At 1.28 p.m yesterday I quit the job I had for less than a week, following a damn disaster I created in a busy kitchen over the weekend. Tears flow as I struggle to come to terms with all my realised fears, and the end of my fragile hopes of escape from the job search provider bureaucratic press.
Helplessness fuels emotional turmoil like a boiling stockpot: limp celery leaf, orange carrot chunks, transparent onion dice, and seared beef bone become a picture of my inner geyser. Hang on, a voice says,stockpots are meant to gently simmer, but nothing is as it should be. Nothing reflects my hopes, dreams or plans. I view myself as a hopeless misfit on the way to the principal’s office.
This morning on my way to a coffee meeting, I stop to fuel the car. On my way out of service station shop after paying, I drop my prescription glasses on the polished linoleum floor. Seeming animated, they slide under one of the shelves. I kneel on the floor, and pull out the lower drawers, and fluster the dark-haired attendant(under the drawers is littered with dust,crumbs and dirt). The attendant brings a plastic scraper on a stick and starts to poke around under the shelf. That’s when I realise I can reach in and access them at my end. Open, the glasses are too high to slide under the drawers. I stand, brush off my jeans, apologise, and walk out to my safe non-verbal car. I wish I could laugh but I feel like putting my head in a gas oven. I am a klutz, but gee I am an independent, proactive klutz. Perhaps the attendant will leave a note for the cleaner or his boss; perhaps I will get some help.
After the coffee and conversation, I take my time returning to my front room in the 1930s’ cottage. My inner temperature goes from simmer to boil again, and I decide to head to the walking track by the lake. As I slip into my flat shoes, I notice this pressure under my ribs is not just because I’m bending over. The heat spreads up my neck and along my arms. I stamp across the road, and stretch my legs as I head along the packed gravel path.
My mind halves, it seems, into brooding and spitting. The brooding supervisor part observes I am distraught and frustrated, but the walking channels the spitting energy into the ground. Thump, thump go my feet, my heart pounds.
I notice that I am walking the opposite direction to everyone I pass for the first four kilometres. I face the wind, while it blows on their backs. I look up, part of the sky is blue, the horizon pale with cloud and the sun surrounded by a black lump. In defiance, the sun shines brighter, gilding the perturbed lake while I tramp on. My upper body gets warmer, I unbutton my coat and spread my arms out. For a count of twenty I skip. I feel my heart rate increase and enjoy the illusion of strength. Inside I feel as fragile as blown glass, waiting to hear the tinkle of shattering.
My thoughts turn to an image of gold refining: how the bright purified gold bubbles up and is poured out in molten glory. The hope in me is like that: a seam of light torn away from the black heat. I don’t know whether to love it for its expensive shine, or hate it for its inevitable dream. I tramp on.