Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Prickly Red Cactus Who Lived In The Cube Farm

A typical day at the cube farm
w/my Foxy Dori and seven-year-old
Franklin Covey.

"I love my job." 

I see those words as I scroll down my Instagram feed and jealousy ravages the inside of my gut like vicious piranha. Shame follows, then admonition for being so lame. Stop it, I tell myself. Be grateful you have this job. 

But it's not the job I love I argued with myself. Buck up and shut up my Self argued back.

Missy Engoy, one of my favorite people to walk this Earth, has a gift with transforming thrift shop containers into loving arrangements with succulents and cacti. At her house one night she held up a reddish prickly cactus between her dainty fingers with pride. 

This reminded me of you, she grinned, it's fierce. You're fierce. I hope you aren't offended. 

I laughed. Heck, I've been called worse. 

When she handed her finished creation to me I squeaked a little, laughed, and blinked away a few tears. For in my hand I held the embodiment of Nannette at the cube farm. Had the cactus and mug not collapsed in the car on my way to work I wouldn't have noticed the sentence on the inside of the mug's rim: It's the work I hate. (Insert my bahahaha here.) 

Every time I looked at the cactus I finally felt understood. I didn't have to fake the funk of being happy and positive in the dreary place that pays my bills. I didn't have to hide the regret for being a wuss and not pursuing the work I loved when I was younger and fearless. (Actually, as a young mom I wasn't altogether fearless so I take that back.)  The red prickly cactus gave me permission to be my prickly self. Silently I'd wield my pen at my computer monitor with a yippee-ki-yay-mother *bleep*-er! 

Until...

A few days after my little red cactus claimed real estate at the cube farm Ray sent me a text about a 56 year old man in Detroit who walked 21 miles to work for the last decade.

*Facepalm*

The article from The Daily News praised Robertson for "...making the 42-mile round-trip trudge through some of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit to his job in Rochester Hills, Mich., since his Honda Accord broke down in 2005." 

And there you have it. I was beaten with the humility stick after reading how Mr. Robertson sleeps for a few hours before he repeats his 42-mile round-trip to work and has never called in sick. He makes $10.55 an hour which isn't enough to save for a car or afford insurance. His co-workers live far from his home so carpool wasn't an option. 

You could read the rest of Robertson's story in the links above but let me juxtapose his plight with mine. Oh wait, I don't have one. I drive a 45 minute commute to work in a car that has a heater and an air conditioner. I make more than twice his hourly wage with an option to take a vacation or call in sick or work from home if I'm sick. I live in Southern California where the weather hardly falls below fifty degrees. 

I don't have to walk in rain, sleet, or snow. I can swing by a Starbucks drive-thru on my way to work to warm up with a coffee and enjoy an oatmeal breakfast. 

I get to work and boo-hoo it as I log in believing my a$$ could do better elsewhere. Yet, I'm surrounded by beautiful and kind-hearted people who alleviate the cube farm doldrums every day. I have a sit-stand desk and a walking station to use in the afternoons. Yeah, tough life, huh? 

If Mr. Robertson heard me complain I'm sure he'd tell me to buck up and shut the hell up. I wouldn't blame him. After a week of watching the media air his story I now gaze at my red cactus with a new perspective. 

Each of Missy's creations are born out of love with a mama's concern for her "babies" to go to a good home. I doubt she meant for this fierce red cactus to stay with a crazy, self-absorbed bitch. 

My prickly red cactus now basks in the glory of hope for the future I'm determined to change. I won't stay at the cube farm forever. I now know what I want to be when I grow up but I'll write about that when I make it happen. And believe you me, I WILL make it happen. 

But for now we can continue to be our best at the cube farm and love our job! 

***********************************************************************************************************

If you're like me and suck at giving gifts let me recommend Missy and her lovely creations. Head over to her Web-site: good morning cactus and tell her I sent you. No, you won't get any discounts for dropping my name but she'll know you're a good character. 

************************************************************************************************************

Update on James Robertson. My heart broke when I read that he had to leave his home because of death threats. You can read that story here