Understand that giving take more strength than taking.
Yet the rewards are far greater.
Find ways to give more often.
Don’t get locked into the idea that giving is merely materialistic.
Open a door for a stranger. Let a car get in front of you in traffic. Pick up a piece of trash on the street.
Remember, if you don’t have money, give time.
If you don’t have time, give a smile.
If you don’t have a smile, ask for help.
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Don’t get me wrong. I really like my doctor.
Although I only get 15 minutes in his presence per appointment, I understand that’s not his fault. More importantly, during that quarter of an hour, he really has a great bedside manner, remaining attentive and focused; he even laughs at my jokes. Yet, it’s still a very short amount of time for me to catalog every concerning twitch, itch, or anomaly I discover on this aging body. Nonetheless, he listens patiently and responds to every apprehension and I have yet to catch him sighing nor checking his watch.
Like I said, I like my doctor.
So at first blush, it might seem contradictory when I state that I did everything I knew how to do to avoid my most recent appointment. No invasive tests were on the agenda. I did not even have to fast the night before; I had done that the previous week. This visit’s express purpose was merely getting the results of my standard blood tests I took the week previously.
I arrived for my appointment a little early; hoping to get it over with. I purposely did not wear blue jeans because I knew they weigh more than my black cotton pants and also knew that — per standard protocol — the first place to which I would be escorted was the scale. I’ve commented before that I would prefer they placed it somewhere more discreet as it feels like it’s in the lobby with a lighted placard announcing, “Now weighing in…” and then proclaims my weight to everyone in the entire building. It’s not doing that of course, or so I’m told. But, as they say, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” It still does appear that way to me.
“Please step on to the scale,” said the nurse.
“One moment,” I replied, “I don’t want to weigh while wearing this jacket.”
She smiled patiently while I placed my coat on the provided rack.
“Excellent; now you can hop on board.”
“I’m not done yet,” said I, whilst removing my shoes and unbuckling my belt.
“You know, you don’t really need to take those off,” she commented.
“Maybe others don’t, but I do. I’m a professional at this.”
I accented the action by emptying my pockets of my keys, spare change, phone, and even my pen. (I would have discarded the used napkin buried in the bottom of my pocket but I was starting to feel a bit too anal-retentive.)
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Of late, I’ve taken on yet another new assignment.
I’m “chat coaching,” a steep-learning-curve experience I assure you.
Should you be unfamiliar with chat coaching, I shall explain. I log into a website from my home computer, which is connected to a main server in cyberspace. On the other side of the void, should someone need guidance, they click on a button on their screen and their “call” is routed to me on my computer. He or she types. I reply via the same method. If you were asking, “Wouldn’t it be easier with a phone?” The answer is probably “yes.” However, that’s not how it works and I’ve agreed to the terms. To be honest, I’m actually growing to enjoy the procedure – short of the carpal tunnel issues for which I must be on guard.
In effect, this type of communication can be best analogized as a very slow moving conversation, especially since the policies require appropriate grammar, correct spelling, and avoiding emoticons and abbreviations (like “BTW” or “LOL”). The repercussions of having such time in between transactions allow one’s thoughts to drift, which lends itself to me making judgments — fair or otherwise — about who is on the other end, based entirely on how long it takes for a reply and what shows up when it happens.
With that as backstory, today someone logged in and began the conversation with the most ridiculously moronic questions.
“Really?” I thought, “Are you serious?”
Her query was so “beyond the pale,” that I first assumed I had snared a “troll.” (No, not the long-haired, full-bellied, naked toys of the seventies. Rather these are nasty individuals who enjoy annoying, frustrating, or insulting other people in cyberspace, merely because they can get away with it.)
Yet, with the passage of a few paragraphs of correspondence, I understood that the young woman on the other end wasn’t trolling, but was instead severely developmentally disabled. Obviously, her skill set allowed use of the system but her text was burdened with so many typos, it was near impossible to untangle, and the speed at which she replied would make a beginning typist feel like a thirty-year executive secretary. But most importantly, she couldn’t grasp even the simplest concepts.
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“I lost a whole lot of weight,” she said, her voice almost a whisper.
No eye contact was made; instead she seemly excessively absorbed in staring at her shoes. “But now, not only have I put it back on, but I’ve added 20 more pounds. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I can’t stand to look in a mirror. I don’t know what to do.” The sadness she felt practically dripped from her pores.
“That’s got to be frustrating,” I replied.
“…and frightening too!” she added. “When’s it going to stop?”
“Good question,” I answered, “What seems to be the cause?”
“Well, I’m obviously eating too much.” She tried to make it sound like an “ain’t-it-obvious” joke but the pain was louder than her laugh.
“That’s what’s so embarrassing,” she continued. “I just don’t know. It seems like I start out every day with great intentions. The problem is I work near a little mom-and-pop bakery. They make the best cakes and pies. So, on my break, I’ll find myself buying just one small slice, saying I’ll control myself. The next thing I know, I’m like a machine that’s eats everything! Then my inner voice says, ‘Well as long as you blew it, you might as well really blow it. You can always start tomorrow’ and I really go crazy! Every day is just like the previous one; same broken promises, same result.”
She paused; the gold hoop earrings she wore swung slightly under her brown shoulder length hair as she collected her thoughts. Picking up her gaze, she asked, “What do you think I should do?”