Sitting there finally at the end of the day I looked at my computer, a mix of exhaustion and defeat swirling around my entire cube. There was more I could do. There was more I should do. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me. I needed to go home.
I put on my fleece jacket, which was nowhere near as warm as I needed it to be, and then proceeded to pile on two scarves tucking them in and around me haphazardly. I hated wearing a real coat. I always felt like the fat kid in snow pants who fell off the sled and the rolled down the hill. As an adult though, at least I would be warm. That kid was warm, right? Oh well. I pulled on my hat and some mittens threw my bags over my shoulder and with a heavy muddled sigh shuffled off.
The elevator finally came at the exact same moment I discovered I needed to go to the bathroom. Of course. I stood there for a few lengthy seconds looking inside that empty car. Could I make the forty-five minute drive home after a ten-minute walk to the parking garage in the freezing cold without peeing in an inappropriate place like my pants or my car? No dammit. So to the bathroom I went.
After an uneventful pee that took contortionist like moves to keep all winter apparel from dipping into the bowl, I found myself at the sink washing my hands. The warm water felt good and finally I felt a smile start to reintroduce itself to my mouth, which had been pursed for most of the day. It felt nice but I had to get home and instead of allowing it to linger, I cast it aside, put my mittens back on and marched back to the elevator.
As the doors opened this time, a woman who I had been introduced to recently smiled and said hello. We both were newly hired for similar jobs and as the car descended we commiserated a bit about the learning curve. Through the entire thing, she smiled. When we reached the lobby she asked where I was parked and when she discovered we were in the same garage asked if she could go with me. Normally due to how late it was and how dark, she told me she would ask for an escort but with me, she felt it was ok. That made me smile.
As we walked through the cold she chatted and laughed. She was so animated which was funny to witness as her huge puffy coat, the kind I wished I had, which went down to her ankles, moved all over the place as she gestured with her hands.
Once we arrived at the garage, she turned to me and asked where I was parked. I was at the other entrance, which I knew when we headed her way. It would make finding my car a bit tricky although truth be told I often got lost in the aisles of a supermarket.
As we walked up the exit ramp and to the elevator I mentioned I was on the first floor. She told me it wasn’t necessary to ride with her to the fifth but I knew she was nervous with it being so empty and quiet and dark so I took the ride. While approaching her car she tried to insist that she drive me to mine but being as I had no idea where it was, I told her I would be fine and wished her a good night.
Luckily for my frozen toes it took me only a short while to find my parking spot and as I unloaded my bags into the back I smiled. I sat in the drivers seat, turned the key in the ignition and smiled again. And then, while waiting for the car to warm up, I turned on the radio and I actually sang a bit. Gone was the defeated grump who felt like she was carrying the weight of the world on her scarf-ensconced shoulders.
And to think this woman needed an escort to keep her safe when the truth is, she kind of saved me.
I wonder if people realize how much they impact other people? I don’t think I always do but hopefully, even in my lightweight fleece, I have some positive influence. Imagine what I could do in a huge, puffy floor length coat.