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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Act of Kindness #8 and #9: Can I Buy You a Drink?

Snow days...anyone who knows me is fully aware of my passion and slight obsession with a good snow day.  I have an amazing job, my students are unbelievably awesome, and my co-workers are pretty wonderful too, but when the opportunity for a snow day arises, I just cannot resist.  In fact, I may love snow days more now as an adult, than I ever did as a child.

With the slightest mention of snow in the forecast, I am hooked...glued to my television.  Names of random schools dance across my screen, and I wait with an anticipation that puts Christmas morning to shame.  As soon as a name I recognize appears, my hopeful heart rises higher into my chest.  Then, the real craziness begins.

I watch the school closings flash before my eyes.  Each name only adds more suspense.  I am like an avid football fan who has bet my life savings on the biggest game of the year.  I bite my nails.  I pace the floor.  I stand up.  I sit down.  I check my phone.  I refresh the screen.  I change stations.  I pace some more.  I sweat.  I swear.  I rationalize with irrational logic.  And when all else fails, I pray.  I pray for a glorious snow day.

Sometimes, my prayer is answered.  When this happens, I high-five anyone within walking distance.  I smile and dance like a mad woman.  I excitedly gobble a quart of ice cream in my most comfortable pajamas (pajamas that I will surely still be wearing the following day around 2 pm.)  I eagerly stay up all night, and as the clock changes times, I taunt it.  "Huh, 10 o' that all you got?  I'm stayin' up all night."  I make sure to set my alarm, so when it goes off at 5 am, I can secertily smile as I drift off back to sleep, knowing that a few more hours of slumber are mine.  I love snow days.

Other times, my prayers go ignored.  On days like these, I pout.  I protest.  I exist in a state of denial and despair.  I throw tantrums that would put a two year old to shame (okay, that may be slightly exaggerated.) I go to bed with a heavy heart, and I awake with slight disappointment.  It's not that I do not want to go to work, because, as I previously mentioned, I love my job.  No, it is just that there is something magical about a snow day.  Something that makes me feel youthful and free.

I had four glorious snow days this week.  Days of early morning cuddles with my girls as "Won't you be my neighbor," plays softly in the background.  Days of slippers and sleep.  Nights of reality shows and 11 o'clock bedtimes.   Then, I was abruptly jolted back to reality on Friday, when I had to return to work.  I drug my feet.  I sulked around the house.  I drove extra slow to work.  I sighed heavily.  I rolled my eyes.  It was obvious my lack of another snow day was getting the best of me.

When I pulled into town, I knew I had to change things around.  I went to McDonald's, which is a weekly ritual for me, and I bought myself a drink.  I hoped that an ice cold drink would make me a little bit happier, but that was not the case.  "Time for an Act of Kindness," I announced to myself.  Surely there are other people, people who weren't teachers, who had been forced to drive in this snow for four days now.  Those people must be even more annoyed than me.

So, when I pulled up to pay for my beverage, I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the person behind me as well.  The cashier looked slightly confused at first, smiled and then hestitantly asked, "You want to pay for someone else?"

"Sure," I say.  "I would like to pay for the car behind me."

The cashier nods her head.  "That's nice," she says as she hands me my receipt.  I drive away with more of a smile on my face than I originally drove up with.

When I arrived at work, I braced myself for the day.  "Lots of caffeine," I said to myself, "lots of caffeine."  I knew that would be the only way I, and probably most of my colleagues, could get through this Friday.

That's when my other idea hit me.  I immediately went to the soda machine.  In an envelope, I placed a dollar, along with a note that read, "Please use this money to get a beverage of your choice.  Welcome back."  I smiled even more as I made my way to my desk.

And as I sat down and prepared for my day, I realized that, like most people, I have the ability to change a less than desirable situation into something more positive. The choice is all mine.  I can pout, or I can smile.  I can complain, or I can speak with kind words. I can fester in my disappointment, or I can buy you a drink.  And believe me, you want that drink.  :) 

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