Last night, I went out with a friend who has been taking some classes in meditation. I’m a fan of meditation – I took some classes in mindfulness meditation right after Doc left me, when I was a total and crazy wreck. It helped – a lot. I focus on the now instead of angsting about possible futures. I was always catastrophizing – always imagining that the worst thing was going to happen and then the really worst thing would happen after that. I angsted a LOT. By the way, the dictionary does not recognize my use of angst as verb – clearly I’m using the wrong dictionary.
Anyway, my friend was telling me about a story her teacher had told them to illustrate that they shouldn’t freak out if they weren’t able to make an overnight change in their way of thinking. He told the story of a guy who decided that he really wanted to change into a more positive, loving person. He put a bowl on his table and at the end of every day he would drop a black pebble into the bowl for every negative or harmful deed or thought he had that day. He would also drop a white pebble into the bowl for every good, compassionate, or loving thought or action. In the beginning, the man’s bowl had a shitload of black pebbles and only a few of the white. Each night, instead of becoming discouraged, he would promise himself, “Tomorrow, I’ll do better.” Slowly, the balance shifted until there were an equal number of black and white stones – and then finally the bowl contained primarily white pebbles.
As we drove, I told my friend about my day, liberally peppering my description of events with my customary profanities. A bit after that, my friend swore a time or two while telling me about her day. Evidently I’m a bad influence. Each time, she took a breath and said, “White pebbles – I need more white pebbles.”
Apparently, I need more white pebbles, too.
This morning when I came to work, I parked in the employee lot and then noticed that across the way and closer to the doors, some dickhead had parked his truck, carefully and precisely, right on the line that separated two parking spaces. I’m sure that he did this in order to keep anyone from accidentally scratching his truck when they opened their car doors, but we have a bit of a parking shortage at work. I thought it was the pinnacle of assholery that this douchebag was inconveniencing every employee who had to park in that lot. It ticked me off. A lot of things have been ticking me off lately – it’s quite unlike me.
So, before I left my car, I tore a piece of paper from an envelope and composed a little note:
There are several dozen employees who have to park in this lot every morning. Intentionally taking up two parking spaces to protect your truck (which, by the way, is a piece of crap and not worth protecting), is telling the rest of us that you don’t think we are worth shit. Don’t be an asshole.”
As I walked past his truck, I carefully placed the note under his windshield wiper. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about keying his vehicle – but I’m a mostly civilized individual and try not to break the law these days.
I went on with my day like normal – until about four hours later, when two burly security officers walked into my office. One just posted himself by my office door and observed (perhaps they thought I would make a break for it?) The other handled the interrogation:
Security Guy: “Did you leave a note on the windshield of a vehicle in the parking lot this morning?”
Me (blood draining from my face and thinking, “Oh shit!” for a split second until the pre-frontal cortex of my brain reminded my amygdala that I hadn’t broken any laws): “Yes, I did.”
Security Guy: “Why?”
Me (not thinking so much): Because that guy was a dickhead and took up two parking spaces.
Security Guy: “Why didn’t you call us?”
Me (again, not thinking): What would YOU do about it?
Security Guy: “Well, we would have issued a red ticket and told him to park correctly.”
Me (inwardly rolling my eyes): “Ahhhh – well, see, I didn’t know you could take that kind of action. Next time, I’ll be sure to call you.”
Security Guy (wanting to make sure I understood the severity of my ‘crime’): “The guy was an employee – and he was very upset when he read your note.”
Me: “Yeah, well – I was pretty upset when I saw his parking job. As you know, we don’t have a lot of parking spaces.”
Security Guy (nodding): Yes, we know. But you still should have called us.
Me: “I’m pretty impressed that you were able to track me down.” (And I was!)
Security Guy: “Well, we have cameras and footage and stuff.”
Me: “Ahhhh (trying to remember if I adjusted my bra or panties while in the elevator that morning).
Security Guy: “Now we have to complete a report. Are these your business cards?”
Me: “Yes – help yourself. (He already had). So, do you plan to let him know that I was the person who wrote the note?”
Security Guy: “No! He’ll never know it was you. (Awkward silence) Yep, he was pretty upset (shrugs) – but we told him, “Look at the way you parked.”
Me: “Yep. (More awkward silence) Well, I’ll be sure to call you if it ever happens again so you can take action.”
Security Guy: “You do that.”
They both left my office, and I immediately texted all my friends to tell them the story and to laugh and laugh.
I SO need more white pebbles.