I had my first work week last week.
I always keep you a week behind my real life to cover over the many, many pratfalls which usually make amazing anecdotes but do leave me (with my British sensibility) fairly crimson.
I’m pleased that I was better at things by the end of it.
Prat-falls included a customer who was preparing for a job interview and bought one of those “For Dummies” guides. In an attempt to be encouraging and all: ‘Dude, you’ve got this and your sparkly eyes and excitement are beyond cute’ – I blathered some good luck wishes, he talked about the book and I said: “Yeah, and anyway it’s for dummies!” without adding “which you completely are not!” Ugh.
Oh Ground, please open up… Accidentally insulting people is not a good look.
Luckily the poor, handsome man was too excited about his interview to notice. Sometimes I don’t know WHY they hired me. (Actually, I asked them to tell me in the interview what their ideal candidate would be like and I am eternally grateful that I was, kind of, it.)
I genuinely feel that my ability to socialise, processing social brain traffic, has been impaired by years of being in relatively isolated recovery from bipolar episodes. My confidence about this, and my own professionalism has also been affected. I sometimes don’t read people right and get either frustrated by customer indirectness, or feel very surprised by their attention at all. I’m sometimes scared.
Large stores and supermarkets have started charging five English pennies per bag. One young guy in rather fetching spectacles accordingly paid for his bag, I put his books in his bag and gave him a second receipt for it.
“Why do I need a receipt?” he asked gamely, “Do I need proof? Will the Plastics Police be after me or something?”
“I think you should take it. It’s a form of insurance and it’d also help prevent a major scandal, probably.” I said, with mock seriousness and a smile that I didn’t expect to get anything back for.
“Okay then. Thanks.” he smiled, and left. Not a polite English, ‘I’ve already forgotten your face’ standard-issue face spasm. A complicit, through the frames, looking right at me smile. It was kind.
Afterwards, I had a brainwave. I used to be a rather excellent flirt. This flirt’s M.O. was not crippling embarrassment – it was merely to make everyone feel good by being frankly fabulous.
The thing about rebuilding your character after a traumatic episode is, you spend a lot of time mourning who you were and pretending to still be that person, all the while knowing that you have changed… and hoping people still value you. There’s a lot of vulnerability in not knowing exactly who you are in the aftermath. I’d like some simple acceptance.
I’m not about to become the other kind of scarlet woman, but where she went is worth pondering, n’est-ce-pas?
~ Pola ~