Posted in Memoir, Poetry, quotes, Soul Journal

Careers, naivete and growing up

I cannot pinpoint what brought up a past memory this morning but it is there all the same. When a memory is wedged between all the other thoughts, my only recourse is to write about it and so the story goes:

Out of high school, instead of my parents sending me to college, I took a job as a criminal law secretary, then as a bookkeeper in a marketing firm for McDonald’s and then ended up as a do-it-all in a rental department, with a prominent builder in Wisconsin. I owned a car, drove to work Monday through Friday and I was a mere 20 years old. I rented apartments, did the bookkeeping, had to evict a tenant (luckily they were not home) and inspected move-ins and move-outs. I was not fairly compensated, making $5.25 an hour, minimum wage at the time. Inwardly, I felt I was being cheated, but never made a fuss. Today, I have to admit I was a great employee and they certainly took advantage of me.

One particular man stands out from all the other tenants. The image of chicken bones strewn throughout his apartment is one to never forget. He was blind and had no idea of the mess he had made and certainly unaware of the cockroaches he had attracted. They do say oblivion is next to happiness. For me, the sight was more than I could understand. It was absolutely astonishing. One that he had no one to help him and two, to not feel the suffocating mess he existed within. What became of his story is a guess, but I do hope  he is happy somewhere.

I find this quote haunting. I wonder if this is what the blind man felt.

Had he lost hope,
free in a world of walls?
Had he suffocated
from his blindness?
I will never completely understand.
I see vistas and curtained windows,
opened doors and shuttered hearts.

Then there was the family who lived a completely opposite lifestyle. The wife suffered from OCD, and whenever I scheduled to show their home, she would lay out plastic everywhere so as not to contaminate her possessions. She washed her hands over and over, so the gossip in the office went. I would have wanted to let her be but there was no other town house to show at the time. I can feel for her today as I see more people like this in my field of counseling, as I further my studying. It truly was and is a terrible suffering.

I am unsure which scenario saddens me more. An existence where you cannot be satisfied, always worrying, or not caring about anything at all. I think we need to find a balance between the two. All of life is a balance. Is it not?