Comrades

A couple of weeks ago I was invited out to a benefit concert that was being held at one of the local venues downtown. The proceeds of the concert went towards the victims of the Orlando shooting that took place not to long ago.

Live music, a good cause, what’s not to love? Admittedly, I was a little hesitant to jump on board.

You see, I hadn’t been to this place before, nor have a I seen this particular band before. In fact I haven’t been to most venues in my local area. “But Mark” I hear you say “You’re a musician, how have you not been to at least a few of the music venues?”

To be honest, live music is kinda intimidating to me.

Why? It’s was because it sort of felt like a risk to me. It meant rubber meeting the road as far as this whole music thing. Actually going out there, even some what regularly to shows, meet new people, connect with musicians was kinda scary. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t totally live under a rock. I’ve gone to a few concerts before. I just didn’t feel very confident as an artist yet. The idea of mingling with people who actually had an idea of what they were doing, well, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

My natural inclination was to crawl back under my rock where I knew it was safe. Where others couldn’t judge me. It’s easier that way. Which is something I really considered.

It was then I had to have hard talk with myself.

‘Ok, so concert coming up. What’s the plan?’

Umm… Ice cream and Netflix?

‘…What?’

You know. The easy way? The not dangerous way? Isn’t this the obvious solution?

‘Ok, here’s the thing. You like music right?’

Yes

‘You do still want to do it as a career?’

Fuck yea!

‘Do you see, you know, maybe a problem with wanted to do these things, and…you know… not going to  them ever?’

…But…It’s scary and different.

‘Most things worth doing are.’

I broke down and gave into the little voice in my head and put the ice cream back in the fridge to be binged upon another day.

I ended up arriving a bit earlier then I had planed on to the concert. So early, in fact, I was the first one there, but it allowed me a good look at the place. It was a part of old downtown, so red brick and long panes of glass greeted me on the front. I followed a narrow corridor to the music hall proper which was thankfully much larger. Same redbrick as the front but parts the walls adjacent to the stage were lined with black concrete and a black floor. Giving it a very earthly tone.

Opposite to the stage was the bar where I claimed a stool and ordered a draft. I looked around and spotted a small group of people at the other end of the bar. They were talking, laughing and being generally merry .

I moved closer and introduced myself. They practically greeted me with open arms. Talking to them I found that they were one of the bands that were going to be preforming tonight. They told me how excited they were to be there, that they were actually originally from Philadelphia and were touring. Heard this was going on and what the cause was for and they were more than happy to help out.

As time rolled by more people showed up, including the other performers. One of them came up to the bar to get some water from the bartender. While he was there I struck up a conversation with him. Finding out that we actually already knew each other. That I had worked with him before.I had actually run the soundboard at one of his prior events.

A few more people walked up and the same sort of thing happened. Talked, found some sort of connection and just instantly clicked. I eventually had a whole circle of people around me. All of us swapping stories and jokes, just like we were old friends despite just meeting.

Even when the show finally started we stuck together jamming out and drinking beer. It wasn’t quite like anything I had experienced before. For the first time in a while I didn’t feel like the odd one out. I did’t feel the compulsion to apologize for being who I was or looking the way I did. I looked and acted perfectly normal amongst this crowd.

In a way I felt at home. Like I was lost and had finally found my tribe. There was no judgement here. No conflict of interest. It was a safe place. Just a group of people who wanted to just listen to some music.

***

So much of the time I feel like I am fighting this up hill battle against the world. Having to shake off judgments and justify why I do what I do. It’s easy to feel alone. Even though the very opposite is true. There are many of us out there. Probably all feeling the same way. That is why moments like that are so precious. To find your clan and build each other up. Because we have enough going against us as artists. Like soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder. In victory or in defeat, we need to get the others backs if we are going to survive this crazy world.

(image credit: wikipedia)

Welcome to my Garden

Hey internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. It’s been a… busy year thus far. Loooots of drama has ensued that past six months, and it has been incredibly difficult to bring myself to write again. For a while there I wasn’t sure if it was even worth it to me do it again.

I mean, it’s not a particularly big site and its not like I have the most followers in the world. I could totally get away with just dropping off the face of the earth and none’s the wiser. Then I got to thinking, Why did I start doing this in the first place?

To make a statement?

To stick it to the man in my own little corner of the internet?

I figured out that it’s kinda a mixed bag for me. However, there was one thing I did end up remembering. The reason I started doing this in the first place. Just like every single person who has walked on this earth, I have a dream. That dream is to be a rockstar.

When I first realized my dream, I was ecstatic. I was gifted with new sense of purpose that took the form of this tiny, fragile, seed. This seed held within it my dreams, my hope and passion. I wasn’t sure what to do with this new little life that I held so delicately within my palm. So I look around, hoping to gain some guidance from others by observing what they had done with their seeds.

Everywhere I looked it seemed like a majority of people had taken their seeds and shoved them deep into their pockets or locked them far away in a safe somewhere. Others I had even seen take a hammer and crush their seed till nothing was even left of the poor thing. Sometimes I even saw people robbed of their seed by others who had lost their own at one point or another.

Then I was approached and was told that I should do the same before something bad happens to me. That the seed was dangerous. I followed as I was told and tucked it away in a corner somewhere. Pilled papers and junk on top of the little seed. In hopes of never seeing it again.

Until I saw someone do something different.

One day someone new walked up to me. They greeted me with a big smile and grabbed me by the arm. Pulling me close, they whispering excitedly into my ear “I need to show you something!” and lead me to a garden. A garden that was filled with plants and flowers I had never seen before! All filled with colors as far as the that stretched as far as the mind could imagine. I was overwhelmed with the warmth of this place. “You think that’s cool?” She continued to lead me till we reached the center of the garden where we were greeted by a colossal tree.

It was the biggest tree I had ever seen. It’s massive trunk was followed up by strong, think branches. Branches that held the most unique and captivating creatures I had ever seen. Some with beaks, some with tails, some with scales. All of them unique. At the end of the branches were but only the most vividly colored leaves. Not just green, but purple, yellow, pink, orange. All flowing seamlessly together.

“Is this yours? How did you do this?” I uttered in amazement

She simply smiled and responded “I planted the seed”

I ran home pealed back layers upon layers of debris from a corner of my room and found a tiny, dusty, seed. I plucked it from it’s tomb and gazed upon it. Brushing the dust off it I found it had become weathered and dirty, but I could still see the distinct spark it had from when I first discovered it.

She came up behind me and told me “Careful. It’s more then just planting a seed. You have to commit to it. You have to water it. Protect it from hungry birds. Sometimes even from other people.”

I looked to her, seed in hand “Will it be hard?”

She nodded “Yes, and it requires patience. Sometimes it feels like you may go through all the effort of caring for it with not a thing to show. However, little do you know that, inside, something powerful grows. And when you see that first little glimmer of green sticking out of the ground, it will all feel so worth it.”

I studded the little miracle of life and observed it’s little crevices. In each one of them I saw beauty and joy. Color and change. Most of all, I saw hope.

I dug a little hole in the dirt and placed the precious cargo into it’s newly created bed.

***

I do this because I have a dream and I know you do too. And it feels so easy to fall into the mind set of living in shame of dreams and passions. To keep to the grindstone and forget the rest. The thing is, where would we be as a culture if no one ever pursued their crazy dreams? What if we all just did what we were told and kept our nose clean? Probably all living in a cave somewhere afraid of the sunlight. Living in fear.

Personally, I have had enough of living in fear.

My name is Mark, and I am no different from you reader. I am just some guy sitting at a computer writing. I am not special. I am not particularly gifted. I am in no way better than you or anyone.

The only thing I have done is that I have decided to plant my seed and am working hard to have a garden some day. I say all this because I don’t want to hide anymore, and I want to show you it’s possible. The garden may not end up the exact way you would like. It may have some hills. It may grow next to a lake that is home to a group of hungry geese that you have to fend off regularly. But it’s your garden. Yours to create and shape. It all starts with a decision. Are you going to stow away your seed and ignore it’s existence, or see what magic you can make happen?

…Fuck It

Six months ago I worked in a restaurant as a manager

Six months ago I was on the steady track to ‘success’

Six months ago I had a plan

Six months ago I was miserable

These past few months in my life have been some of the most incredible and growth filled of my life, and to think It all started out with my ‘awesome management’ job being taken away from me for reasons out of my control. Then deciding to follow this crazy, irrational, dream of mine to become a rock star. Since then, I have met a guitar master, whom I’ve gotten to study under, bought a website, met all kinds of colorful, inspiring, loving people, met my personal hero and since have had several exchanges with her, and most of all, discovered myself.

