Monday, April 18, 2011

It's not the bars that are the watering holes anymore.

I originally had a different post prepared for today, detailing the danger and drama of this past weekend.  (Long story short:  we were besieged by tornadoes.)

But today has taken an unexpected turn, one that finds me sitting at home, rather than at my office.

When I woke up this morning, it was supposed to be a relatively normal Monday, particularly in comparison to the events of the weekend.  I got up, got dressed, kissed my boys goodbye, and got in the car to get to work.

It is my custom to arrive a few minutes early and do my Bible reading sitting in the parking lot.  It seemed there were fewer cars than usual, but arriving around quarter after 7:00 always puts me as one of the first people in the building, and I thought perhaps a few people stayed home to work on their damaged property and deal with insurance agents and whatnot.

However, one of my coworkers was wandering around the parking lot on a cell phone.  I caught bits of his conversation as he approached me.  "No, you turn around and go on back home...No point coming here...Sure, I'll stay to tell everyone...Can't believe they didn't have something on the news to tell us."

I'd pieced together what he had to tell me before he hung up and said it.  Power out all over campus.  No way to even get in the building (electronic keycards), much less do any work.  See you tomorrow, maybe.

With nothing better to do, I turned around to come home.  I'd heard that downtown took a lot of damage, so I took an alternate route on my way back, to check it out.  It looks like a third-world country, like a warzone.  Businesses that have been there most of my life are gone.  Power lines and trees are down everywhere in the roads.  Cop cars are all over the place, but even they seem to be at a loss as to what they're supposed to be doing.

Not quite ready to head home, I stopped in the Dunkin' Donuts near my house.  I figured I'd grab one of their awesome, amazing, delicious coffees, and it would be a good place to sit and do my Bible reading.

Dunkin' Donuts was packed.  It seemed everyone was packed in there, shell-shocked survivors discussing the storm and its effects with total strangers.  Though on a typical weekday morning people would be irritated by the long line and wait time, no one seemed to be in a hurry today.  People were exchanging information on where had been hit hardest, where was still without power, what was left of downtown.  Though it was strange, there was something touching about it, even sweet almost.  It was a feeling of community, of mutual interest.

I sat down with my coffee and my Bible, and sank into a hypnotic state of relaxation.  I love being around people, even strangers, and I find I can read better in a crowded coffee shop than I can alone at home.  Something about coffee shops calms me.  I've often thought that I'd like to be a professional writer or a pastor, but I think that's just because I want to spend all day sitting in a coffee shop, pecking away at a laptop and reading books on Christian theology, Thomas Aquinas and non-fiction C.S. Lewis.

I was deep in thought in the last few chapters of Acts, absorbing Paul's legal defense on trial before Agrippa.  The buzz of conversation in the restaurant was like a mental blanket, making it easier for me to focus, to picture the Roman-era courtroom, the lone apostle standing before a crowd of people who wanted him dead.  In the back of my mind, I was piecing together how I would describe this scene if I were writing it, how I would explain it to someone unfamiliar with the story.  (It's a dream of mine to write a devotional book, and I often think of what lessons can be tied in with which parts of the Bible.)

A deep voice from the crowd penetrated my thoughts, not an easy thing when I'm engrossed in reading.  (Just ask my husband.)  I'm not sure how many times the man tried to speak to me before I noticed him.  "Excuse me miss."

I looked up.  The speaker was a man in his late 40s, perhaps, in a nice, well-tailored (but not overpriced) suit.  "You're a very classy-looking young lady," he said with a nod, and I thanked him while he walked away.

It was a strange compliment, but one I appreciate very greatly.  I always try to dress nicely for work, and it's not easy to walk the line between modest and frumpy.  (Today it was a knee-length pencil skirt and a lavender, ruched linen blouse.  I love the blouse, but it's a little too low-cut for me as it comes, so I use a hidden safety pin to give it a more appropriate neckline.)  Odd as it may seem, I feel much prettier being called "classy" than if my appearance were complimented in a more overt way.

So far, this is the extent of my strange, wonderful, morning off from work.  I received a nice compliment.  I drank a wonderful cup of coffee.  I renewed my love for the book of Acts.  (Our relationship had been getting stale, familiarity breeding contempt and all that.)  I resolved that, whether it turns out to be a short-lived disaster or not, I am going to attempt to write the book I've been kicking around in my head.

And tomorrow, I'll publish the post detailing the insanities of this weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment