I’ve changed since coming back from South Africa. I didn’t really notice it at first. It’s frustrating not being able to see the change. And while I feel heart-friction more than I did before, I can’t always pin point the source of that friction.
Until I got a parking ticket.
I was meeting my small group to catch up with them. We always take a break during the summer, so we had agreed to get coffee on Saturday morning. Having just moved to the country (ok maybe not the country but I do see more trees than street lights!) and having been out of the driving arena for two months, I sort of forgot how to use those Pay to Park machines. Thankfully, as I was trying to figure it out, someone came up and gave me his parking time sheet to put in my car. I glanced at the piece of paper, but didn’t really see what it said. So, I left to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. About an hour or so later, I returned to my car to find a parking ticket under my windshield wiper. I looked at it and was a little shocked. I forgot things like parking tickets happened, I forgot things like needing to validate parking happened. I forgot about that which used to be so normal to me. So, having realized my mistake in misreading the paper given to me, I put the ticket in my purse and proceeded to say my good byes to my friends. My one friend felt so bad for me and thought I would be more upset than I was. She just stood there and said, ‘I can’t believe you aren’t upset. If I were you, I’d have a few choice words for that ticket.’ I hadn’t even thought about getting upset. The only word that came to my mind was ‘Shame’ (very South African of me!). When my friend was surprised by my reaction, I was surprised by her reaction. My pre-South Africa self would have gotten mad and would have spewed frustration.
But all I did was take responsibility for my fault.
Today, I had made a salad for lunch. I brought my salad in Tupperware and the balsamic vinegarette was in a separate, smaller container. I shook up the dressing and opened it. I guess I filled it too high, because I ended up getting more salad dressing on my hands and pants than on my salad. I sat there, dressing dripping down my hand, wind blowing in my hair, and feeling the dressing through my pants. I had no napkin (that would be too easy) and no accessible bathroom to wash my hands. So, I decided it was more important for me to enjoy my lunch away from my desk and worry about my balsamic vinegarette-y hands and pants later. I had dealt with worse in South Africa anyways (try getting peed on and not being able to change clothes for 3 hours). I’m sure my fellow outdoor lunch eaters thought I was crazy for letting the dressing dry on my hands.
But, I knew there were bigger worries in the world and in my own life than some spilled dressing.