For the first time in my entire life I feel alive. Before now, every new year filled me with dread, because it just felt like having to do the same year all over again just with a new digit slapped on it. Not any more. For the first time I feel excited to simply be doing what am doing, and seeing where it takes me. For the first time, I feel hopeful.

And none of this happened because I had a plan.

I’ve been making this shit up every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong I certainly try to have a plan. In fact, I was even under the impression that I had one. To keep my head down and keep plugging away at my music till I became some sort of master…

NOPE

I have recently been given a new job in a music store that has, seemingly, been the answer to a lot of prayers. A music store where I can work closely with music and musicians, and get discounts on much needed equipment.

Not only that, but I have met someone. Someone who has been changeling me and making me face some old demons.

All of these are beautiful, amazing things. All of which I needed and all of which weren’t according to plan.

We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately, life is going to take you wherever the fuck it feels like. Our entire lives we are standing in an open field coated in fog. Most of the time we find ourselves just standing there, in the one spot, trying to plan our first move. All the while lying to ourselves. Telling ourselves that conditions will get clearer and then we can move, but the fog will never lift and the conditions will never clear.

Eventually we just need to say “fuck it” and take a step forward. Even though we may not even be able to see the ground in front of us. It’s a risk and it’s scary. That first step may land you in a lake or a tree but it will be a step worth it all the same. I know my first step was off a cliff. No job, no money, seemingly no future, and totally worth it.

Today I am just making by

Today I face demons

Today I have no plan

Today I am finally alive

(Photo Credit: Ian Furst)

Faith and Fear

I am not used to slowing down. I find myself more often then not, either working or thinking of a new project to work on. Stopping, is not a thing I do often. Not because I would be opposed to taking a break, it’s more because of all the change happening in my life and my desire to keep up with it. In a way, running along side the change to see where it leads me. I’m a dreamer, it’s how I operate.

But dreamer or not, you can’t evade reality forever. Bills still need to be paid, people still need to be tended to, and life happens. Every time, completely throwing you off your rhythm. Often these things happen in spurts, and sometimes, all at once.

That is where I am right now.

Next year, in January to be specific, is the time I plan to start playing open mikes at local venues. January is also the time I am hoping to leave my delivery job. Due to restaurant management completely falling apart, and possibly causing the entire branch to be closed soon. It also turns out that January may also be the month where my housing situation may get a bit more complicated. Not to mention that same month, is already going to be incredibly financially tight due to the holidays.

All that to say, I’m feeling pretty fucked.

This feeling reminds me of looking at the beginning of a sand storm. The moment when it hasn’t hit yet, but it is just this wall. An orange wall of dirt and rocks, all hurling towards you at nearly triple digits.

Then there is that moment. That moment when the world slows down and the severity of the situation really hits you. You realize that you can’t out run this thing, you can’t hide from it. There is not a thing you can do to prevent this thing from hitting you.

That moment where there is no plan or prevention to be made. No words to be said. You are completely powerless.

We all have sandstorms and some of us may even be in the midst of one right now. Many probably more severe than myself. Regardless, when we face these storms you have two choices. A) Worry and freak out about what will happen, or B) Accept the situation, buckle down, and maintain hope.

I may not have been on this earth as long as many people out there, but I have figured out one thing. Worry gets you no where. The amount of energy we put into being anxious over one thing, a thing we probably can’t even control, is ridiculous. All that time meditating over the issue, dissecting it, begging for a solution, for what? Nothing. Nothing other than probably an ulcer.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s ok to be afraid, that is a natural reaction to seeing an endless wall of sand barreling toward you. However, don’t let that fear control you. Instead choose to hope and to have faith that this hell will end. Because the storm will end, but it is up to you if you are going to come out stronger, or let this storm destroy you by worrying so much about it.

The clouds will eventually pass by, and there probably will have to be rebuilding. However you will ultimately make it through the devastation. The rebuilding may not be easy either. It may even take years, but it will end.

Until then, choose to have faith. Choose to have hope. Because if you choose to worry and grow anxious over this thing you can’t even control, it will destroy you.

In complete honesty, I have no idea what my life will look like in a couple of months after this storm hits. How I will pay the bills, if anyone will care for my music, or where I will even be sleeping. I know one thing though, I will pull through this stronger, and so will you.

