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day 50: sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug

March 23, 2011

Day 50 was, despite my earnest efforts, frustrating.

It was one of those days that began with me neglecting to tighten the lid of my travel coffee mug and spilling coffee down Shirt #1 before 8 a.m. (later, Shirt #2 would suffer a similar fate at the mercy of a leaking orange juice cup). An emergency work call nearly made me late for an online training I was delivering, but (luckily?) computer problems kept many of my participants from logging in on time.

After two hours wearing a Control-era Janet Jackson headset, listening to fifteen diligent social workers who may soon lose their jobs to budget cuts, I was ready for a break.  I promised myself lunch after I completed two important tasks, both of which required access to my university email.

Care to guess?  That’s right:  my university email was down.

Yes indeed, Mark Knopfler, on Day 50 I tried to be the windshield but I’m pretty sure I was the bug.

Embracing the futility of my efforts at productivity, I did what any other rational, mature woman would do:

I went to the cosmetics store.

Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I find browsing through aisles of beauty products soothing.  Maybe it’s the capacity for transformation these colorful palettes and tiny bottles promise.  Maybe I just like the distraction of an entirely frivolous and girly universe, right there at my fingertips and ready to be sampled.

Maybe it’s because I had a coupon for a free nail polish.

A few months ago, I purged my nail polish collection and gave away several bottles to friends.  I am embarrassed to admit I had six bottles of ballet pink nail polish (six!) and almost as many bottles of red.  Psychoanalyze away.  I’m a polish-aholic.

Anyway, I needed shampoo anyway, so as I waited in line to pay, I considered what shade of polish I would choose for my free bottle.  Fortunately, during this reverie I remembered my embarrassing polish purge a few months ago and talked myself down from the relapse.  “You still have enough nail polish to repaint a mid-sized sedan, with some left over for touch ups,” I reminded myself.  “Step away from the coupon.”

Impulsively, I approached the woman behind me in line.

“Excuse me, would you like this coupon for a free nail polish?  I don’t really need it.”

Oh, people.  I wish you could’ve seen her face light up.  A bystander might assume I’d just given her a fifty dollar bill or told her she’d won a spot on American Idol.

“Thank you!”  she patted me on the arm.  “My daughter loves nail polish… she’ll be so happy for a new one.”

And there you go.  My formerly-frustrating day turned on its heel and headed in a different direction, all thanks to an Ulta coupon and a grateful woman’s reaction.

Maybe I was the windshield on Day 50 after all.

May your day be anything but futile.  Thanks so much for showing up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    March 23, 2011 8:22 am

    I love how you turned your day around (at least momentarily) by your random act of kindness. It made me think of one of my favorite quotes.

    The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. — John Zabat-Zinn

    Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t take grand gestures to make a difference.

    • March 25, 2011 5:59 am

      Thanks so much, Dawn. I love the quotation, too — thanks for sharing it!

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