Here’s my submission to Kleroteria:
Have you ever just...not told anyone something? Not purposefully keeping a secret, but incidentally? I’m sure we all have.
I don’t mean the massive kind of thing that your mind jumps to when someone requests that you “tell me something no one else knows;” I mean something that doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.
When I was ten or so, I almost drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. The current caught me and the waves crashed me around and around until I knew I was going to die. I didn’t, as you may have guessed, but I also didn’t tell anyone when I survived. It was summer, and my sister and I were with our father and stepmother, on our annual summer road trip to see his side of the family. It was some New England beach that I don’t remember aside from the heaviness of the water and the sharpness of the tiny grains of sand.
I kept the story to myself for over twenty years before telling my brother.
The needless secrecy of it has stayed with me ever since, though. Why didn’t I say anything at the time? I’d come to the conclusion that I was embarrassed at letting nature get the best of me, but now I’m not so sure. I think I just didn’t want to worry my father. I didn’t want to risk losing these few and far-between opportunities for, well, risk.
I was not an adventurous child. I was painfully shy, and I mean *painfully* shy. My mother broke her ankle once, and I was too shy to fetch the neighbor for help, but in those brief summer visits with my father, it was different. I was different. I learned to ride a bicycle, complete with falling and skinned knees and bloody scrapes. I made friends quickly and effortlessly, friends that I still have to this very day. I built odd things in my father’s workshops, and I drank gallons of water from pointed paper cups when I would go with him to the oil rigs where he did mystical electrician things.
And I swam in the ocean without fear.
I wanted to write to you about pain and fear and cancer because that is my life now, but when I finally opened this window and started typing, those things fell away and I remembered the weight of the water and my struggle for light and breath.
Tell me, what is a secret that you’ve never shared with anyone? How long have you been holding it tight to yourself? Do you want to let it go, or is it more comfortable to keep it? Let me know.
Have you ever bought a lovely handmade spearmint bar of soap only to be driven to tears by the strength of the odor when you get it in your shower stall?
Have you ever juiced a carrot?
Have you ever wondered what happened to the giant tiles in office buildings when you see one is cracked?
Have you ever spent an hour trying to train your muscles to move your toes individually?
Have you ever jumped into a public fountain?
Y’all. I worked 3.75 hours today (my second favorite shift after 3.25 hours) and I dealt with all these people.
- The girl who looked in the case of keychains, money clips, and card cases and then turned to ask me if we sell any rings we can engrave on. We do not, because we can’t engrave on rings. She asked me why not. This is the response I get every. Single. Time. So I told her the same answer I always give: because the engraver is not equipped for it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. It irritates me to no end when people argue with me when I tell them what we can and cannot engrave. Your ring? Nope. Your $600 watch? Nope. Your $20 watch that you won’t open up the band or remove the back? Nope. Your giant plastic souvenir wrestling champion belt? Nope. And yes, I’ve been asked that.
- The lady who wanted a contact number for the hair straightener kiosk next door. I do not have one, nor would I give it out to a random shopper even if I did. You’re the one who spent way too much money on a no-name hair straightener from some good-looking smooth-talker at a mall kiosk, you figure it out. She got pretty upset that I didn’t have a phone number. Bet she didn’t even save her receipt.
- The old lady who called to ask how long it would take to get something engraved. People, unless you are walking towards me while you’re on the phone, I could have a fifty-piece order between now and the time you decide to show up. All I can give you on the phone is a rough estimate, which is, it depends what you get and what you want engraved on it, but usually same day. So she asked if I came right now, how long would it take? There’s about a two hour difference between one word on a plate and four different monograms on a set of red wine glasses. I told her an hour, and she said she would be there in a few minutes. When I left two hours later, she hadn’t shown up yet.
- The guy who keeps calling for my super-part-time coworker. I’ve talked to him four times this week. But at least today he identified himself and didn’t badger me with questions about when she’ll be in, which I won’t answer.
- The man looking for a flask. He may have a memory problem. He’s stopped three times in the past two months while I’ve been at work to look at flasks. He’s always forgotten his glasses, and asks if the same one is stainless steel and how many ounces it holds. Yes it’s stainless steel, but I have to look up the volume. He always argues that it should be stamped on the bottom. It’s not, on the one that he likes. He always gets excited about the price of the flask but leaves without a word when I tell him the price for engraving.
- The woman whose husband told her there was a Scentsy store in the mall. Now, I’m pretty sure we had a kiosk last Christmas, but other than that, no. But I don’t know. So I told her I don’t know. I don’t know why she got mad at me because I don’t know. So that’s now two things I don’t know, withing two minutes.
