Monday, August 20, 2001

nice gestures warm my heart

I came into work this morning to a nice surprise. One of my co-workers, Steve, came into my office on Friday and plunked himself down. He left he asked me what my favorite colors were. I told him maroon, navy and forest green. He smiled, said 'Hey, Me too!' and left. I thought nothing of it. This morning, he comes in with a big assed bag of M&Ms for me, in those colors.

He'd gone to Atlanta over the weekend, and there's a candy store there called Fuzziwig's. They have all the colors of M&Ms in the world. So mine were maroon, navy and forest green.

Damn, that is the nicest friggin thing anyone has done for me in weeks. I mean, we talk about candy a lot, and they sell bags of M&Ms in our cafeteria, big bags that they put together themselves and sell for a buck. So Steve's always in my office sniffin' for a dose. So I thought it was beyond kind, beyond sweet that he would take the time to buy me a bag of candy IN my colors. That's one class act.

So that was a good way to start the morning. Candy. Tons of it. He was all apologetic about the condition of the candy. It got kinda hot on the way home and they got a little smooshy and slimy in the bag. I was all like "Dude, shut up. This is awesome! Tastes just fine and they rule! YOU rule..." Nothing nicer.

I think this is some sort of instant karma, but a couple days late. We spent the weekend up at our friends' house in Maine. They had a wedding to go to, so rather than cancel the weekend of hanging out, we offered to watch the kids. They have 3. We have 2. The kids always get along like a house on fire, so it was no problem or issue. They went to their wedding, we played with kids, even took naps. It was great. So by doing something super kind over the weekend, someone was kind to me. It's all so cosmic baby... sort of like that "Pay it Forward" movie, but with candy. And better acting.

A week or so ago someone I went to high school with contacted me through Her name is Barbara. She and I were never really close... but I was friends with someone that she was very close to, and we were in marching band together, and so we just kind of overlapped sometimes.

I remember she had a mouth like a trucker, and was funny as hell, cute as could be, and usually was friendly to me. I'm not sure why we never got to be better friends. Her family hosted a Danish exchange student that I had a huge crush on. I should have leveraged our friendship to get closer to him. I think he really liked me too (pinning me against a wall and kissing me outside my typing classroom right before he left to go home says a little something about that). Hmm.

Anyway, we've been reminiscing a bit about high school, and I confessed to her that I really had like no friends (this ties in with a lot of what I've been posting lately about memories and stuff...) and I think that I wasn't well liked because either you got me or you didn't get me.

I made it difficult for people to like me because I was a kind of aloof and weird, into Monty Python and strange (for the time) music, and I was just reclusive and unwilling to participate in group situations. One on one I did great and people who took the time to get to know me really liked me and I liked them and we had super friendships.

I think I spent a solid 5 years of my life from jr. high to high school locked in my room listening to music and reading. By the time I got to senior year I think I figured a few things out:

1. I was trying to be friends with all the wrong people, and was trying too hard. Because I was very close with one person in a clique of friends, I figured all her new friends would like me. They didn't really. I wasted a lot of time trying to ride the coat tails of two friends in particular. That was a big mistake.

2. I should have spent more time building the friendships that I had with the "nerdier", for lack of a better term, guys... Dan M, Marc W, the Englehardt twins, Evan C. The time I spent with them was the funnest time ever and I don' think I laughed harder than at fifth period lunch with them during my senior year. But because I wanted to be friends with the rock stars, I only spent time with the aforementioned guys at lunch. Big mistake. They seemed to like spending time with me... or such is my perception, and I miss Marc a lot sometimes. When I hear certain songs, or see something that we both found horribly amusing I can't help but think of him.

3. I should have actually auditioned for plays instead of being chickenshit. It wasn't until college that I got the fear factor done with and got over my shyness. But I think I would have found my niche then. But then again, I'd probably be an unemployed lighting technician in Manhattan if I'd gone that route. And I never would have met Doug, had the kids, and wouldn't be here today. Happy as I am.

4. Totally should have grabbed that Danish kid.

I am glad things worked out the way they did though, and I'm glad I am where I am. I just wish I'd known a little better back in the day.

Anyway, here in reality, rather than the past, I have good relationships with coworkers who think I am funny, talented, bright, energetic and helpful. All the things I knew I was when I was in high school, but was afraid at the time to share with groups.

So here's to me. Superwoman, as my friend Cristen called me in the caption for this picture on our employee portal. I'm the "Superwoman of HRIS..." Too bad it looks like Superman is flying up my nostrils.

My mom emailed me today to let me know that a friend of mine's dad passed away on Saturday. I looked it up in the online edition and sure enough Richard Norkatis was listed in the Obituaries. Donna, his daughter, was a year ahead of me in school and was one of the people who "got" me. Her parents were always so very kind to me, and there were many occasions in high school where I felt welcomed into their home. Every year they had a big Christmas party, and her mom would make chicken divan and I would eat like all of it... it was so awesome. And they would sing, play music, entertain us, let us sit by the fire and drink wine, and the house would be hopping. One of my favorite pictures ever of my sister and me was taken in front of their Christmas Tree the year I was a freshman in college.

I'm awfully sad to hear of Mr. Norkatis' passing, and am going to try and contact Donna. In this past week of looking back on high school and growing up, I realized I never really thanked them from the bottom of my heart for being so darn kind to their kids' friends. They didn't have to be. But they were. And it was so fun being around them. I guess we are starting to come to that age where we're going to start losing our parents. This has come up before for me in the past several weeks, especially with Bonnie's dad Walt having a couple close calls with heart failure. And I accept changes and death the way I accept new babies showing up in our lives. It's all a part of it. And I think there is a long list of people I'd like to say thank you to. So I'm going to work on that list tomorrow.... and post it here.

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