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June 7, 2009

How you view the world through your own eyes

Lately, there is a lot going on in my life. Starting with some insecurity about where my job stands, given the merger. Yeah, the place where I spend most of my weekdays is like standing on shifting sands.

Then there is the economy, as I warily look at the balance of my retirement account.

Turning 40, and looking at what this next era in my life looks like (along with looking at the balance on my retirement account, ay yi yi!)

And a lot of at home personal stuff, too.

So lately, I've become like a broken record. I say to The Good Man, "I'm overwhelmed" when presented with a new problem. "I'm overwhelmed" when I have to make a big decision. "I’m overwhelmed," when we try to sort out our calendar of all the events and friends and appointments and to do's.

I had kind of a bad week last week, and by Friday I was not in a great mental place. Saturday morning, I'd had a good night's sleep and things were better, but I was still on the verge. A couple tears over my morning pancakes and some heavy sighing over coffee.

On the way home from breakfast, The Good Man and I went to the local drug store to pick up a few items.

I was completely in my own head standing in line, just desperately wanting to get through the store and go home, be away from all of humanity. Just...shut down.

The lady in front of me in line was having some conversation with the clerk that wasn't going anywhere, and so there I stood, rolling my eyes, waiting, tapping my foot, etc.

I listened in trying to figure out what the problem was. This elderly lady was waving a piece of paper at the probably nineteen-year old clerk, "My son needs these things, this is what I need...." she said, desperately.

The clerk was looking at her like she'd sprung a second head. "Did you call in for that?"

She replied "my son...he wrote this down just now....I need these things!"

The clerk looked at her list, "Coffeemate, that's over in the freezer section," he said, waving distractedly and shooing her away.

She shuffled off, muttering, "I need these things...."

I paid for my stuff, and as I left the store, I saw the woman pleading with another clerk, and getting more frustrated and disoriented.

As we walked to the car, I told TGM, "I'm worried about that lady."

He asked me if I wanted to go back and help her.

I waffled. Sadly, most of the time, it's better not to get involved. Best to just go on about your day. But something about this woman really got to me.

We went back inside. I didn't see her immediately, so we went over toward the freezer section. She wasn't there, either.

So we turned and walked a few aisles.

I found her, standing in another aisle, completely lost, eyes wide, and she was frantic. She looked about like I did the first time I entered Times Square, only way less excited and eight times as scared.

She held out her piece of paper to me and said, so plaintively, "Can you help me?"

"Yes, I can," I said, and she visibly relaxed.

TGM and I helped her get the items on her list while and got her to the cash register. Then we took our leave and went on about our way.

But the rest of the day, I couldn't stop thinking about that lady.

She clearly needs help, needs not to be wandering out in the world alone. She's reached that point in her life where she can't do it herself anymore.

I have been saying so much lately, "I'm overwhelmed," and I am, but I'm not so overwhelmed with my life that going to a neighborhood drug store in the suburbs makes me feel wide eyed and frantic.

Maybe, seeing her terrified eyes (honestly, the look on her face is a memory that will never leave me), was like looking in a mirror for me, but it was also a wake up call.

I'm not downgrading what I'm feeling, what's going on inside me is real, but sometimes, and this is a weird feature of human nature, having a comparison to know that one, you are not alone, and two, you could be in a worse spot, is healing.

I sure do hope that lady found her way home ok.

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Creative Commons License
All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.