Sunday, April 24, 2016

Those Days You Just Remember

I decided to pay close attention to my day, three days ago, so as to write it down and share it with you, today, three days later. I decided before anything happened that day, before even getting out of bed.

My room was bright when NPR popped on and my brain clicked in. I was a little sweaty, too, which meant the temperature had jumped about ten degrees. I was going to ride my bike to work. I decided. 

It was a one bucket day. I work as a horticultural technician for a local company that puts plants in office buildings. It doesn't require a lot of pomp and circumstance. You don't need a degree to do it. You just have to care and want to care for plants. As cliché as it sounds, the plants do the rest. 

There's not a lot of money in it. Sometimes you have to let those things go and trust that you will do what you have to do to get by, and you will. 

Coffee, breakfast, helmet, supplies. Kiss my dog and chuckle at his pouting face, laying it on thick so that maybe I'll be persuaded to stay or, better yet, take him with me. 

Then I'm on the road, coasting the flat hills, avoiding the potholes. The 606 is mostly empty, and everything is in bloom, but I'm not allergic to it, for some reason. I can go as fast as I want...on my hot pink 1989 Schwinn Caliente ten speed. It is super sweet.

I'm heading closer to the city on Milwaukee Ave, and a tall, gorgeous blonde girl stalks angrily across the street ahead of me. She is yelling into her phone with a thick slovak accent, "Dude, I am so pissed right now," at ten a.m. 

Then I'm at the Merchandise Mart, and I'm at my first client, no idea what they do, but I've got to call outside of reception to be let in. The receptionist is a squat asian girl with the sunniest disposition, in a midwestern sort of way, which is complex I think. She speaks in one of those kid voices that normally make me want to punch walls, but it works for her. It's endearing. She always offers me a coke or something. Today she offers water because she can tell I've ridden my bike...because I'm sweating and still wearing my helmet. She cringes at how "hot" it is today. It's about 64.

Then I bounce from office to office, feeling, actually, literally, like a weird human kind of happiness that I'm not accustomed to. 

At another account, I show a dying plant to a different receptionist, a small hispanic girl, adorable, even more-so than I am, and I've got my hair in french braid pigtails. Because that's how I roll. 

Someone at the office is attempting to "help" me by watering one of the Dracaena Lisas when I'm not there. The plant's tips are turning from yellow to brown very quickly. It wants to dry out, just like I've been doing for the past few months. 

I'm walking her through a few more plants that don't need the amount of attention they're getting, and she suddenly turns to face me, "Prince died." 

It doesn't register at first. Then, a man in a cubicle just ahead of us stands up and repeats, "Guys, prince died." 

Later, at another account that probably does stuff with lots of money (because I arrived at the same time as the company masseuse arrived) and computers, the handsome male receptionist stops me as I explain to him that I need a signature, "Girl, where you from?" 

"Oh, Memphis, Tennessee. Can you hear it?"

"Mmmm. Hmmm. My boyfriend, well, my Ex-boyfriend was from Tennessee, and some of his family was from Arkansas." 

"Oh, yuck. Arkansas." 

"I know, but they say it's beautiful."

"Oh, yeah, it actually is absolutely gorgeous in the Ozarks. Can you believe Prince died?"

"No. I don't acknowledge it."

Then I had lunch: Espresso, tiny Caprese salad, and a chocolate chip cookie. Water. Water. Water. 

The rest of the day goes smoothly. I've learned that some mascara, cute little earrings, and a smile goes a long way to making each receptionist love little me with my apron and pigtails. 

I pass an investment banker from a super fancy office full of plants that I visit every wednesday, and he smiles in recognition. I'm also already wearing my helmet for some reason. Why did I put my helmet on so early? 

Despite the fact that the temperature is incredible, I can still muster the rage to scream "SERIOUSLY?!?!" at the rich dude in the shiny Tesla barely missing me as he uses the bike lane to get around a slower car, but then it makes me laugh at myself. Cyclist outrage is one of my favorite parts of biking in the city. 

I'm leading the pack of rush hour peddlers up Milwaukee, and I stop at a red light. A biker from the peloton gives an annoyed grunt and pedals past me into traffic, where he loses his balance trying to stop for a car that almost hits him. There's a pause, and I can't resist saying with a smile, "Don't worry. You're still going to win."

Then, I involuntarily wink at him, like what used to happen when I waited tables. Only, when I waited tables, I'd kick out my hip along with the wink to make the customer feel the kind of comfort only southern charm can provide.

Talk to ya soon, frands!

I'm actually really glad I can't see myself when I wink. 

1 comment:

Martha Lois said...

Love this day log! The people are all different and real. You're pretty much always real, and you are in this one too. Even Sir Linus! I can see that pout. Terrific blog!