Monday, January 28, 2008

Phone call

My daughter was ill a couple of weeks ago. She’s better now, thank goodness.

Anyways, as is the custom, a few people called to find out how she was doing and all. The call that stands out the most in my mind is one that I received from a colleague.

Brief history on colleague: She has a 6-month old son. She travelled abroad(maybe for the first time) shortly after she had her boy. She is a pleasant and really engaging girl. However, her conversation topics always somehow find their way back to her miraculous delivery, her son and her trip abroad. It’s okay when you first meet her, but gets really tiring in short bit. I no longer ask after her son, because I do not want to get 2 minute responses that do not have any bearing on his real welfare.

Here’s a typical scenario: How is Dipo? Normal person will respond: He is well/ He is feeling a bit down.

Her? Nooooooo! A typical answer would be: “He was awake when I left o! He was standing on his bed and cooing at me while I got dressed. I kept playing with him as I got dressed and when I finally had to leave, he looked so sad. I am going to miss him! You know these children are wonderful. They really do know who their mothers are and there is an instant bond.”
On a day when she is feeling extra chatty, she will mention the fact that he has heat rashes as a result of the lack of electricity to power the fans. And how if they were abroad this would not be the case. Then she would remind you that she is planning to travel soon. Once, I asked when exactly she was planning on travelling. "December", she replied. That is soon? Okay o!

Anyway, the phone call went this way:

Me: Hello?
CO: This is CO.
Me: Oh, hi CO!
CO: How is your baby? Heard she was ill. And thought that I should all to find out how she’s doing.
Me: Oh, she’s a lot better now. Thank you.
CO: That’s good. Remember those rashes I told you that Dipo has?
Me: Yes.
CO: Some more have popped up around other parts of his body.
Me: Really? Have you completed his antibiotics dose? (Naturally, she keeps me abreast of her son’s medical history).
CO: Yes o! Maybe that is what is causing all the rashes to come out. The drug may be working that way.
Me: It is a possibility.
CO: If it is not rashes today, it is fever tomorrow. I am just really lucky that he is such a strong boy…………

She went on for maybe another minute. I cannot say I remember all she said, but she did not ever go back to the subject at hand which was supposed to be my daughter. After talking about her son for a bit, she then ended a call without mentioning my daughter again.

A most amusing condolence call.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Being grateful

I have been thinking a lot lately about changing jobs. I am sick and tired of doing what I currently do. The fact that it has nothing to do with my career plan does not help how I feel about it. When I took the job, it was because I could not find a job I was really interested in but still needed to earn money to pay my bills.

In all this, I have tried to keep in mind the fact that I am lucky to have what people view as a “good” job. It has allowed me buy a car, pay for my Masters Degree in the UK, buy nice new clothes and give my daughter the quality of life she deserves.

If I had no reason to be grateful, an opportunity for that came up last week when I walked into a shop to buy a dress. I was not looking at any one person when I walked in. I just really needed a dress in a hurry, so as soon as I entered the shop, I immediately started scanning the room to see if they had anything appropriate. The sales person behind me asked me if she could help me and I turned to look at her. The next thing out of her mouth was “I believe I know you”. Whenever I hear those words I steel myself and prepare a warm and friendly face as I really can never remember anyone. In this case, it did not take me more than 5 seconds to remember exactly who she was.

You see, we were in the same university, same faculty, same department. We even stayed in the same hostel block and lived in the same area back home. I had been to her parent’s house in the past and she had been to mine. There was no way I could forget her. She was also really popular in school. One of the party crowd. I was the opposite, always choosing to stay indoors. Despite that, we got along really well, she being a nice girl and all.

The questions started mentally flooding in: She works here? Why would she work here? She is a graduate. We studied almost the same thing. I wonder how much she earns? It can’t be much. How does one survive on that sort of salary? True, it is an upscale store, but it is a store nonetheless. Is she okay with her life as it is? I hope she is. Not that she’s okay with working here, but not sad. Omigosh, I hope she’s not embarrassed to have me see her working here. I have to put her at ease. Hold on, she does not seem uneasy. All the time, I was smiling and telling her how great it was to see her. And it was.

It was a totally humbling experience for me. If she was embarrassed to see me, it did not show as she gisted with me and still carried out her job professionally. Also, the way I see it that aspect of her life may not be at par with that particular aspect of mine but then life has many facets. How am I to know of all the other ways she has excelled? She may have excelled at being a mother and a wife. At being a truly spiritual being who is close to her Maker and swings in His Holy Will.

As I left that store, clutching my purchase and a piece of paper with her phone number on it, I resolved to be even more grateful for my lot in life and remember the other aspects of life.