Today was my first day in the office this week. I returned from my conference late yesterday afternoon. I’m a little worse for the wear. It wasn’t a great trip or a great conference. My head and my heart were not into it. My health didn’t help at all. I’m still recovering from this nasty illness, and it wasn’t until the final day of the conference that I even felt a little bit human. I should have stayed home, but I couldn’t. Or I should say, I wouldn’t allow myself to stay home. I had already paid the registration fee. I had SAID that I would be there, so I went. Stupid.
While it’s good to be home, last night was not relaxing. The house was a mess. I had laundry to do (for six people!) Finally once I was able to relax for a moment, the flash floods began. Our little down was practically under water for a couple of hours. All the roads in and out-of-town were closed. T, the girls, and I hopped in The Trooper and drove all over town exclaiming at all of the water. It lifted my heart. It made me remember why I love this little, goofy town. There were about 200 pickup trucks and SUV’s driving around to see , all the excitement. It was a great deal of fun, and we were all soaking wet by the time we got back home.
Unfortunately, the lighthearted moment didn’t last long. We soon discovered that our basement was flooding…and fast. We swept and pushed the water toward the floor drain, but it was coming in much faster than it was going down the drain. Luckily, we were somewhat prepared. Twenty years of living in this house has taught us to keep things up on shelves and off of the floor. The house is over a hundred years old, and while we use the basement for laundry and storage, there really isn’t anything that can be damaged by a little water. We were just careful to make sure that the drain didn’t clog, or heave forbid, back up.
It feels like I jump from one IMPORTANT thing to the next IMPORTANT thing. The only thing that doesn’t seem to be important in my life is downtime and relaxation. I’m not sure how to change that. I’m not even sure that it is possible at this point in my life.
I wasn’t dreading my return to the office, but experience has taught me that chaos usually awaits me when I return from a trip. Well, I wasn’t let down. Chaos was right there crouched behind my office door. I could sense it the moment I walk in. My plants were all wilted. I had forgotten to water them before I left town….too sick to care at that time. My coffee cup was dirty. Yuck, cold coffee from six days ago with a nice, little gnat floating on top. Not the greatest welcome back.
I took care of the mess in my office and sat down to begin trudging through my emails. Just I began, my phone rang. It was the City Administrator’s secretary telling me he would like to see me in his office. ***OMG**** WHY??? Yeah, I was a little freaked out.
Thankfully, the City Administrator and I have a very good working relationship. He and I have faced some sticky situations in the past, and he was always been a great ally. As I walked upstairs, I wondered what I had waiting for me. Ah….it was the same old issue in one of its many forms. The Good Ol’ Boys Club had gotten their feathers ruffled. Seems that I don’t follow the unwritten rules of this tight-knit city. I don’t give a shit what the GOB Club thinks about me or my organization. It’s not my job to kowtow to the elite of the community. I certainly don’t disrespect them, but I also don’t give them undo respect simply because of who they know or who their father (or grandfather) might have been. It is my job to represent the little guy – – the small business owners.
I was asked to join a meeting at 10:00 where the City Administrator would be addressing some of their concerns. Everything went well. The word “Control” was thrown around a lot. Control? I believe that these pillars of the community were feeling their control slip a little bit. Interesting. I said it. “Control? Hmmmm…. That’s something that I hadn’t really thought about. Who controls downtown? Well, I don’t have any interest in controlling a darn thing,” I assured them. “My only interest is creating events and promotions that bring people through the doors of these businesses.”
By the time the meeting was over, we were all smiling and spewing (false) niceties. I was asked to sit on one of their planning committees. Yes, we should all be working toward a common goal. Yes, we should all work together.
And it gets even better, my friends. A letter of complaint ABOUT ME had been circulated to City Administration. Yep, that’s one of the beauties of being a public servant. People are so rude and proprietary about our position and our jobs. They “Pay our Checks.” They “Have a Right” to this or to that. You fill in the blank. I have been in jobs in the private sector. I have worked as the director of two different non-profit organizations. Working as a municipal employee is simply the most thankless, humbling, often hateful job. There is not a day that goes by that myself or one of my co-workers is not verbally abused either by telephone, email, written letter, or in person by the general public. Yeah…then there is the press. That’s another story altogether.
Today was MY TURN. I read the letter. It was from a well-known crazy. Everyone shrugged it off. Some even laughed. Had I read that letter, if it had been written about someone else, I would have laughed, too. It was about me, though, and it stung. It HURT like hell. God…why are people so cruel to each other?
I thought about it all day. I consider myself to be insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I can’t imagine that ANYONE would really care enough about ME to even have an opinion. I don’t even really know this woman! I have met her a couple of times. She is on my mass email list. I do many promotional E-blasts, and she receives those. As I said, she is crazy. The letter made little sense. Still, it was mean. I really don’t “get” mean. It hurts me to see people being mean to others. It hurts like heck to be the one singled out.
Tonight I am worn out. I am still not feeling well. Being this sick has freaked me out. I don’t trust my normally healthy body. Lola said to me, “Mom, you always say that you NEVER get sick.” Yeah…that’s what I thought, too. I’m afraid that I am run down. When will I get caught up? What if I get sick again?
I am afraid, dreading, reluctant to go to work tomorrow. What in the heck waits in store for me tomorrow? I don’t even want to think about it….
My poor dear. I don’t understand people who go out of their way to be mean either. And as for taking care of yourself, that’s so important, because you are SO VERY IMPORTANT to me and to so many other people. We’ll work together to figure out a way back to health and bliss.
I used to be close friends with someone who worked in local government. He would say the exact same things that you’re lamenting about in this post. I feel for ya, P. However, you’re doing good and trying to help. Karma will be on your side. Keep your chin up. 🙂
Thanks, guys… The entire thing seems to have blown over. In fact, in the strange political world of City Hall, I may have earned some respect by having to face, and deal with, a negative situation. BLARGH!!! I just want to do my job, and not have to spend hours dealing with nut jobs!
The long weekend was wonderful and calming. I am so happy to be able to drive away from it all at the end of the day. I don’t think I have ever appreciated my goofy little town as much as I have this past year or so. It’s good to be out here in hillbilly land at the end of a long week! 🙂