each person found out and either stopped talking to you or just stared at you funny.

Then you remind yourself how it turned out for that bunch in the end. You remember that when life shook out, you were okay. That liars don’t last, and that this time, you are not alone — you remind yourself that you have people to take care of, and a responsibility to protect them. You give yourself the same chat you had with a newly minted coach a bit earlier — that those who refuse to sit and face those they have accused are at best hiding something, at worst flat out lying, and much like the lesson regarding arguing with Sicilians when death is on the line, history has repeatedly proven they will eventually be shown for what they truly are.

You take another deep breath, admonish yourself that if one looks at the calendar this is most likely being amplified by those annoying hormones whose monthly upsurge has inconveniently increased over the last few years, and pick up the book you bought yesterday. You walk back down to your car to read for an hour or so until you could call the mechanic, since the only available curb space you’d been able to slide into had sported a stylish but municipally unfortunate shade of red.

And there, in your car, you read your new book, and discover a girl named Alexia. You laugh out loud in the happy reminder that not all of the urban fantasy genre has been run over by twitards. Once the tow truck comes and your car has been successfully ensconced at the mechanic’s, you possibly blow off work for the morning to finish the story, feeling so much better by the end.  After this, the news from Tito that it’s not a starter, alternator or electrical short but instead needing a new battery which might be covered under dealer warranty is like a lovely lemon glaze on the shortbread you were considering making this weekend.

You get up, you shower, you get your car. You do dishes, and laundry, and talk to neighbors while a small pack of medium to almost ignominiously large dogs run around, the smallest of which is yours & the largest of which has decided your dog is his new girlfriend, causing great canine confusion, since much like her mother, Zoey had resigned herself to being on the shelf quite some time ago and doesn’t know how to handle such attention when the odd occurrence… occurs.

You get the mail & discover a client has paid a long-due bill. The phone rings, and you’re asked to spec out a quote on a job you don’t even remember applying for. Goat cheese pizza from Trader Joe’s & Peach Passion tea heavily laced with sugar make the outlook even better, as does the promise offered by the twenty new recipes acquired yesterday for this weekend’s cookie bake-stravaganza with friends.

You watch last night’s Glee on Hulu which contains not only your favorite Lily Allen song, but also the Charlie Chaplin song by the same name.

And even though you haven’t done a scrap of work for the day, it’s not that bad. There’s a happy dog, a few basketfulls of clean warm laundry, including towels that are soft and smell lovely, plenty of tea left to be had, and life that while it does look to continue its historically solitary trend in the area of romance, does contain the comfort of friends and the vague promise of art school this summer, since at least the aforementioned dinner conversation meant you’ll be able to put the first month’s tuition in the bank – while two and a half months’ tuition would have been the fair price, you learned from last time that it’s better to smile, be agreeable, and make oneself free and clear as soon as possible. You remind yourself that it’s best to cut ties, to distance oneself from what’s coming, even if as often seems to be your lot in this life, you’re the only one who can see it on the horizon.

For you have also learned your own personal lesson again – you cannot always prevent the storm. No matter how one might try, one must discern when it’s best to leave others to their drenching.

After all, there are cookies to make, and websites to create, and stories to be spun, and paintings which have gone unfinished for far too long – as any artist can tell you, once you decide to do so, it’s actually quite simple to draw a line.

To borrow from Alexia’s philosophy, my parasol is admittedly a bit odd.  However I find that when in use, it has the odd effect of accomplishing the most astonishing things.

Music: Smile (Cover of Charlie Chaplin Song) – Glee Cast Glee Cast - Smile (Glee Cast Cover of Charlie Chaplin Song) - Single - Smile (Glee Cast Cover of Charlie Chaplin Song).

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  • Stephanie Meyer

    I just subscribed to your RSS feed, not sure if I did it precisely though? Nice article by the way.

  • Marshall Geyser

    Regularly I do not make comments on blogs, but I have to mention that this post really forced me to do so. Really marvelous post

  • Chris Leroux

    Reading this reminds me of my late room mate. That guy was one of the smartest men I know, but he was a little beatnik for my tastes though. Anyways I enjoyed reading this, thanks. Will give me something to argue about when I see him.

  • Allied Irish Bank Internet Banking

    Just wasting some free time on Digg and I found your post . Not typically what I like to learn about, but it was absolutely worth my time. Thanks.

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