the story continues

*this post is a continuation of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few…*

I now had a job offer on the table. For a guy on disability, bored out of my frickin’ mind, and in need of money, this was both a Godsend and what I then deemed a pattern. After the remarkable and unlikely series of events that got me a new kidney and consequent new chance at having an actual life, I began to believe that shit was falling in my lap for once and not on my head. I really believed that the Universe was giving me back some of the good energy that I had always tried to put out. Karma may be a bitch but it’s my bitch. Things were going my way.

The deal was that I would be available, on retainer if you will, to help Vince get the project off the ground. He needed help setting up the kitchen, a menu, purchasing supplies etc. I was very up-front in managing his expectations. While I was a qualified Kitchen manager, it was many years ago (20 plus) and I didn’t want that much responsibility at this point. I wasn’t even sure at that point that my health would allow such work.

At first, the work was slow. It wasn’t supposed to be full-time or even regular. Vince is a part-time resident in town, he is a CT resident and owns a huge plumbing company that required a lot of attention back home. We talked on the phone a lot. I made myself available only to not hear from him for days. I asked him what his expectations were. Without being snarky, was I supposed to be available for free? He responded by offering me a weekly cash retainer for my trouble. I was giving up a lot already, most notably I passed on a chance to go to FL with mom to stay at her brand new Condo. It was something, but until the work got regular it still wasn’t ideal and my promise to be available was biting me in the ass a bit. The opening was still many months away and I was lacking a purpose. Most of what he was giving me was manual labor, cleaning and clearing out things while the store was under construction. I did it, against my better judgment and my Dr.’s advice. I was playing with fire, considering I was still in a lot of pain.

talking to strangers

Sometimes I talk to people at random. Often they either ignore me or I may occasionally get a weak response. It’s just how I am. Last night I was in the market and there was a young man shopping with his small son. The boy was having a blast. The father, to his credit, was being very patient. As I was grabbing an item near them I remarked “this is the good stuff right here”. He asked me what I meant. I told him that this moment in time will be a great memory someday. I said to him that food shopping with my young kids was one of my favorite memories. He said, “Sometimes I wish it would go faster.”

I shook my head and politely said “Don’t wish for that, trust me.”

At that point, I knew I was verging on being the annoying old guy offering unsolicited advice. We all hate that guy, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Instead of dismissing me he stuck his hand out and thanked me for what I offered. He said, “I needed that.

It wasn’t an opinion, not a criticism, just a perspective.

I will continue to talk to strangers because I’ve always believed that sometimes we offer people exactly what they need at that moment.