Monday, June 15, 2009

duly noted, universe

When I got home from work on Friday night, I was on the verge of tears. I don't want to go into details for a number of reasons, but suffice it to say that recent developments at work have left me feeling hopeless and drained of joy. And because of my work situation, I haven't been eating or sleeping properly, which only compounds the misery. So I took a very long nap on Friday evening, and then I pampered myself with some trashy magazines and my usual from Subway. For dessert I allowed myself to curl up on Big Brown and cry.

But the universe has a way of putting things in perspective. For example, several years ago, K and I were driving to K-Mart. I was wearing shorts, and when I looked down, I noticed a cluster of spider veins. I was really upset---my legs are the one thing I've ever been vain (er, no pun intended) about physically---but when we walked in the store, literally the FIRST person I saw was a legless woman in a wheelchair.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, I took a shower, and when I got out I noticed that the screen on my cell phone said "MISSED CALL". I didn't recognize the number, so I checked my voicemail and an elderly Southern woman said, "Manny? It's me. Please call me as soon as possible. It's very important. Thank you, honey."

Since I'm not Manny, nor do I know anyone named Manny, I deleted the message. I dried off, got dressed, and settled down in front of the computer.

But then my brain began nagging at me. The woman was obviously quite upset, and she needed Manny to call her back, and if I just ignored the message, she'd think Manny was ignoring her or that he hadn't had a chance to call her back. I wondered if maybe it was a really diabolically clever telemarketing scheme, like the recent "OMG you have a problem with your car warranty, call back right away!" one, but I didn't want to chance it.

So I checked the call history for her number and called her back. When she answered, I said, "Hi, don't know me but you left a message for Manny on my voicemail. I wanted to let you know you got a wrong number since it was obviously important."

"Oh, Manny doesn't live here, honey. He's in California."

"No, I wasn't calling for Manny. You called ME looking for Manny. I wanted to let you know so you could try to get hold of him again."

"Oh! Oh no. I'm so sorry to have bothered you."

"It's no problem," I said. "Good---"

"I was just..." Her voice cracked. "Well, I was so upset I must have misdialed. His little brother had a brain aneurysm last night and died. It's so unfair, he was only 26 and he'd been back from Iraq for less than a year."

I swallowed. "I'm so sorry to hear that, ma'am."

"How do I tell Manny his little brother died?"

"I, uh...I don't know. I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm so very sorry."

"Well, I'll try to call him back. I'm sorry to have bothered you, dear. God bless you."

And then she hung up.

There are almost 7 billion people on Earth, and it's just a simple fact that there will always be someone on this planet that has it far, far better than you, but there will also be someone who has it far, far worse. Despite my shitty fucking work situation, I'm pretty sure that there are way more people who fit in the latter category than the former.

Your life lesson has been duly noted, universe.