Odds and ends
My mind has been moving with the speed of a salted slug lately, so today was refreshing. It seemed that thousands of ideas were whipping through the gray matter. I think getting something close to a full night's sleep, even if I did conk out at 3:30 this morning made the difference. The world looks different after six hours of sleep when I knew I dreamed, even if I can't recall the details, than it does after an hour's nap. That many ideas though means that nothing can be developed at depth. So here goes...
It's a good feeling when you know that you're doing your job well. The pace of my job varies between having nowhere near enough to do and moving at high speed, tracking the location of every person in the store, what they're looking for, and if possible their names, not to mention sales and schedules, juggling appointments and walk-ins, and sometimes having to turn people away. Saturday is the busiest day of the week, and last Saturday was the highest traffic day we've had since I've been there. By the end of the day, the log I have to keep of who helped whom when was nearly illegible it was so full. Yet today, I heard my co-workers talking about how smoothly the day ran. Today was much slower, and I've finally learned enough to know what to do to keep myself busy when I have time on my hands. I accomplished stuff that needed to be done without having to ask what to do. I also noticed that my knowledge of our computer software has picked up enough so that I can do the tasks that I used to have to get other people to step away from their jobs to handle. I like feeling competent. (Oh, a little side note to anyone who's shopping for wedding attire. Call ahead and ask if you need an appointment. Among the reasons we do that is to make sure we have a dressing room available, not to mention that getting into a wedding gown can require help.) My job is small and insignificant, but doing a job well, no matter what it is, is important and even ennobling.
Saturday, a woman and her daughter came into the store. She looked at me for a moment and said, "You're Cindy." I looked at her again, and said, "You're L." We had been friends in college and hadn't seen each other since we graduated 25 years ago. We both said at the same time, "You look just the same." It was wonderful to see her, and the comfort level I had with her then was the same now. Considering how much my life and looks have changed in the last few years, that felt damn good. A few years ago, another newer friend had looked at one of my wedding pictures in a group of family pictures on my buffet table and asked, "Who's that?" Looks like I'm really me again.
Part time income and full time living expenses have made the habits of thrift with which I was raised kick into high gear. The child of comfortably middle class parents raised in the last Great Depression, I was always taught to look for the best bargain, use something until it wears out, fix things when they break rather than replace them, and place real value before cost. That's how I got my hot pink and my butter yellow leather coats for $100 when they still had their original price tags of $350 each still on them. (My father would be appalled that I admitted that. He always told me that you don't have to let everyone know what a bargain I got.) I've got my eye on a red Prada purse at my favorite consignment store. The price is supposed to drop again next week, and I'm gambling that it will still be there. I don't know if it's real or faux, but I doubt if too many other people in west Tennessee would either. The womanchild got me into thrift store and consignment shopping again, and I do love it. I've also rediscovered the joy of the day old bread store. Today's haul -- two loaves of thick sliced sourdough bread with ten days left before the sell by date, two dozen cinnamon rolls, a pound of summer sausage, and a large bag of potato chips for less than $10. (I'm still counting WW points so don't forget, I use healthy portion sizes.) Since I'm still not ready to quit smoking, I'm also having fun with my roll-my-own cigarettes. Instead of spending nearly $3 a day. I spend just a little more than that a week. If you have to have a vice that can kill you, you might as well do it for as little money as possible. Finding these bargains feels good. Not only that, but for once in my life, I may actually be trendy. How strange.
I read two articles at Salon.com today about liberals, Democrats and the South (damn, I can't find the links now). One advised that Democrats just give up my region as a lost cause. The other pointed to a key victory and how Democrat beliefs can be sold in the South. Both made some very good points. As a liberal, a Democrat, a Christian with a fundamentalist background and a deeply rooted Southerner, I have a few ideas myself. The main one being -- Just. Show. Up. The only Southern State anybody campaigns in anymore is Florida, and if you ask an old school Southerner, Florida isn't really southern. It may be by geography, but that's not the only definition of what's Southern. Nobody likes being ignored, and that's what the Democrats do to us. In 2000, Al Gore lost his and my home state. He didn't campaign here, and I was reminded of that old saying (best delivered in dialect), Ya gotta dance with the one what brung ya. Despite pockets of wealth in the South, we're probably the poorest region in the country. Real populism plays here. Just remember, we small town people have seen a whole lot of plants close down when they went union. Ever heard of someone taking their ball and leaving the game? It doesn't just happen in sandlot baseball. You want to win over the religious folk, appeal to the real Christian value of taking care of others. Do not assume that abortion and creationism are the limit of Christian values or that Christians are automatically against one and for the other. I think this next one would also apply to any area of the country. Nobody likes higher taxes, and people associate Democrats with that. Show us just what the hell we're getting for that chunk out of our paychecks. Remind us of how liberal politics have advanced our world and how we live. Also remember, conservation can play well here. Loving the land is darn near part of Southern DNA. Don't assume that only the Yankees who've moved down here are the only ones with an education or a capable mind. Slow talking doesn't mean stupidity. Finally, address racial issues openly, courageously but tactfully. There's not a Southerner alive who hasn't been forced to think about this.
On a day like this, I know I'm moving forward again. Remind me of that the next time things look so bleak.