Walking the Walk on the Balance Beam

November 30th, 2015 by elaine

Recently I called a company in Toronto whose beautiful huge catalogue of office stuff came in the mail.  We had been searching for a mailer we could use to mail George’s beautiful new book MOMENTO safely from here to wherever, and we thought we spotted one that would work.

After just a couple of rings I heard a voice announce the name of the company and then ask, “How can we help you?”  It sounded like a person.  I was literally struck dumb.  I couldn’t speak.  I hadn’t pressed “1″ or anything.  I had been given zero options.  Was this a trick?  After a pause, I did respond, trying to sound natural.

It was indeed a person, and we had a lovely chat.  I was well informed on my side as to our requirements and she was well informed on hers regarding the possibilities.  She suggested a mailer one step larger than the one I had selected, and she offered to send me a sample.  THAT was amazing.  I would never have asked.  George said, too, though it had occurred to him to ask, he wouldn’t have either.  The person said we would get it the next day by UPS, and we did.

This is not a little mom and pop company.  This company has been in business a long time.  This encounter was as pleasant and efficient as it was unexpected, and that, my friends, is why I am sharing it with you.  I am so tired of being the bearer of bad tidings, the crabby voice in the urban wilderness moaning woe-is-me the planet is being destroyed and, worse, the culture is doomed.

Last week I wrote “I’m Acquitted!”  http://www.elainezimbel.com/I’m Acquitted! about my very successful day in court. I mentioned that I felt so great afterwards I walked all the way home; I didn’t mention that it was up hill all the way nor that I scarcely noticed, wasn’t huffing and puffing and had no heart palpitations. I felt terrific, and the good feelings lasted all day and into the night.  And the next day, even while I was getting beautiful emails about the piece, the feeling was starting to fade – I don’t know why.  What bit of horrible news brought me down, I can’t remember.  It doesn’t really matter.  It wasn’t personal.  It wasn’t “close”, and yet, whatever it was, it was of the world I live in….and that’s close enough.

Have you ever wondered how come one bad thing can obliterate a bunch of good things?  I don’t mean a major catastrophe, I mean, say you get five A’s and one B minus; or you get great compliments on your new coat and one person says that colour is not right for you, or you get a glowing evaluation at work from a panel of experts, except one who is mildly critical.  I guess it’s human nature, but we don’t have to let it rule.

I’m wobbling, trying to be optimistic, looking at the bright side, and looking the other way as well, being pessimistic.  It’s hard to keep a balance. I’m thinking about a book I read when I was a child, about that girl, Pollyanna.  As long ago as it was, I remember feeling it was not for me, sort of ashamed of myself perhaps, but still, something was ingenuous.  (I didn’t know that word at the time but I knew the feeling, that she was innocent and unsuspecting, naive and unwary.)

Pollyanna was a poor orphan whose father had invented the “Glad Game”; it originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping to find a doll in the missionary barrel found only a pair of  crutches. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna’s father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because “we didn’t need to use them!”*

I wasn’t an orphan and I didn’t know we were “poor”, but I knew I was incapable of turning crutches we didn’t need to use into gladness, doll or no doll.  Perhaps this is a statement of my character, perhaps it is the very reason I became a psychotherapist.  I just knew there is bad in the world and it can not, must not be denied.

When I was a child and was first introduced to a balance beam in gym class, I thought it was impossible to walk on it, certainly not the whole way – it was so long!  It doesn’t come naturally, it takes practice.  And even I, who was known to stumble over the lines in the sidewalk, eventually managed to do it like every ordinary child.  It’s all about balance.

The book mailer from Toronto did not work for us, but I found a solution right here in town.  Some day I will order something from that company.  And meanwhile I will keep in mind the reality – the human factor is sometimes beautiful, sometimes not. The Media, I think, is suffering from that human thing that exploits the bad things; the good things, obviously, being yearned for and also expected, being ordinary and also quietly extraordinary, are too quiet, too much a part of every day life.  And that’s a good thing!

©Elaine A. Zimbel 2015

*From Pollyanna, Plot Summary, in Wikipedia.org

Posted in Cabinet Privé, Eighty and then some..., Letters to the corporation, Uncategorized, Your character is your fate


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