Thursday, October 14, 2010

Now I can sleep for 4 hours

I need to go to bed. But I have had a weird day and think "maybe if I write this out, I can get it off my chest, and will sleep better." Probably not. My roller coaster day rocked my world a little. Alas, I am tired enough that I am wired, too. This is no good. I have to be up in less than 5 hours, but whatever; I can sleep when I die.

I woke up this morning ready for the day to be over already. I am fully aware that is a horrible attitude to have and attempted to talk myself out of it. Pollyanna mind games only work so far when I feel moody. It did not help that I slept in and missed my running group (again!), tried to use lotion for toothpaste (ew), and spilled cranberry juice on my first uniformed shirt (forcing a quick change into an un-ironed shirt in order to roll out the door on time). And I got to work five minutes late. I worked the visitor center all day (only getting a ten-minute lunch and three different restroom breaks... it was a long day). I easily encountered over 100 people, giving directions, answering questions, and keeping a smile on my face all day. I love my job, even when I am cranky.

Then I had two visitors that left particular impressions upon me. The first visitor "shared" a number of his "views" (complained) about a series of things, but said he understood that a sweet girl like myself would not have anything to do with these things. I maintained my ranger smile and let him get whatever he wanted to say off of his chest. About an hour later, he came back into the visitor center to tell me that he had an official complaint: this park did not preserve any Confederate sites and we have no Confederate signage anywhere. I attempted to calm him down and at one point mentioned how, indeed, this was a Union victory and... He interrupted me to say "Darling, you clearly don't know your history."

1. Don't call me "Darling." The ninjas in my pocket don't like it and will want to escape and attack you.
2. Darn-tootin' I know my history. You don't even know about my pocket sharks that will bite your head. Off.

We bantered a little bit more and just before I was about to say something I would have to write an apology letter for later, my supervisor walked out. He listened to the visitor and offered the visitor a comment card to fill out. The guy left and my supervisor put the card in my box for reply. Thanks.

Later in the morning, a visiting couple stopped through. I oriented them to the park and set them off on their way. The gentleman came back and asked to review our regimental list. In the meantime, we started talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder veterans experienced and how society's way of handling veterans changed with each war. He shared that he was a retired Marine and saw combat in Vietnam. He also revealed that he had no help upon his return and didn't fell "normal" for almost a full decade after his return. While sharing a story with me about some of his experiences in combat, he started to choke up as he fought back tears. I couldn't do anything for him but listen and empathize. How many decades ago did this happen and he still bears his invisible scars?

How is it that I get so hung up in my world that I forget that there are other people on this planet? People who experience hardships in ways I will never know? People who understand about life and death situations? Relativity tells me my struggles are no big thing and there can always be something worse. So bring on the cranberry juice spills and "darlings." I think I can take it.

1 comment:

Will said...

Generally, I am proud of you and the great work you do. *bearhug*