(Photo Credit: pixabay.com)

 

Feeling the Burn

I have found that people who are physically active typically gravitate toward a certain form of exercise, or at least stick to one area. Typically because they want to build themselves a certain way. For example, one could be craving to bulk up, get stronger, lift harder, literally rip their shirt every time they even look at a weight. Alternatively, a gym goer could desire a more lean build, built for speed not so much for comfort.

Typically I try to strike a balance between the two, but more often then not I find myself the camp of the latter. For a few reasons, but primarily because I have fallen in love with running.

Ah yes, running. The wind rushing through my hair, blood racing through my veins, makes me feel like I am some sort of super hero every time I finish a five mile. Of course, I didn’t always feel this way about my preferred form of exercise.

“What the hell?! It’s only been five minutes!” Is what you would have caught me saying about four years ago during one of my many attempts to conquer the spinning conveyor belt of death.

“Ok…ok I need to take break…catch my breath…not die” I recall saying while jamming my thumb on the down arrow to the speed till it reached a more reasonable pace. Then, I would do just that, take a break, try again for five minutes, break, so on. Every time feeling like my heart was about to leap out of my chest and do a jig in front of me.

Funny thing is, though I felt completely miserable at the time, I couldn’t help but to love it, even then.  Maybe I was just some sort of masochist, but there was just something about it that fascinated me. Even though ever time I did it I was convinced I was going to die and was sore for days following.

Maybe I became addicted to running for the sheer challenge it gave me. Maybe, it represented some barrier in my mind that I was determined to overcome. Maybe I was just fixated on becoming a healthier me. Maybe, I did it for the rush it gave me, the thrill of pushing my body to the limit every time I ran. Or, maybe, I really am just some sort of masochist. Either way, I was determined to make this thing happen one way or another, because I was in love with it.

As we go through our journey in life, we eventually find these thing that we can’t help but to fall head-over-heels for. Writing, photography, gardening, sports, cooking, we all have passions. Sometimes our love for them grows so strong, we even make the decision so presume them seriously.

That’s when the honey moon ends.

Like running, I have fallen deeply in love with music. Not just music as a whole, but the idea of being a musician. The thought of being the person who births new music into this world, excites me to no end. I have made it my goal in life to becoming this creative individual. Which is a great first step, but between here and our end goal, there are many steps to be taken.

These steps will include, excitement, disappointment, loss, gain, joy, defeat, intimidation, failure, success and so on, probably until the day we die. And even though it may be our life’s dream, there will be days when we just straight up don’t feel like doing it. Not because you don’t love it anymore, it’s just that you are starting to feel the burn.

As any physically active person can attest, during long period of exercise, especially if you are working a particular group of muscles, you will start to feel very fatigued in those areas. AKA the burn. That burn comes from your muscles being torn apart during exercise, so that they can be rebuilt stronger and tougher.

It’s natural, it hurts, and it sucks. Especially when you start feeling it during the middle of a work out. When, you know, there is still another half to get through. This is the point where you have to make the decision to, a) give into the pain and quit, or b) keep moving forward, despite the pain and difficulty.

There is an old saying that sums this up pretty well, Anything worth doing is never easy

When you do anything worth doing, you are, 100% guaranteed, going to meet difficulty. The kind of difficulty that will bring any sane person to their knees. But you know what the beautiful thing is about that? Your aren’t sane. You are in love with your passion. You are committed to her and love her with all your heart, and would, never in your wildest dreams, let her go.

But, just like in a marriage, crazy shit is going to happen along the way and a lot of hard lessons learned. You will have to learn about her. Her good sides, her bad sides, strengths and quirks. Some days, it will feel impossible, and during that time you maybe tempted to give up.

When you start feeling over whelmed like this, and thinking of leaving your passion behind you. Stop. Take a breath, and know what you are feeling is temporary.

You are probably feeling worn and tired, even crazy intimidated. That’s ok, It’s only natural to struggle. The important thing is to remember that you will pull through this. You will finish this race, stronger, and more prepared for the next challenge.

In sickness and in health, till death does you part, you will chase her to the ends of the earth, and nothing, will get in your way.

Back to Basics

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Who said it was ok for people to wake up this early?

Shit, I am already running late, need to get going.

Shit, I’m going to be taking the late shift today too?

Shit, why did I take that?! What time is it?

