Monday, July 6, 2015

The Ballad of Sandy/ 3 Year (And 1 Month) Anniversary of Guapo Knows All

My, oh my, where have the year gone?  You read the title right.  I've been blogging for over 3 years now and there are no signs of me slowing down now.  And yes, I'm celebrating the anniversary a month late... again.  I forgot.  Sue me.  It was the Finals and I was preoccupied.  Last year I had no excuse.  I deserve a little break this year.  I feel bad for my future kids, though.  I can totally picture me just forgetting my son's birthday or missing my daughter's ballet recital.  Kids eventually forgive though, just as I expect my readers to as well.  I mean, the blog post is here ain't it?  Better late than never.  And what if I meant to drop this piece a month late?  It could be our little tradition over at Infinite Wisdom.  Kind of how I like to celebrate Valentine's Day the day before to avoid the lines and crowds at restaurants.  The only difference is that here it doesn't make as much sense.  So I fucked up 3 years ago and wrote my first post right in the middle of the NBA Finals.  My timing could have been better.  But here is where we all have to move on with our lives and get to the matter at hand.

I know why you are here.  I know what you seek.  I know how far you have traveled and how far you would continue to travel to get what you came for.  I know I'm the only one that can give it to you.  And I know you know that I know all this.  I don't deceive you when I title my blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo's Brain.  I am wise and good looking.  While I can't give you good looks, I can most certainly pass on my knowledge to those who wish to be enlightened.  In the words of Eminem, "Fuck dropping a jewel, I'm flipping the sacred treasure."  I'm not satisfied sitting on this mountain of understanding by myself.  I've tossed some rope down for you, and I got a firm grasp on it too.  Will you join me?  Of course the journey will be long and strenuous.  The average man will give up and settle on the knowledge he has.  You will need to be tough, but most of all you will need to be patient.

I wasn't always a patient man.  If you ever get to meet me you might notice how laid back I can be.  At work or at home, with colleagues or loved ones, I aim to display a level of patience that optimizes the quality of life.  People are different and the things they do sometimes can rub other people the wrong way.  Everyone wants to world to be at their level of understanding and the truth is that this will never be the case.  The point is to accept this fact.  It makes day to day human interactions much easier, but most importantly it takes away unnecessary stress and allows you to be happier in general.  Again, I didn't always believe this.  I was as impatient as they come.  I would bark at anyone who displeased me, I detested waiting in lines and I absolutely despised repeating myself to people who I felt were incompetent.  I also knew at the time that this was no way to live life.  It's OK to get upset at people.  Humans have emotions.  Letting those emotions control the way you react and letting them have an effect on your attitude is not OK.  I knew all this and I wanted to change.

The summer of 2013 I had broken up with an ex-girlfriend and I was back home for the summer.  I got my old job back at Bath Fitter and was ready to move on with my life.  I thought the best way to get over a break up was to drink a lot (which I did) and also work on myself.  I made it a goal of mine to become a much more patient guy.  I visualized my goal in my mind and I also prayed about it.  See, my high school scripture studies teacher (I went to a Catholic school), Mr. Shelton once told the class that the way prayer works is much more than just asking and then receiving.  He said if you ask God for strength, God isn't just going to magically make you a stronger person.  Instead, Shelton said, God is going to put you in a situation that gives you the opportunity to grow and become and stronger person.   I took these words of wisdom with me when I completed high school.  I knew if I prayed for patience that God wasn't going to make me resigned overnight.  He's not a genie.  I knew He would send a challenge and I had to be ready for it.

Into my life came Sandy, and old white woman, short and stout.  She was around the age of 70, maybe older.  She waddled like a penguin when she walked and she had this permanent look of confusion.  She was friendly however and she took a liking to me.  It had been a year since I left Bath Fitter and all of my former co-workers were no longer employees there.  The only person still there was my boss Jen who was kind enough to give me my old job back.  Sandy was the first person I met from this new generation of employees.  I shared a lot of my shifts with Sandy.  This became increasingly difficult quite quickly.  Part of my job was to try to convince people to have somebody come over and check out their bathroom and give an estimate on the price of replacing their tub.  It's a little hard to do, only because most people aren't in the market of spending a couple of Gs to replace their bathtub.  I can do it though and I've done it in the past.  Sandy... she... she's not as good.  She talks a little slower and she gets herself confused a lot.  That's not a problem for me, until she jumps into my pitches and scares off some of my potential leads.  It happened quite a few times and it usually bugged me quite a bit.

