So, I slept in a little today since work was crazy over the weekend. For some reason lately the day shifts are woefully understaffed, and yesterday, because of a sick call and some kind of schedule mix-up, we had seven nurses. We're supposed to have fifteen--or at least ten would be nice. And of course, sick people were pouring in. So it was a little stressful.
I woke up feeling a little cranky and tired; my muscles felt stiff from running around like a maniac for two days. So I leashed up the dogs and took them out for a walk.
On a park bench near the grassy area where the dogs like to sniff around was this dapper yet peculiar looking young(ish?) male person. I immediately thought, "Oh great, another weirdo, crazy alert, look out."
And then it occurred to me: Why the bad attitude? I live in a city known for its great diversity, where anything can happen and usually does. I have the great fortune to be exposed to a multitude of cultures, cuisines, ethnicities. Why can't I look on the unusual people I meet in my life and work as another example of this great diversity, and smile, and feel fortunate to be able to have all these interesting things in my life? Furthermore, it's a beautiful day, I have two days off ahead of me, the sun is shining, the leaves are unfurling, my dogs are happily sniffing around and doing their doggie things. A gentle breeze is ruffling my hair. I'm healthy, my family is healthy, I have a job that I (mostly) love, I have a place to live, I have friends and people I care about. What's to be cranky about?
As I'm lost in my happy springtime multicultural reverie, deciding to love everyone and be a beacon of love to the world, a nice-looking woman approaches me and says, "Excuse me?"
I turn to her with a smile and say, "Yes?"
She says, "Can I tell you something?" And then proceeds to rattle off a screed about how at the shelter they spray her with some strange chemicals but they don't spray anyone else, and it's because the black people think she's white and the white people think she's black, and how the government is looking for her, and how after we're finished talking if anyone approaches me I should RUN because they will try to get me because I was talking to her, and how she doesn't know what to do, but that she knows that God will help her because he gives her messages through Jesus, His son, and how does she get these messages? Through a seashell she holds up to her ear. And then she asks me, "What should I do?"
"Ma'am, do you feel sick in any way?" I ask.
"No," she says, and smiles.
"Hm," I say. "Then honey, I don't know what to tell you to do."
She says, "Okay," and wishes me a good day, and moves along to the elderly Russian Jewish Orthodox couple walking with their adult son who is developmentally delayed. As I pass them with the dogs, I overhear her telling them they need to get their son a Bible and this will cure him of the devils that are infesting his spirit.