One of Those Days (to appreciate?)
Today has been one of those days, in fact it’s been one of those years. One thing after another has seemed to go wrong in my life, and I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself. I decided to run to the store and pick up a few things, useless things… unhealthy and unhelpful things. The community I live in is one of those “two sides of the track” places. I live on the nice side of the track, but I’m on the border; I can see the other side from where I sit on my deck at night. I’m truly not that far away from them.
On the way to the store, I passed an apartment building that could easily be called a “project”; the kids out front were unkempt and their clothes poorly fit; I see them every day but have somehow learned to ignore them over the years. The cars out front, the ones that still ran, looked better suited for a demolition rally than the public streets but I assume they got the owners from point A to point B.
The first stoplight I came to had a bus-stop on the corner. The person standing, waiting to jump on and hitch a ride somewhere was a once pretty (I would imagine) young lady and her emaciated boyfriend, both high on meth, unable to stand in one place without bouncing in place. I’d like to imagine they were heading home from work, maybe to have some dinner and spend time with their family’s but more likely they were headed to the bus mall where they could sleep under cover. Or maybe they had a friend who had a house where all the meth-addicts hang out, I can only hope they found shelter.
The next stoplight I came to had a middle-aged man in a wheelchair crossing the street. He looked like he might have been a veteran at one time, I’m not sure. He was headed to the local health and human services office though as fast as his arms could wheel himself. Probably needed to fill out forms of some kind that would allow the State to improve his life just a bit. He sure was going faster than most though, probably wanted to cross the street without delaying anyone longer than he had to. I thought it was considerate of him.
When I eventually got to the store to spend my thirty bucks on useless items to make myself feel better I looked at the patrons, the employees working at minimum wage, and the children that were left in the beat-up cars while their parents shopped. There was a blue-collar guy just getting off work, picking up some beer to make his night a little easier. A thirty something mother searching her purse for another quarter to pay for both the bottle of wine and the bag of bulk candy that would shut her kids up that she had left in her car. The guy in the back corner was busy complaining to his buddy because his wife, or girlfriend, was demanding more child support and he couldn’t pay because he didn’t have a job.
On the way home, I was passed by a firetruck on the way to the car accident I would soon be passing. It didn’t look serious, but the girl in one car was in tears. She was probably going to get yelled at by her father, or maybe her husband… it’s hard to tell someone’s age as you drive by glancing out the window.
The more I thought about my day, and what I observed, I was forced to confront a cold… hard… reality. I have no right to bitch about my problems. I have a house to live in, great kids, a good career and am respected for both the job that pays the bills and for the novels that I write. The worse problem I experience from time to time is deciding whether to pay the minimum payment on my credit card or add a hundred bucks.
There are so many people in this world, that due to their circumstances, suffer more than I. They work hard trying to make their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, a little bit better; they use drugs and alcohol to hide from themselves or kill an inner pain. On days where I feel sorry for myself, and think I have it rough, I need to remember the good things I have in my life instead of the bad. I need to acknowledge that, although things aren’t perfect, I have it better than most. When I am experiencing self-pity I am being disrespectful to those that are struggling day to day, just to survive.[thanks given HERE to Shawn Ellis for the photo/meme and a pretty good article in its own right]