While I’ve been focusing lately on positivity – not just the passive kind, but the kicking-my-own-butt to get there kind, I’d had a rough 24-hour patch, and was feeling a bit self loathing when I arrived to Townhouse to celebrate one of our chef’s sendoffs, as he is about to move on up in the world.
I tend to get agoraphobic, so even though I spent roughly 90 percent of my summer there last year for work and play, it was a little nerve-wracking to go there last night, after weeks of play-absence and less than a handful of shifts, as I’m now working near-full time for my parents.
Those nerves were pretty instantly calmed, as I got to see so many people that I hadn’t in weeks or months, but have loved all the while. I was already having an amazing time. Not tying one on, just sticking with our seasonal microbrew, as I sat on the patio with the same old gang, minus one special member, plus a few new faces.
One drunken dude stumbled out and sat at our table, and I just figured he was friends with someone there. Until he first asked another couple if he could hang out with them, because “these people (at our table) suck.” Then he eloquently told one of my favorite friends to “eat a dick,” which is something you really don’t say to a derby girl who is also sitting at a table with two Marines.
He was swiftly cut off, because you also don’t say things like that to a former employee of bosses who simply don’t tolerate nonsense like that. Despite the political minefield of dealing with drunk people, I’ve never felt unsafe when I work at Townhouse, because the bosses ALWAYS put their employees’ and friends’ dignity first.
Once he’d left, after an aggressive apology to us but before he threw his plastic cup at our bushes, the woman from the couple he’d asked to hang with due to our collective suckage, came over and was all, “I love welcoming people, but he was cuckoo.”
Then she proceeded to bust out her bracelets she had for sale, and I realized she was the woman from whom I’d bought my awesome frog bracelet last year on the same patio. So I was down to buy another bracelet, as they are only five dollars, and super beautiful. I only had four dollars in cash. Despite for a change having some money in my bank account (thank you, tax return!), my aforementioned stress had been aided by not being able to find my debit card.
I asked my friend Anne to borrow a dollar to get the bracelet, and she gave it to me. Yeah, it’s “only” a dollar, but Anne is also one of the most generous people I know, and I’m sure she would have given me a 20 if she had it, and I’d asked.
So I paid for my bracelet – a beautiful, quirky little number featuring different glass beads of many colors.
Then the lady – a very pretty lady who was older than me but untouched by age, with soft blonde curls and a badass leather jacket, pulled out her purse selection that she also has for sale.
As she was pulling them out, I apologized for not having any more money, nor the possibility of obtaining any more to buy a purse. I’m really not a purse girl anyway, but was enamored with a silver one she showed us. I mentioned that I was going to be attending an ex-boyfriend’s wedding; he’d just asked me for my address that day. It’s not like a “Mindy Project” situation; he’s been a friend way longer than he’s been an ex – you know? I’ll be attending with the love of my life, and in no way feel competitive with the bride, a la sitcoms. I was just excited not just for his happiness, but for an excuse to wear a fancy dress – an occasion that comes along only once in awhile, and I have a silver Betsey Johnson dress in my closet that I’ve never worn, despite all my mental plans when I purchased it on drastic discount from an outlet years ago.
One of the purses that this lady showed us was simple and silver, and I was all, “OMG this would go perfectly with this one dress I’ve never worn!” I’ve always had visions of wearing this cute dress, paired with silver shoes and a silver purse. Which is really so not “me,” but if the dress fits…it doesn’t; I will need to get the top tailored, no matter how much weight I lose. Still.
This lady got all thoughtful-like, and then told me to put out my arm. I obeyed, and she put the silver purse on my arm, then told me it was mine, and to have a great time at the wedding.
Of course, I exclaimed protestations – I had no more cash! But the lady then went, “I believe in karma. I REALLY believe in karma. And I always know that I’ll give away about a third of my stuff, to people that I believe deserve it. And I like to pass it on with the acknowledgment of karma.”
As if this wasn’t enough to make me cry, my two best friends from Townhouse, Stephanie and Anne, started telling the woman, that no one deserved the karma gift more than “Judi,” as according to them, I’m an amazing person with the best heart.
That is when I broke down – not in physical tears, but mental ones. Because that is not how I think of myself. I tend to feel like anyone and everyone in any given room on any day, hates me at worst, or at best, would rather be in different company. Yes of course I realize that’s not a healthy attitude, and it’s one that I’ve been working to fight. But it’s real.
The woman selling the jewelry and giving me the purse was named Angela – “Like an angel,” I told her, and then she said “Judy, Judy, Judy” – because what is bonding without name clichés?
She reminded me about the karma deal; I told her I’d buy her next glass of wine, since I didn’t have cash but I did have a credit card, and instant karma is important too.
Then, Steph and Anne kept reiterating what they said. Steph said that she loved how I loved her daughter, and quoted something I’d forgotten saying but was true: that her baby was my favorite ever, save for my baby brother. And Anne kept chiming in with kind things about me.
I’m hardpressed to recall a time wherein I felt so humbled, and so grateful. Grateful to Angela not just for the purse, but for her clear-eyed, stalwart stance on karma. That she is a woman who does not see age as a reason to stop being beautiful in every way.
And most of all, I felt grateful, because last night was the night I realized that I have true friends out here. I loved Steph and Anne already, but hearing that they felt that way about me? It definitely puts a sledgehammer to my self loathing and overall alienation. There will always be the remnants after sledgehammers, but after countless months of feeling alone save for Josh, to quote “Degrassi,” “Isn’t it better when it’s not just you and me against the world?”
I spent 90% of last summer at Townhouse, having a great deal of fun, but always wondering if there was more after the Fireball shots. Last night I realized that the answer was a huge, clanging bell of a “Yes.”
Thank you to Angela, Steph, Anne, and everyone else who came out last night. We’re not just drinking buddies; we are friends.
And I think that now I really believe in the idea of karma, which is all I’ve been crying out to God for – a sign, some hope.
So thank you to the universe at large. I guess, now it’s time for re-payment :)