Disrupting the Balance

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Someone ahead of me in the drive-thru decided to pay for my coffee. I have had this happen more than anyone else I know. People really enjoy paying it forward to me, specifically. What exactly is the universe trying to tell me? Am I drinking too much coffee? Not enough coffee? Do I look sad while I’m driving?

Twice this week I thought I should reciprocate. Both times I was alone in the drive-thru and found no opportunity. It was kind of a relief. I gave that homeless guy ten dollars a few weeks ago; maybe I suddenly believe in karma. By that math I still have at least one more coffee coming to me, and I’m off the hook for a little while.

I usually donate my dollar or change to any cause that a cashier offers to me while paying for my fast food or Walgreen’s items. Scratch that. I will ALWAYS do it if they ask me about it, and NEVER if they don’t. So basically my giving nature comes down to how it makes me feel socially. Saying “no” and asking for permission to donate feel equally awkward.

If I see the area decorated with people’s names who have donated I will usually say “no” whether the cashier asks or not. I don’t want to take time to write my name on a paper advertising my small generosity. On the rare occasion I am tricked into it, I always write Teghan’s name. Then I think, “Great. Someone is going to see this and know I ate at Arby’s today.” This is the kind of irrational thought I’m trying to keep to a minimum.

That donation thing they put under drive-thru windows where you can just toss your change in? Genius. And here’s a sales tip for all you upsellers out there: If what you are selling is the laziest possible option….I’m in. For example, if not purchasing something requires me to sign a paper opting out, you just made a sale.

I’m not proud of that. Continue reading

Choosing A Way Forward

Pancakes

I don’t know why I felt so much older than her. Only a few months earlier I had been right where she was- a high school kid with my whole future ahead of me. Only my daily routine had changed. What gave me the right to be the grown up in this situation? But there I was sitting with a stranger and her friend in an empty classroom at the end of a very long day. She was telling me that her uncle molests her and no one knows about it.

I asked for it. In a desire to escape my world of rules, I ran off and joined the circus. Not really; but in some ways, it was exactly that. My first experience away from home was a ten month tour across the country with a group of strangers. It still stands as the most bizarre year of my life. One of my tricks was occasional speaking in front of junior high and high school students.

I gave the speech that made everyone uncomfortable, and I didn’t mind. But it meant opening myself up to moments like this one. She was a high school student in a rural Northern Michigan town I had never been to before. What did I know? I had no experience with anyone who had been molested by an adult or a family member. In spite of my confidence in publicly speaking about uncomfortable topics, I had no experience at all with one on one conversation like this.

Her friend had approached me after the show and asked if I would talk with them. I wonder what they expected to happen. There wasn’t much I could offer in counseling that her friend hadn’t already provided. I suppose somewhere in the back of her mind she knew- this was it. I would have to report it (which is true). It was just a matter of what adult she would tell and when. And somehow, that adult turned out to be me. Continue reading