So I had a very bad day at work yesterday–or, correction, a very sad day that turned into a bad day–a furious day.
A coworker had a family emergency so we were short-staffed (not good) and it’s been very busy lately (usually good). Customers piled in (as is typical) just after my other coworker who was at work went for lunch. And person after person coming through my station had terrible, heart rending things going on in their lives.
A friendly, kind man who’s come in month after month to pay his bills just found out his wife has cancer and was waiting to get news of when she could get into a specialist in Vancouver. A woman who brought in fresh bouquets of garden flowers for our office to enjoy all summer just lost her father. A couple who was separating: the woman crying intermittently between trying to help her soon-to-be ex with their sweet kids and re-organize what had been joint finances–that horrible awkward crying where you’re trying not to because you’re in public, but your body betrays you and you can’t hold it in. Him: tender and sad too, trying to console her. (I wanted to yell: stay together. It’s worth it. Things will get better. Please.)
And then after all these sad, bruised people comes a total ASS. You know the kind who lives just to make other people wish they didn’t–
Anyway, where am I going with all this? I’m not spilling just to share the sadness, I promise . . . And I won’t bother giving the jerk the privilege of my my choice words. It just occurred to me when I got home that I was/AM so lucky that I get to write. What do people do who don’t have writing as their outlet/refuge/therapy?
My night ended (late), but when I finally went to bed I was feeling soothed by, yes, my words, but also my family, the warm fire blazing in the woodstove, and hot chocolate and a feeling of gratitude. And it occurred to me: that’s why my characters have such bad days. Because they exist. And it’s strange how seeing them suffer and endure helps me makes sense of the world. A bit.
Happy, comforting (or cathartic, anyway) writing to you all.