Friday, July 13, 2012

Life Seemed Determined

Yes, I rode to work today.

The last few days I've been feeling a little under the weather. I haven't been sick, just not well. Then last night I didn't sleep well. I momentarily thought of calling in sick this morning, and perhaps I might have if it wasn't a Friday. Instead, I decided to go to work and to reward myself by giving myself a treat at lunchtime.

Sometime back, at least two years, I pretty much quit drinking soda. This was a major change for me. I was one of those people who drank soda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And yes, it was a particular kind. It was Coca Cola. Occasionally, I will still treat myself to a Coke Zero, but it has become quite the rarity. Today I planned to go to Hardees for lunch. Hardees is not a place I go very often, but Coke Zero is one of their fountain soda options.

Lunchtime came and I walked to Hardees. I ordered. I paid. I walked over to get my soda. On the fountain machine was an out of order sign. On another day, I might have just chosen something else. Today I returned to the counter and said, "I only came here for Coke Zero, the food was secondary. I don't want to eat here. I want my money back." They were gracious and did give me my money back.

Now I had a problem. What was I going to do for lunch? I ended up at Jimmy Johns. They don't have Coke Zero, but I like their sandwiches. It was a nice lunch. I liked my sandwich, but it wasn't what I had planned and been waiting for all morning. There was no Coke Zero. I was bummed. But, Life was going to refuse to let me stay that way.

As I was walking back to the courthouse a group of young Asian women surrounded me. One asked me in very broken English if I knew where there was a statue of Pinocchio. I did. I told them it was in Citygarden. The one who spoke English the best asked me where that was. I tried to explain, but it was obvious I wasn't doing a very good job. I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to just take them there. It was on my way back to the Courthouse anyway. When I suggested this they were delighted.

As we walked we talked and I found out they were playing a game like the Amazing Race. They had been looking for Pinocchio all morning. The one who seemed to be the speaker for the group told me she suspected they wouldn't be the first team to find it. They were very happy when they finally laid eyes on Pinocchio. As I walked away, it occurred to me I should have asked if I could take a photo of them with Pinocchio. Alas, an opportunity missed.

This wasn't from today, but from late June. There was a dance performance that day. You can see Pinocchio in the background.
This episode probably would have been enough to turn my day around, but Life wasn't through with me yet. To explain what happened next, I  need to share a back story with you. Back when I used to transport files between to the two courthouses twice a day, I made the acquaintance of one of the judges. He had hurt his knee and was doing some physical therapy. This brought him to work a little later than usual. And, this was right when I was doing my morning run. He was very curious about what I was doing and about the plastic storage bin I used to keep the files dry and safe from blowing away in the wind. I shared with him how it seemed such a simple answer to how to do the run when it was raining. I had suggested it long ago, but no action got taken. Finally, I just got tired of waiting for someone to buy me a storage tub with a sealing lid and just did it myself. He picked up right away on the reason for my share. It wasn't about bragging, rather it was bemoaning a lack of common sense. He said, "Isn't that the way of it. The best answers usually come from the bottom up, from the people doing the work, rather than the top down." Exactly. I liked him immediately. His knee got better and I no longer do the run. We didn't see each other anymore. It has probably been a year or more since I've seen him.

Yesterday when I was walking back from lunch he was walking out of the Courthouse. We exchanged pleasantries. It was a very nice. And then today, I see him again. As I past him, I said, "What's with this? I go for months and not see you..." and before I can add, "...and, here I see you two days in a row." He says, "I know. And, you never write, you never call." And, we laughed together.

Yes, today Life seemed determined not to let me have a bad day, no matter how determined I was to have one.
  • 74F/23C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 94F/34C and quite a few clouds, but plenty of sunshine for the home ride.


  1. Oh what a great story. Great stories! Fun. I actually felt like I was there, too!

    I suspect that Coke Zero will find its way to you when its ready...

    1. Martha,
      Glad you enjoyed the stories, and I suspect you are correct about the Coke Zero.

  2. You have a great way of telling your people stories. What a lovely encounter.

    And soda... isn't good for you anyway. When we were little my parents neve bought this stuff. I can't even remember the last time I had a pop. My preferred beverages are juices, soy milk and water.

    1. Sonja,
      The encounter with the young women was enchanting and the interaction with the judge was so unexpected. Yes, both were lovely.

      Of course, soda isn't good for me. That's why I quit drinking it. Growing up soda was a rare treat. That said, we sure packed away the Kool Aid.

  3. That is a great story. What a day. You may not have gotten that Coke Zero, but you received so much more.

    Isn't it nice that Judges can be human too. Not all seem to be, but it is nice when they are.

    1. Brandy,
      As we both know, I really didn't need the Coke Zero. I did need the serendipity that unfolded during my quest for it. Isn't that often the way of it?

      Doing what I do, I'm pretty much invisible to the judges and have little reason to interact with them. There have been a couple of exceptions and they have been positive experiences. Truthfully, I've yet to have a negative interaction with any of the judges. Perhaps it has to do with knowing my place :^)

  4. Sometimes I think that if you expect to have a bad day, then you almost certainly will. But if you allow for the possibility for a good day, more often than not, it can happen. Sounds like your day was wonderful in unexpected ways. That's very cool!

    BTW, I too gave up soft drinks some time ago, which was hard because I was a big fan of root beer. I now rarely indulge, but occasionally give in to a non-sugar drink and, have to admit, Coke Zero is a favorite. I only know one place where I can get it, but almost always do when I'm there.
    Excellent post Keith. Very thoughtful and well written!

    1. Jim,
      Heather is a big fan of root beer. She really adores a local brand called Fitz's.

      When I was in high school the local hang out was the A&W Drive-In. The food was poor, but the root beer was good.

      I, too, wonder about how much we set ourselves for bad days. I have a couple of co-workers that don't seem happy unless they are miserable. Then, there are others that are facing true catastrophes with so much grace it is astounding. I just have to think attitude has to have something to do with it.

      Good to hear from you. I'm still smiling about your wonderful news.