Yep still running late. Thought that would change for some reason.

What else do I have today?

Shit, I have to do some work for the channel today, on the video that is already a week late. That HAS to get done today.

What, I need to find time to work out too, you know, get out the anxiety?

I should stop requesting for late shifts at the deli. But I need money. fuck money man. hate money. why can’t I just get paid for what i love doing already? why does it have to be so complicated? shit still running late! need to eat or something. why do i care i hate this job anyway. need money though. why can’t the things i work on make money for me. how is this going to  work going to be late need to get up earlier but have to get stuff done but i am tired but need to push out new projects otherwise bad stuff need to get going

Now, I feel like the act of categorizing one’s self is a stupid thing to do. We are all different and unique. Any ‘test’ that you take either from a psychologist, or on the back of magazine, could never accurately describe who you are as a whole. However, they may be able to give you some guidance about a trend that you follow or have a tendency towards (maybe not so much the magazine, but still). That being said, I resonate a lot with certain personality type called a type ‘A’ personality.

A type ‘A’ personality stems from the theory generated by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R. H. Rosenman back in the 1950’s when they conducted a study on heart disease. They wanted to see what kind of personalities have a higher tendency to develop heart disease and complied their findings into two opposing categories. A type ‘A’ personality, typically being people who have a tendency to have a constant, powerful, drive to do something and to make an impact. Then the contrast, type ‘B’ personality. Who have a tendency to take a more relaxed approach to things and tend not be be as competitive about everything.

Not surprisingly, they found that the type ‘A’ tends to be more prone to develop heart disease and die in an early grave. Probably because we are convinced that we are superman, and can bench press a bus with our shear will power.

This isn’t a particularly new development for me though. Ever since I was a kid, I was always trying to think at least a couple steps ahead of the game. Either when playing a game of ‘Yugioh’ with my friends or even when ‘playing pretend’, I always made an effort to plan ahead so I could divide and conquer. Not to mention I knew for a fact that I could bench press that bus if I worked hard enough and planned it correctly.

I don’t believe one personality type is necessarily better than the other. It’s just two sides of the same coin. Either way is a valid form of work as long as you balance it a little. (i.e. Type ‘A’ takes a break every once in a while, and type ‘B’ gets their lazy ass in gear sometimes.)

However, when you have a tendency to want to take on the world, you will be quickly, and easily, overwhelmed.

In a constant battle for supremacy and control of my own mind, with millions of voices and theories racing through my head at once. As you saw, it can turn into a serious struggle.

The other day, I was planning through my day for the third time: ‘Ok, go to work, hopefully have enough time to grab lunch, back to work, work on website… Ok sounds good, oh wait. I’ve got to fit guitar practice in there some where too…’

I stopped myself.

I’ve got to fit guitar practice in?

I was saying it like I had some appointment to check my prostate.

Type A, B, D, personality regardless, the day I say “I’ve got to” when speaking of the instrument I adore, is the day something needs to change.

How about “I get to play guitar” or “I have been blessed enough to go play an instrument I love.”

Recently I went to a book signing with my roommates, but before the signing, a group of authors hosted a panel discussing their very first works they had ever written. It was an incredibly inspiring experience, especially for a small time musician and writer such as myself, to hear these veterans discuss their humble beginnings and how far they have come as novelists.

At the end of the panel the group of authors took a few questions from the crowd. One of the questions asked was “How do you know that your book is ready to publish?”

One of the gathered authors replied with another question. “Why be so worried about it?”

Of course was met with some confusion.

She explained (and I am paraphrasing) “You know, everyone is always so obsessed over when the book is ready to throw out to the masses. ‘When can a I publish this? When is this ready to go?’ An important questions sure, but hardly the point. It’s the process that matters, not the product.

This sentence will forever echo through the caverns and crevices of my mind.

It’s about the process, not the product. It’s about doing it because you love it, not because you just want to make money. If you are doing it for the money, you will be quickly disappointed.

Money, fame, fans, likes, subscribers, all of it is fleeting. It will come and go. When you discover your passion, chase it because you love it. In fact, don’t even expect that your book will even make money, or that you will be the greatest rockstar known to man. Just do it because you are madly in love with doing it.

I have been so distracted by entertaining the thought of creating content for the sake of content, I’ve missed the point of why I do all this in the first place. To create music and art that may encourage people through their own hardships and struggles. Not to be some sort of think tank, that solely exists to push out more and more content till I am used up and withered.

