a weird whirl in time

Found myself rushing in the drizzly rain to an appointment in Paso. (I don’t like feeling rushed when driving.) Started to file paperwork for the big B, that thing that no one really likes to talk about, and those that do offer erroneous advice, such as: do debt consolidation or debt negotiation, or get 2 extra jobs to pay down the exponentially rising balance while somehow making ends meet for the rest of your freaking life. I took that well-intentioned yet ill-conceived advice, only to find myself smack dab in the midst of an inevitable reality; $1000 deeper in the hole to a debt negotiation firm and a year of impossible-to-pay negotiations later and I am still leery of the sound of the phone ringing in my home. I’ve dug myself a great big hole, and I’m ready to get out, move on and rebuild my eviscerated credit profile.

Disclosing all my finances, my debts, my hardship woes was like ripping a bandage off a still healing wound. It smarted at first, but it was such a relief. Finally, I can tell this complete stranger that I’ve screwed things up, but really, I’m a good person, not just a freaking credit score! Finally, I can scratch that itchy scar I’ve been ignoring for way too long!

I drove away from my initial appointment feeling that sweet pain and relief as a comfort; it gave me hope that I won’t just be a name that bottom feeders will add to their list of collections calls, but that I’ll someday soon be free from their lowly inarticulate voices leaving gravelly messages laden with my name.

I found myself peering through a cracked windshield, past the squeaking wipers, past the misty rivulets running down my run-down beater, and I could finally see a break in the clouds.

What was it? One minute, two minutes of sunbeam streaming as I sat, stilled, at a red light? I succumbed to a moment out of time, awed by that single ray of light stabbing through an otherwise drab sky, I recalled myself as a baker/barista toiling in a kitchen with a cantankerous mixer–lost in the rhythms of measuring, blending, timing–when a sudden ring of the front of house bell jarred me out of my flow. What was it? I went out front to find a customer I had made a double latte for just moments before, and thought, rather dejectedly, that he wanted to sound a complaint. He looked slightly abashed, almost at a loss for words, but he quickly composed himself and said:

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you. I know you’re working back there, but I just had to let you know that…that was the best latte I’ve had in a long, long time. Thank you for that. That means a lot to me. You did a great job.”

I floundered to reply to such an unexpected, eloquent compliment. “Thank you so much for appreciating it! And have an awesome day!” I dorkily retorted, but by the time I got it out he had turned around and headed out the door, kindly waving goodby to my silly string of words as if they didn’t matter. What mattered most to him was just letting me know how much he appreciated what I had made for him–one really kick ass latte.

By the time the light changed, the stab of light dissipated in a gray washout, and I was back in my car on the road going home, grateful for all the little moments I’ve made a difference in someone’s day.

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