Sometimes we wake up with that horrible feeling that things are going to go wrong right from the start. We burn our tongue on the coffee, fall over trying to get socks on, slide halfway down the driveway on the ice that we did not see and have something stuck between our teeth when we arrive at work. The repeating pattern of bad things just keeps going on. A donut falls apart, smearing jelly down the front of the white shirt that we wore today of all days.
An employee quits, right when we thought that they were starting to learn their job. It’s ten a.m. and we are thinking that maybe there is a future in digging ditches. By the time five o’clock bell tolls, enough stuff has happened that we know it is not a coincidence and we are sliding underneath a large rain cloud.
At home, things are about the same. Our partner is sympathetic and has ‘had one of those days too’. Yeah, right. Not like ours. We finally hit the sack feeling down, a little bit depressed and exhausted.
The next day, we trip on our socks again. Our balance is gone. It is going to be another one of those days. By noon, we have compiled a list of everything that has gone wrong and it seems like weeks since anything good happened in our lives. The rain cloud is a full on flash flood by now. People at the office are starting to avoid returning our glance and at the same time, a full-fledged pity party is going on around us. Whispers filled with empathy, quietly expressed fears that the bad things will spread, all signs that we have sunk into a giant sinkhole and we will never find our way out.
The day ends and with our face written in dark misery. An employee walks by, pats our shoulder and says “God never gives you more than you can handle.” We stare ahead, try to pick up our shoulders, find that they are too heavy and just sigh. Really, why would we want to find out how much we can handle? This is just not fair. We get to the parking lot and find that we left the lights on all day and the car battery is dead. We pound the steering wheel, shouting our frustration. Back in the office, the remaining staff hears the muffled screams and shakes its collective head. Tomorrow, they know, won’t be any better.
Tomorrow, though, for some inexplicable reason, the sun is shining on our face. We fall over once more while putting on our socks. No one sees us grin, actually nearly laughing at ourselves. Suddenly, we feel good. Fortunately, no one can see any of this so we trudge downstairs and put on the ‘man down’ expression again. After all, the good mood can’t last. Breakfast is held in mournful meditation.
On the way to work, we still feel, well, foolishly happy. The change is inexplicable. After all, nothing positive or miraculous happened and so it cannot possibly be right that we should feel happy. The office staff is looking for more tragedy. Life has not improved, someone took your parking space and the heat is down in the shop. God is still handing us more stuff that ‘we can handle’ and we know that the office staff will still be in pity mode. It is our job to put on that brave yet tragic face and let them know that we will survive in spite of the storm raging over us.
As we prepare to leave the car, we realize that this silly mood is not going to leave us and we are thoroughly embarrassed. After all, what has happened to bring it on? Who are we to feel good when we are expected to be down, half-sobbing at every turn? We can’t, just cannot, walk into the shop looking cheerful, at least not until we find the winning lottery ticket on our desk. We will be laughed at as soon as our backs are turned. How do we sneak our new, light mood across when things have been going so wrong?
It happened to me. The bad stuff went on for a week and then some. I had my list compiled and would read it off to anyone who wondered why I looked so completely down. Suggestions that I start looking for the ‘good’ in my life started to sound like ‘It’s time to write your will.”
After sitting in the car for a minute, though, I realized that I liked being in a good mood and that I am no longer of an age where embarrassment bothers me. After all, I recently walked into a group full of mostly strangers with my zipper all the way down. It didn’t hurt a bit. A second glass of wine provided fabulous amnesia.
Know what? The crew was not surprised. They were relieved. Things are finally getting back to normal. Oh, I could make you a list of all the stuff that went wrong if you like. It just wouldn’t change my good mood.