I love being a creative person. I love writing music, working on my blog, and making goofy videos on the internet for the world to enjoy. I would love to one day make a living off of doing these things, but that’s not the ultimate goal. It’s about enjoying what I get to do in the the first place.

Fun Size

The Fall season is here and is in full swing! Not only is autumn unquestionably the best season, but it is also home to my favorite holiday!

That’s right! The nasty summer heat has been traded for nice cool breezes and changing leaves. What is there not to love about October? Not to mention Halloween! The day you are actually allowed, and even encouraged, to dress up like a weirdo and throw candy in your face. I know many people make the argument that Halloween is a holiday more for kids and not a real holiday, but I call total crap on that. Honestly it has only gotten better as I have gotten older. Now I can go buy my own candy! Screw going door to door and working for it!

One thing that has always confused me, even as a kid going ‘trick or treating’, were the little bite size candies, or ‘fun’ size candies. Such as the little milky-ways or snickers. My little Hungarian brain was immediately insulted by such tiny candies. I came from a land were you made things in bulk! Don’t waste my time with your petite chocolate covered shavings! Where were the candy bars?

Of course I never made a big deal about it because, tiny or not, free candy is free candy. The thing that really confused me was that everyone else didn’t seem to share my frustration. Don’t get me wrong, it was an event when someone actually got a full sized candy bar. An event that we all celebrated by trying to steal it when the owner wasn’t looking, but other wise everyone was pretty contented with the size bars they did have.

This still confuses me even years later. If anything this strange contentment has even turned to celebration! I remember seeing in high school people even wearing ‘fun-size’ hoodies during that fall. What is this madness? “Why are we celebrating getting ripped off?” I thought.

“Maybe they are just settling. They knew that they will never get that full sized bar and they are just embracing circumstance.” I decided. Which was totally it, but it did make thing of something recently.

It reminded me of back when we were all kids on Halloween night. Getting dressed up in the costume you have been looking forward to wearing in public for the past four weeks. (Even though you had been wearing the costume just about every day at home up till that point, but this time your parents are letting you wear it outside! In front of the neighbors!) All the while salivating over the candy you will earn tonight with your friends. You knew what houses to hit and what ones to avoid. You had this down to a science.

Above it all, you were just flat out excited about it being the greatest day of the year, Halloween. Sure you wanted to make maximum profits in the candy department, but if anything you were just jazzed that you got to do, what you got to do. It was just the fact that you got to hang out with your friends late at night and eat a bunch of sugar, despite it’s pathetic size.

It was the little things that made it awesome.

I feel like we could learn something from our young selves here. As adults we feel we always have to be so concerned about the big picture, we often forget about all the little things around us at any moment. The people you and I interact with everyday.

For those of you who may not know, I am not a kick-ass rock star all around the clock. During the day I am a delivery driver for a deli, and like everyone else in the world who has to has to hold down a minimum – wage job to support themselves, I hate it. It is certainly not the worst job I have had, by far, but it is still a crappy minimum – wage job.

Because of this, I had to come to terms with something. That this is just my lot in life right now. This, hopefully, won’t always be my reality, but it is what I have to work with right now. So I made a decision. I will make the best of this situation as I can.

One of the goals that I have set for myself in life is to leave this world a little bit better. To help and inspire others through my art and my experiences. So, in relation with the deli, I asked myself, why wait till I am a rock-star to change lives? Why not start now, with what I have?

So everyday I try to bring my best attitude to my job and believe me, I am not saying this to brag. I have my bad days. Days I may, or may not, have told my manager he is an idiot, but that is besides the point. It’s not like I am a unique case. No one else wants willingly wants to work at some cruddy chain deli. So why not try to make our time there a little better by just being nice to each other, even in small ways?

When I went into work the other day, I found my direct supervisor slouched over a computer monitor. I said hi to her and she turned around. Her eyes were blood shot and baggy. I asked her if she was alright and she responded with a “not really”.

I asked what was wrong and she told me that her friend had gotten in a serious car wreck the prior night and was unresponsive in the hospital. My supervisor was at her bed side all night and wasn’t able to get any sleep.

I asked if there was anything I could do to help. She shook her head and responded “Just don’t fuck up today”. You know, that’s fair enough.

I was then sent out on my first delivery and a different manager requested that I went by the store afterwords to pick up some produce. My first thought was why didn’t we make a proper stock list the prior day, but that is besides the point.

After the delivery I went to the store as asked, and picked up the damn, super special, ‘organic’ avocados we use. On the way to the check out though, I spotted some dark chocolate on sale and thought of my supervisor. ‘Well, I mean chocolate always makes me feel better’ I thought and took a bar to check out.

When I got back to the store I took a piece of receipt paper and wrote her name it. Followed by that it was from her ‘favorite’ driver. Then placed the chocolate next to her register while she was away. Only to be immediately afterwords whisked away to prep for another delivery.

At this point I was on the other side of the store filling up an empty plastic gallon with iced tea (Because it doesn’t matter if it is getting cold, we are in the south damn it, and we need our cold tea!) and my mind was else where. All of a sudden I see my supervisor in the corner of my eye. I turned around to face her and saw tears in her eyes. I immediately expected something tragic, that maybe her friend had made a turn for the worst, but that wasn’t it at all. She thanked me and gave me a big bear hug. She said that, that chocolate was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for her.

I didn’t think it when I bought it, but this cheap chocolate that I just thought would be a nice surprise, ended up meaning the world to her.

Even I was shown a similar kindness this week, on a delivery no less!

This particular day had been a busy one to say the least, and one of the many tickets we had that day belong to a group of office employees who had all ordered individual sandwiches. This particular order fell into my charge to deliver. Normally I try to make a point to look through the delivery bag to double check the packers job, but in this case I had to just get rolling due to the delivery already being half an hour late.

You can see where this is going can’t ya?

I got to the delivery location and, thankfully, was able to find the suite number without to much problem. I enter the room and found a group of middle aged women sat around a large table setting, seemingly in a conference. I attempted to be desecrate so that I wouldn’t disturb them, but that went right out the window when one of them yelled “Lunch is here!”

About that discretion thing.

How these sort of individual deliveries typically work is that the individuals order is bagged with their name written on it. That bag is then placed inside a larger bag with the other orders for my carrying convince. So what ended up happening, was that I went through my delivery bag and call the name that I would see on the individual bags. When I called the name, the person would come up to claim their meal. All of them ended up being fine, except for the last two orders I ended up handing out. One was missing a desert and the other was completely crushed under the weight of all the other items in the bag.

Not only did this mean that I had to go back to the store to replace the missing or damaged items, but it also meant a refund. Which means after all the effort, no tip for me. I was trying not to get to distressed about it, but it was defiantly irritating to say the least. Thankfully the women were fairly understanding, and were willing to wait for me to return with new food.

After going back to a restaurant full of irritated people who were stressed over how late this order has been, I return back to the delivery location. I am exhausted by this point because I had been driving for nearly eight hours straight and had not had a thing to eat all day. I didn’t care about the money at this point. I just wanted to be done with the day.

I relocate the suite location and once again, try to discreetly enter, only to once again, to have to spot light shown on me. “He’s back!” The same woman shouted.

I forced a smile on my face and after handing out the replacement food and genuinely apologized for everything. Their delivery was over an hour late by this point after all. That’s not cool.

They told me it was fine and informed me that management had informed them of their refund. They then asked another question as I got my bags together. “Are you still being compensated for all of this?” I replied with a no, and informed them that because of the refund, I lose my tip as well.

Then the most amazing things happened.

The same woman replied “Well that’s not right!” and she dug through her purse and, before I could even say anything, stuffed a few bills in my hand. Then another woman did the same and another. Eventually there formed a line of people handing me cash. I didn’t know what to say.

I eventually gathered my wits about me and thanked them repeatedly. One replied “It’s not your fault things happen. You worked hared, you deserve the tip.”

All of this to say one thing. I know we all strive for big things in life, as we should, but the thing is though, sometimes we need regain perspective. I want to go change the world in my own way. I want to someday preform my music in front of tens, of thousands of people. I want to reach out to the people all over the world and give them hope. Someday I hope and pray I can, but it doesn’t start there.

First we need to start smaller. Be that giving your hurting co-worker some sympathy or tipping your delivery boy. Sometimes, the most important things, or even the things we need the most, come in bite-size packages. Packages that conveniently only have the grams of sugar per serving on the bag and not the candy.

(Photo credit: flickr.com)