Sunday, June 18, 2006

This post is full of lines

I don't know what it is about me, but I always seem to have nothing to blog about, or too much to blog about. Today is another too much day. Enter horizontal reference number one:

Saturday morning, I was scheduled to present a seminar at the store as part of my coffee master training. Basically, my plan was to teach people how to recognize acidity and body in coffees, using lemonade and whole vs. skim milk to demonstrate the properties. It was a fairly simple plan, and a common device in coffee tasting, but I was unbelievably stressed about it. I guess because it was an unknown quantity; something I had never done before. And I felt really unqualified to be teaching people about tasting coffee because I don't feel like I'm all that good at it myself yet.

And, of course, the seminar went really well. Which I should have expected, but didn't, because self-doubt makes very convincing arguments sometimes. It was slow starting off, but eventually, people starting coming over and listening to me and I surprised myself with how much I actually do know about coffee, and had fun sharing with people who were actually interested and not just stuck in the same car as me for a trip to the Jersey shore.

After my seminar, I went to a new Starbucks that has just opened up in a nearby town to be a part of their "Star team", which I guess means I supposedly know what I'm doing now. It was a fun day, and although I do like the layout of my home store better, it was neat to get a feel for how another store operates. I'd had a really long day, though, and I was tired, so my manager let me go home early. Then I got lost.

I didn't have my super-awesome map book with me, so when I decided to take a short-cut home from work, I just had to trust my gut. And actually, I wasn't that far off. The route I chose didn't do what I thought it was going to do, but it did bring me to an intersection that I recognized and knew how to get home from. Great, problem solved, I just need to turn left up there and I'll be home in a few minutes. Except that I couldn't just turn left there, because my alternate route was also the primary route for people who were leaving the air show, which I had completely forgotten about and seemed to have just finished a few minutes before I arrived in the vicinity. So when I got to the corner, I was waved to the right by the traffic cops, who were trying to bring some semblance of order to the situation, and I looked sadly in my rearview mirror at the direction I wanted to be going, and prepared myself to be patient until I could turn around.

Time moved onward, but my car did not. Forty-five minutes and barely a mile later, I found myself crying into my steering wheel and seriously contemplating stepping on the gas and smashing through the facing traffic just to get off the road and rest for a few minutes. I think I really lost it when I realized that all of the people walking back to their cars were still traveling in the opposite direction from me, which meant that for all my slow, patient driving, I still hadn't even reached the front gates, and there would be as many people again or more on the other side. Finally, I passed another set of traffic cops and asked them how long they thought it would be before I would be able to turn around, since I was headed the wrong way. They asked me if I was from New Jersey, which I probably would have laughed at if I had been in a better mood. Then they offered to stop traffic for me so I could do a U-turn, which I gratefully accepted and made my way home. Being stuck in traffic is slightly less maddening when you're at least heading in the right direction.

Sunday was Father's Day. As many of you know, my father died two years ago. He was never really one for making a big deal out of things like Father's Day, so I wasn't expecting to be affected by the holiday. But then, over my morning coffee, I read an article that Adam Sandler wrote about his father (who also died two years ago), and it made me cry. And then I made the rounds of my blog rolls, and read about Ryan's dad and Job's dad and Susie's dad, and I started to feel a little bit like a single person on Valentine's Day; no one is explicitly rubbing their romance in your face, but it feels like everyone has something to celebrate but you.

I loved my dad. And in certain contexts, memories of my dad wash over me, completely unannounced and overwhelming. Like when I see something that I know he would appreciate, and I think of how he taught me to see things with continual childlike wonder and amazement. Or when I see something that needs fixing, and I think of how he taught me to look at things with a mechanical mind and tighten what needs tightening, or, more often than not, take it apart and clean it so it will run smoothly again. But a holiday just didn't do that for me. The only memories that it stirred for me were of my father shrugging the holiday off and telling us not to bother making a big deal of it. So I guess I kindof honoured my father in my failure to do anything on Sunday, treating it pretty much like any other day. But I have enough of my mother in me to recognize the passing of the day as something important, and wish, maybe a little, that I had done something to show my appreciation for my dad.

What is Father's Day supposed to mean for me? I have no father or grandfathers of my own, and my husband is not yet a father. So I guess I'm in a Father's Day no man's land of sorts. I have a wonderful father-in-law, and I bought him water ice to celebrate today, but I don't have a lifetime of memories of him, so it's really not the same. And one day, Father's Day will take on an entirely new meaning for me, and I will honour my husband on that day. And maybe I will find myself mourning a little in the midst of my admiration, like Jana. But maybe I just shouldn't worry about it so much. Each day comes with a new set of things to celebrate and mourn, and really, what can we do but take each as it comes, and process it all as best we can.

Since I've already written more than most of you probably care to read, I thought I'd throw in a few spiritual thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for the past day or so. Feel free to skip to the next section if you aren't interested in my semi-conclusive ramblings.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions." (Exodus 16:4)

Do I have the faith, the patience, the discipline to take each day as it comes? To follow one day's instructions and hope for the next day's provisions without trying to arrange everything myself? Or do I cling to yesterday's gift until it becomes maggoty, clinging so tightly to what is known that I miss out on the fresh gift for today?

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take [the thorn in my flesh] away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

How often do we pray for things, only to become disappointed when our requests are not granted? And it seems almost like a cop-out to say that God must have a bigger, greater plan, and the bad things had to happen because they really are for the best in the long run. I wonder, though, if God might just want us to suffer a bit, to keep us humble, to keep us in our place, and to remind us of our utter dependence on him. Maybe God did answer our prayers by saying, "Yeah, I'll give you enough grace to deal with that," rather than just simply taking it away. Like a good father who gives his child the tools to accomplish a certain task so that she will learn it, rather than simply always doing it for her. But do I have to courage to accept sufficient grace instead of easy answers?

That was the last <HR>, I promise.

Today was my first day of Day Camp. I'm working as the assistant to the administrative director or something like that gofer. Basically, I run around a lot and make sure things that need doing get done. And I get to drive a golf cart. As with all of the new things I had on my plate in the past few days, it went really well, in spite of my getting all worked up about it ahead of time. It's a really fun job, and I'm glad I decided to do it, even if it does mean not really getting any time to myself until August between the two jobs. I think I'm going to have to go camping at least twice in August to make it up to myself, though!

1 comment:

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

"coffee master"

I love that. Jule Ann, I think you should write a screenplay about a superhero (The Coffee Master) who must discover why there's a sudden sugar shortage in the world.

When you find your villain, Sweet Tooth, holed away in his fortress you must get your friends Tea Boy and the Kool Ade pitcher to help you destroy him and release sugar back into the eager, sticky hands of all the Earth.

I charge you with this great undertaking...

For you are truly The Coffee Master