- The woman who asked me why this mall doesn’t have an Abercrombie. Now, nearly all of you have never met me, but if you’ve seen my Instagram feed on the right there, you could probably guess that I do not frequent Abercrombie. Possibly because it’s not my style, but mostly because their clothes would not fit me. Also, I work in a kiosk. I do not have a backdoor on the ins and outs of mall management’s tenant plan.
New assistant manager starts next week, fingers crossed.
Dogsbody peered from behind the corner of the brick building. The coast was clear, so he exited the alley and made his way south on Fourteenth Street.Every now and then someone passed him walking in the opposite direction, but he covered the scars around his mouth well enough with his coat collar that they didn’t notice.
It was forty minutes before he arrived at his destination: a brick building disappearing into the sky above his head. A building that appeared identical to the one which he had spent the past six nights sleeping behind. While the two were built from the same blueprints, the differences were made clear by the contents within. Dogsbody pushed the revolving glass door open and entered the main lobby, cringing in apprehension.
He worried for nothing, however. The receptionist gave him a warm smile as he stepped onto the carpet in front of her desk.
“Who are you looking for, sir?” she asked without the slightest tinge of disdain for the poor sot slouching in front of her as he tried to hide his face with his dirty coat collar.
“Mr. Walker,” Dogsbody answered, speaking directly into his collar.
The receptionist was well-versed enough in her duties and practiced enough in providing them to unusual clientele that she easily understood what Dogsbody said and directed him to the seventeenth floor. Her eyes followed him shamble toward the elevator bank before she reluctantly returned to the phone ringing to her left.
Dogsbody pressed the up button to call the elevator, and noticing the smudge his finger had left upon it, rummaged through his coat pockets for a clean bit of fabric. Finding none, he swiped at the button with the side of his fist, enlarging the smear. He quickly glanced around to make sure no one had seen him. The receptionist was the only other person in the lobby, and she was busily answering her phone, so he relaxed a bit, looking down at the tips of his worn leather shoes.
The dinging of the elevator’s arrival called him back to the here and now, and he took a step backwards in case any bigwigs were exiting the elevator, but the doors opened on no one. He stepped in, turned to face front, and pushed the button for seventeen, this time without leaving any residue behind. His hand crept back up to his collar, tugging it over the scars out of habit, even though the elevator walls were a matte finish, and he couldn’t see himself in them.
No one else called an elevator between the lobby and seventeen, so the ride only lasted a few seconds. Dogsbody’s stomach grumbled angrily as the doors opened on seventeen. He winced in pain and embarrassment, but again, not a soul witnessed his predicament.
He was standing in the middle of a great hall, but only a single door led from the hall to anywhere else. A discreet sign placed on the wall at eye level read simply Mr Walker. Dogsbody shifted his weight from foot to foot as he stood in front of the door, unsure of whether to knock or simply walk in. He ultimately chose the former, and his knuckles landed on the wood with the mildest of raps, the sound absorbed by the thick, solid wooden door.
It was enough. The door eased open as if of its own volition, and Dogsbody entered. He half-expected another receptionist, perhaps the twin to the one who had greeted him so warmly downstairs, but that was not the case. The entire floor was one large open space, with a modest desk placed not far from the door, a single chair waiting in front of his for a single guest to be seated.
“Have a seat, Dogsbody. I’m going to make you an offer,” Mr. Walker gestured at the empty chair with his open hand.
Without a word, Dogsbody approached and took a seat in the chair. He listened ever so carefully to what Mr. Walker told him over the next six and a half minutes, and when Mr. Walker was done speaking and staring expectantly, one eyebrow raised, Dogsbody nodded once, slowly.
“Yes, sir. I’ll do it. I’d do anything to be a person again,” he said.
Mr. Walker clapped his hands together and interlaced his fingers. “Very good, Dogsbody. I’ll see you again when the job is done.”
Dogsbody knew his time was up. He stood without another word and brushed the dandruff of the back of the chair as he left. He planned to finish this job for Mr. Walker or die trying. He was so tired of trying to make his life worth living when it never was.
The current rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:
- Thank your nominator.
- Share the award on your blog.
- Answer 10 questions asked to you.
- Ask 10 questions to 10 new nominees (who have less than 300 followers).
- Notify them via social media.
