When I’m on hold waiting to talk to a service representative, I think of my friend. She doesn’t have a cell phone. No cable television. No car. She walks her way to work and back four days a week. She was the building manager of the first apartment I ever rented. She showed me two units, one fantastically furnished by the man who lived there and then the vacant unit that was available to me. It was a south-facing studio on the second floor of a brick building five blocks from campus. It had a claw-foot tub and hardwood floors and a pedestal sink. My first apartment, I loved it.
She became a friend. She has a kind nature, soft laugh and keen eyes behind a very confident smile. We share a love of dogs. Her loving and loyal, four- legged friend Sadie died last year. I found a picture of the Sheltie (who had a deep set aversion to skate boards) that I took at the doggy birthday party she had for Sadie; a lot of dogs in that sweet studio apartment that day. I have a new puppy dog whose name is now Sadie. She said it was okay even though I asked for forgiveness instead of permission.
These days she works for an insurance company. Every call is recorded for quality assurance purposes and to evaluate her ability to talk to frustrated, been on hold too long, want to know if the illness that’s struck them is covered or not folks. Not an easy job. My conversation with her at the dog park watching the newest Sadie and Luna run around helped me realize the people answering the phone at Comcast are just regular people trying to make a living. I find lately that when I start to lose my temper after being transferred to another department whether it’s the Water and Sewer company to see if I get a break after an unexpected leak doubled my bill or the Tivo company to understand why it isn’t changing channels like it’s supposed to, I pause, I apologize to someone’s friend for being sort of an ass and I thank them for their patience. It’s the little things I hope, that make a difference in this big, bad world.
A few days ago, she had talked to a mutual friend and heard that they found that almost half of the cells in my bone marrow right now are leukemia cells. She offered a sense of how unexpected this news was to her; she and I had spent a few afternoons recently walking the dogs and sitting around different places in NW. We went and looked at the 937 Building and they let us bring the dogs in, very nice people there. Yesterday, getting her message I realized how really unexpected this news was three weeks ago. How I wasn’t feeling too bad and was genuinely feeling excited about my plans. Paris in the fall: a gig here or there, slowly getting reacquainted with normal day to day living. And I’m still excited about my future, and having this medical reminder that life is short has inspired me to try to write one more song, paint one more room, take one more warm bath, write one more blog post up to 500 words.
Ready, set, go.
Written 5/6/2010. Thanks to Leslie Hayertz for editing. In Teisha’s original copy her friend has a name but not everyone wants internet fame and she knows who she is.