Yesterday I was having a day. The kind of day that starts off rocky and isn’t on track to right itself soon. The kind of day that tries to club you over the head and dump you on the side of the road. The kind of day where a little rain cloud stalks you. The kind where you’re a gigantic magnet for all that is negative and weird. A bad day.
The day started with locking-up my brakes as I ventured down the highway, twice. Both times the people in front of me unexpectedly slammed on their brakes, and I followed suit. I skidded merrily along, eyes wide in horror as I narrowly avoided venturing into their trunks. The car behind me did the same highway skid dance as they veered onto the shoulder to avoid becoming my instant passenger. The second near miss was a sign, so I took that opportunity to exit.
I was having a day. My hair was sticking to the side of my head. My face was blotchy. Dark circles hung beneath my eyes.
To celebrate, I took an online personality test and was immediately offended by the results. It said I was a tattoo hating loner who was insensitive to others hardships and that I should steer clear of things like writing, dancing, photography, and acting – really any creative endeavor. Great. All those years devoted to this blog, to orchestra, to dance (tap, modern and ballet), to my camera and to improv were completed wasted. According to that test, I hate those activities. I really had no idea. What an apparent waste of time, energy and money. The tattoo I’ve been desiring for years, it turns out I didn’t actually want that. The test said clearly that I hate tattoos. Thankfully, I took the test before ink was pressed to skin. Insensitive tattoo hating loners like me loathe these things. Too creative! How many years have I spent unknowingly pissing myself off? An acquaintance of mine chimed-in noting how accurate those results actually were. (I’ll miss our time together. We had some fun.)
The day was bad and devoting so much energy into being grumpy made me want to curl up in a ball and sleep. Pointless sustained anger takes a lot of energy.
I stepped onto an elevator while looking extra dour. The rain cloud, my little pal, continued to drip. That’s when a colleague stepped in. A rhythmic beat began to reverberate through the small space and suddenly the elevator was filled with the “Beth” rap. When it ended, my co-worker winked and said, “see, it can’t be that bad, Beth. I made you smile.” It was the first smile I had all day.
My friends stepped in. “Why would you believe something that’s not true?” “Why are you paying attention to something that has so many typos?” I guess the only answer I could have honestly offered would have been, “I guess I’ve decided today is a bad day and clearly I want to be upset. Hey, I’ve even managed to find the one person who agrees with these results so I can feel extra bad.”
I had planned a Happy Hour for that evening and I was trying to figure out how to encourage people not to show up. Maybe I could just reschedule with those people I hadn’t seen in years. And my newer friends? Well, they’d have to get used to my quirks eventually if they planned on sticking around. No time like the present. (What’s the saying? Friends are the people who like you in spite of yourself?)
The only reason I eventually went to Happy Hour was to avoid the disapproval I’d doubtlessly receive if I canceled. I hate disapproval more that I enjoy self-loathing. When I arrived, I was alone. I sat at a long table and tried to explain to the waiter that “no really, I think there might be others coming, but you know you can never be sure.” I ordered a drink and sat dwelling on the craptacular bits of the day and how, in all likelihood, no one was coming. That’s when an old friend I hadn’t seen in about 10 years walked up. She sat down. Within minutes the table filled. All of my favorite people in one spot. More folks came throughout the night until there were no more extra chairs to drag up and people were left standing. Stories were told. Laughter filled the table. There were even cookies and whole milk. I have it on the best authority from my cookie/milk aficionado that this is pretty awesome. My little cloud blew away as I looked down the table and smiled.
The night ended with the manager dropping by to offer up a free dessert. (Our numbers had dwindled and they needed the space for another large group waiting in the wings.) We moved over to a smaller table and continued to chat while enjoying the dessert sampler bribe. Free dessert is the best dessert. My idea of a perfect evening.
Thank you, my very favorite people, for coming out and turning a bad day into a delightful night. My only regret is that I didn’t get to talk to everyone long enough, but being able to look down the table and see your smiling faces, hear your voices and listen to your laughter completely made my evening.