Someone at work asked me that yesterday. And I had no idea how to even reply. I just stood there and stared at him. Now, I've always worked. Since I was 15, when I worked for the Dodgers at their minor league stadium in Vero Beach, Florida. I've worked in offices, as a dental assistant, a copy/print shop, in photo labs. Mostly offices. But I've been at home with Liam for almost four years. And I'm an introvert. My face betrays nothing. My body language is always relaxed and confident. I'm great at giving off the illusion of "I'm fine". Probably something to do with a very strange childhood and not wanting people to look at my life too closely.I know how to keep conversations and relationships light, I can talk about anything and everything, have lots of useless knowledge, keeps my opinions about things like religion and politics out of the workplace. I don't go to work expecting to make friends, I am only there to do my job.
My life is very simple. I get up in the morning at 6, shower and get dressed. Make sure Liam has his lunch, whatever he needs for After School Matters, and put him on the bus at 7. I get my computer and go to Starbucks for a few hours to study/sketch/whatever, then go to work. After work, I go to school or run errands. I don't work a million hours, usually between 4 and 5. I get to school an hour or two early and study/homework/projects. After school I call Kelly and then go to bed. It's busy but not complicated or difficult. I don't spend time with anyone other than Tim (hubs) and Liam (kiddo). Neither one of them cares if I'm OK. As long as he's OK, my husband is oblivious to the plight of others. And Liam is sweet and sensitive, but he's 5.
So this question had me completely baffled. Was I OK? Chronic pain from nerve damage, check. Uncomfortable in work clothes, check. Squirmy about being out and about and exposed to a world that I find irritating, check. All things normal and as they should be. Here was the conversation:
Him: "Are you doing OK today?"
Me: I just stared at him.
Him: "You just look a little...grumpy, I guess."
Me: "Grumpy?" (I know, I'm a genius, right?)
Him: "Yeah. You look how I usually look everyday and that's not good."
Me: Frown, SMH. "No, I'm good."
Him: Disbelieving, "All right. Just checking."
I went back to the host stand, he went back behind the bar, and I contemplated what an idiot I am, and obsessed about what could possibly look different about me today then yesterday. I realized that it was my period. My friends ALWAYS used to ask me if I was OK when I had my period. I look sick. Pale, circles under my eyes, I'm always super fatigued and in a lot of pain. But it's been so many years since anyone has noticed.
I've been realizing that I actually like being part of the world again. I knew I wasn't really part of the world when I was at home all the time, but I didn't realize that it kind of made me a different person. I smile easier now. I WANT to smile easier now.
And then you know what I started thinking? The people I work with are really nice. I mean, super nice. I don't know what I expected, but I didn't think I was going to enjoy working at a restaurant (it's my first one). I have zero experience, and it's certainly not going to be my future, but I could try harder to enjoy it there. The day bartender sings. Loudly. We start off every morning with a meeting that includes food and a beer taster (like a shot glass of beer). Since I only work the lunch shift, it's rarely CRAZY busy. I mean, we have a crazy 45 minutes from 11:45-12:30 when table after table comes in. But other than that, we're just hanging out together. I MISS friends like I had in college at USF. People who teased mercilessly, smacked each other on the ass just because, knocked on my window at 4am just to come in and sleep on my couch, who would pick me up for rehearsal because I didn't have a car so I didn't have to walk in the rain. The rain is lot colder in Minnesota.
So, I guess my rambling is over. I'm glad I got asked if I was OK. Look how much thinking I got out of it. And I realized that even in just a small, "that's a chick I work with" kind of way, someone I didn't even know two months ago cares if I'm OK.