A long story to tell about a window

From the day after I turned 17 I waited tables, up until Devyn joined our family. I tried a few other things, but always went back to the fun of visiting a few minutes here and there with regulars, cheap meals, decent money and exercise, serving people plates of food, bowls of soup and whatever they chose to drink.
Among the few other things was door to door sales from business to business. Believe it or not, I made enough money this way, but the schedule and morning office pep talks finally wore me out. I was working 60 to 80 hours a week in 5 days. And the morning pep talks seemed to me about disrespecting the customer sweetly to make a sale. Not that they asked us to go against anyone’s wishes, just an attitude I sensed.
I enjoyed the job when I was out there, walking around, visiting with people. I had high sales for our office. After a month or two I could do a days work in half the day, so I spent much time visiting with customers, sharing life stories or hanging out with my mom or dad by going to their towns to sell. At the time my dad lived 3 hours in one direction and my mom lived 2 1/2 hours in a different direction. One time my mom came with to see exactly what I did. I enjoyed having her with me.
What exactly I did was carry a big black duffel bag full of items, like calculators, games, planners etc. We were able to sell them much less than the stores because we were the stores…a pretty cheap work force at 100% commission. I wasn’t too proud to be seen at my work, but none too sure of it’s value either. Basically I’d walk into a business, look the nearest worker in the eye, tell them I had stuff to sell at a good price in my bag, and ask if I could show the employees. A surprising number of places allowed me in. I later found out this was because I didn’t have a pitch, just a “Hi there.”
One of my favorite aspects of that time was all the sunsets I witnessed over the corn fields. That was always a moment I could be completely detached from my life situation, from my uncertainty about the future. Another favorite was the long drives that afforded lots of meditative consideration of all that had come before in my life and all that I hoped to do, have, be and give.
Over the final weeks there I spent most days either at my moms or dads place, letting them offer what guidance they could to their obviously floundering offspring. A small amount of each day during that time was spent “in the field”, but I don’t remember my sales dropping, just my will to walk into another business.
In order to work so many hours I had to wake before the sun, shower, dress and feed my kitties in the dark. I drove before the sun as well, south to the office. On the way I often stopped at a Mobil station for cigarettes and to fill my tank. Because I smoked, I cracked the window several times a day. After a while, it got off track just a bit, so I was in the habit of quickly and gently adjusting it as I rolled it up completely.
Well, one morning, when the car door was open (fortunately), I did the usual adjust as I rolled it up and BOOM! the window blew out onto the cement lot, hundreds of little safety shaped pieces of auto glass. Could moving the window 1/2 an inch cause such a freaky display?!? I had no idea. The sun was still behind a curve of earth. I was awed, dumbfounded. I don’t even remember what I did between the window shattering and arriving at work with an amazing but true tale.
Someone helped me duct tape plastic bags to the frame, but it was March, cold and wet, so this was of little help against the elements. Over the following days, maybe even two weeks, I went to my dads mostly. I was truly at a loss. I would sit in his living room, limp in the soft chair, aware that tears would be appropriate, even desirable, but really just numb. He offered comfort, empathy, food and coffee. The worst was days of cold wind and rain, the plastic flapping wildly with every passing truck.
But in all this, there was a gem. In a small town between my place and dads I found an auto glass shop. I found it on my own. I spent the good portion of a day there walking around town, chatting with the staff, watching the process by which a window is installed in a car door. And then I paid for it in cash. For me then this was a HUGE triumph. I was no longer defeated but empowered. I actually felt some of my doubt about my ability to be a grown up slip away, replaced by an inner light that matched the brilliant, clean afternoon sun as I drove away from that little shop onto the highway, able to look clearly out the window on my left for the first time in seemingly ever!

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2 Responses to A long story to tell about a window

  1. Yuling says:

    wow, i never know a car’s door window has such a spiritual story!

  2. heidi says:

    Cool that you pickled up on that. I didn’t even touch on the most amazing details about the whole thing since I was trying to stay with the window incident. A lot more immediately followed. I look back and know that the blow out was a major gift.
    I love that your comments 🙂 They’re so animated!

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