- How did you get into blogging? I have just the post for that: A Time Warp Tuesday post about Blog Beginnings. It’s an entire post (with a link to another), so it’s not a quick, succinct little answer to the first question here, but I do recommend you go read it–It’s one of my early posts here that I still see myself in when I read it. TLDR: people were mean so I took my words and made my own blog.
- What 3 words would you use to describe your personality? Oh, the dreaded “three words!” Okay. Deep breath. Here goes. Joyful. Present. Amused. I cannot think of any other point in my life when I would have chosen those three words: even, any of those three words. I’m doing well lately.
- What is the nicest thing that you have done for a stranger? I do nice things for people. I’m not sure what the absolute nicest would be. I’ve bought homeless people meals. That’s pretty nice. I’ve given rides; I’ve given hugs; I’ve listened. Who’s to say which is the nicest? It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
- What was one of the hardest lessons you had to learn so far? Life’s not fair.
- What is one thing you hope to achieve in 2016? Let’s publish some writing for pay!
- If you could have any two people (living or deceased) over for drinks, who would it be and why? That’s easy: my grandfathers. My husband never met them; my mother’s father died before I’d even met Ian, and my father’s father lived far away. They had a lot in common with each other:they were both rocket scientists (which tickles me pink), I was their first granddaughter, they were both alcoholics (hence having them over for drinks). And I miss them. I miss them a lot.
- What is your favorite comfort food? This is bad. I know it’s bad. Please don’t lecture me on how disgusting it is. I just can’t help myself. My favorite comfort food is Wendy’s chili.
- What is your motto in life? It always gets better eventually. Sometimes it will get worse first, but it will get better.
- Name 5 places that you want to go. Kenya, England, Singapore, Mongolia, Australia.
- What is the legacy you want to leave behind for others after you die? My words. I want people to read what I’ve written and be happy and nice to each other.
You know, I briefly considered letting the award die, but then that just seemed cruel and unusual. So now I’m stuck coming up with questions.
But I wasn’t going to nominate anyone, so I’ll just leave Kris’s questions up for any takers!
I know, that’s cheating. #sorrynotsorry
- How did you get into blogging?
- What 3 words would you use to describe your personality?
- What is the nicest thing that you have done for a stranger?
- What was one of the hardest lessons you had to learn so far?
- What is one thing you hope to achieve in 2016?
- If you could have any two people (living or deceased) over for drinks, who would it be and why?
- What is your favorite comfort food?
- What is your motto in life?
- Name 5 places that you want to go.
- What is the legacy you want to leave behind for others after you die?
Answer one; answer them all!
Answer them here; answer them there!
Answer the questions anywhere!
What is your Myers Briggs personality type?
As I haven’t taken a Myers Briggs quiz in a while, I did. And I got INFP: The Mediator.
INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.
What is your zodiac sign?
I’m a pretty fair Taurus.
What does your name mean?
As a matter of fact, I just happen to have a handy dandy work tool to help me out with that.
I got Hufflepuff here.
But my results are pretty close to each other:
Hufflepuff – 12
Gryffindor – 11
Ravenclaw – 10
Slytherin – 10
What are your learning styles?
I took the quiz, and got some pretty clear results.
This quiz says I’m 75% right brained.
What is your blood type?
I’m A+, and I’m sure I can still readily draw a unit from anyone eligible. But this is what it’s supposed to mean:
• Presence of mind, serious, patient, calm & cool;
• Coherent character, can be relied on & trusted, but stubborn;
• Plan everything out beforehand, and carry out tasks with seriousness and consistency;
• Try to be fair and find the ideal outcome to any situation;
• Tend to keep themselves separate from others, especially those who don’t share their opinions;
• Tend to try and keep their emotions and thoughts hidden from others, and share them only when comfortable.
What career are you meant to be in?
Which Divergent faction do you belong in?
The quiz says: Dauntless.
What is your birth order?
I’m the oldest of four. Megan, as the oldest also, offers these traits as commonly found among oldest:
- People pleasers
- Natural leaders
- High achievers
- May be bossy or a know-it-all
- Are often very organized and prompt
- May be overachievers
- They may behave in a very authoritarian manner, especially towards younger siblings
- May seek attention – in both positive and negative ways
- Often controlling
- May become compliant and nurturing
But since most of that is more my younger sister than me, I’ll take the quiz. Which says I’m a natural leader even though I answered that I wouldn’t volunteer and I would just get the damn coffee. Whatevs. I’m a complaint people pleaser, at least.
Phew! That’s a lot of linking and copy/pasting on my phone at work. And I know the images aren’t going to look right, but I may fix them when I get home. Feel free to answer yourself!