She wasn't any better in staff meetings.  She would do this thing where she would raise her hand to ask a question.  The head honcho would look at her and gesture her to ask away.  Sandy would begin to ask her question, only 5 words in she would stop mid sentence.  She then acted as if she had completed her question.  The boss would then be baffled and try to decipher what the question was about.  It might go something like this:

Sandy: I have a question.

Boss: Go head, Sandy.

Sandy: Usually when people come up to me...

Boss: Yes, Sandy?

Sandy: (Still pausing.)

Boss: Okay, yes.  People should be coming up to you.  I think that's what Sandy is trying to say.  Right?

Sandy: (Staring blankly)

This happened more than once.  It happened more than 5 times.  I remember going home and telling my mom all about Sandy and how annoying I thought she was.  My mom though I was being mean.  I wasn't the only one who didn't like working with her.  My other co-workers absolutely hated her.  Looking at your schedule and seeing Sandy's name next to yours during your shift was like finding out your dog ran away at Bath Fitter.  It just wasn't easy.  If as a guy you were too friendly to a girl she would bring it up to the boss that you are being flirty at the work place.  She would be mean to workers from other companies in the same area that were getting more business than us.  She cared too much about Tupperware.  Seriously.  She once asked me if I knew what Tupperware was.  I told her yes, because I do.  She then proceeded to explain to me in detail what Tupperware was and all the fun adventures she's had using the product.  She listed all the food she's ever been able to put in Tupperware.  If there's a limit on how long a conversation on Tupperware should last, my money is at about two minutes.  She exceeded that limit by at least a half hour.

The week of Fourth of July, 2013 I was scheduled to work at the Marin County Fair for five days.  I wasn't alone though.  I had a partner and her name rhymed with Randy.  (It was Sandy.)  As I saw her waddle to our booth I told myself to suck it up and make it through these five days.  These weren't short-shifts, mind you.  These were cinco consecutive eight-hour shifts.  All with Sandy.  She did her usual routine: scaring off leads, being mean to people, asking me questions I thought were dumb.  At one point she asked me if I was good at math.  I said yes.  Apparently in her latter years she had taken up arithmetic as a "hobby" of sorts and she wanted to test me.  Her first question was: "What's heavier? A pound a feathers or a pound of bricks?"  You know what my answer was.  But she was shocked that I got it right.  Absolutely stunned.  She continued to ask me simple math questions for about 3 hours straight.  

At one point within those five days she asked me if I wanted to know how she got a recent leg injury.  I said sure.  She stared at me blankly for the next 20 seconds before finally coming back to reality.  When she finally got around to telling her story it went like this: "I was walking up the stairs to my apartment and somebody threw a rock at my leg.  I think it was a police man.  But when I turned around nobody was there."  Now, I wanted to debate the plausibility of this story as much as I want to debate the plausibility of one of my family's ghost stories, but I bit my tongue and decided to go along with it.  The last day I decide to clean one of the bathtubs we are displaying.  Sandy takes the opportunity to complement me on my cleaning skills, which I kind of appreciated, sort of.  What she said next, I didn't appreciate.  "You must get your cleaning skills from your mom.  I'm sure she's great at cleaning bathrooms."  Whoa!  That is not something you want to say to a Latino, especially one that comes from such a proud family.  We appreciate hard labor and our family comes from humble beginnings, but my mom is a teacher and a health educator.  Assuming she's a housekeeper is a no-no.  But before I unleashed hell on Sandy, I sat back and took a breath.  She's old, ignorant and obviously confused, I told myself.  What's the point of getting mad at her.  She doesn't understand what she's saying.  For Christ sake, she thinks a police officer threw a rock and her leg and then disappeared.  I let it go.

An hour later I got a text from my boss, Jen that she was coming over to visit us.  At this time I am very mad at Jen for putting me with Sandy for five fucking days!  I tell myself I'm going to give Jen a piece of my mind when she comes by.  When I finally see her approach the booth Sandy is looking at some Tupperware in another section.  Perfect time to vent to Jen.  But when Jen approached the first thing she did was hug me.  Confused, I embraced her back.  She thanked me.  "I'm so sorry for putting you with her for five days.  But you are the only person I know who is patient enough to deal with her.  Thank you.  I know how tough it must have been, but I knew you could handle it better than anyone.  Don't worry, you don't have to work with her again."  Jen just called me patient.  Someone called me patient!  When Jen wrote me a letter of recommendation highlighting my patience I finally realized Sandy's significance in this chapter in my life.  I achieved my goal and my life is better because of that.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that you never know how important certain people are in your life until much later.  And although I like to laugh at the memories of working with Sandy, I do appreciate the impact she had on my life.  This is the 3 year and 1 month anniversary of the first time I wrote a blog post, but it's also the two year anniversary from the last time I worked with Sandy.  Stay Guapo out there!