A Simple Conversation


“So what do you do?”

“I’m an office manager.”

“Oh yeah?  Where at?”

“Franklin and Sons. We make and sell those car freshener’s that you hang off your review mirror.”

“Like the pine trees?”

“Yeah, like the pine trees.  It’s pretty dull work really, just making sure that people are working when they’re supposed to and doing what they’re supposed to.  I always imagined that I would be doing something nobler with my life, but things just didn’t work out that way.”

“I know what you mean.  I never imagined being an unmarried mother of three working as a waitress, but this is where life led me, so I try to make the best of it you know?”

“Yeah.”

“More coffee?”

“Please.  So what did you want to be when you were a kid?”

“A ballerina.  I used to dance around my house in a little pink tutu all the time.  I even took some classes for a while, but when it came right down to it I just wasn’t talented enough to do anything more than dance at the recitals my family had to go to.  I guess as I got older I wanted to be a writer, but getting pregnant my senior year kind of threw that dream into and endless holding pattern.”

“A writer huh? Like poetry?”

“No, more like short stories.  I was never any good with poetry, but I loved writing little stories.  There’s just something fun about imaging yourself somewhere other than where you are.”

“Ha. Yeah, I do that all day while I’m at work.”

“Yeah, me too.  Anyhow, I don’t have time to write any more.  Raising three kids on my own is like having a second job, only I don’t get paid for it.”

“I bet, and its not like you can quit either.”

“You have kids?”

“Two boys, three and five.  They’re all I live for.”

“What about you?  What did you want to be when you grew up?”

“Well, I…”

“Wait, let me guess.  You wanted to be a doctor right?”

“Nah, I’m way too squeamish for that.  I can’t even watch those medical documentaries without feeling my stomach do a flip every time they lift up a piece of skin to get at whatever is underneath.”

“Yeah, I’m not a big fan of that myself.  I can watch CSI and the like without any trouble, but something about seeing an real person being cut open just makes me nauseous.”

“Right, so being a doctor is right out of the question.  No, I wanted to be a teacher.  I was lucky enough to have a couple of really good teachers in high school and I figured that I wanted to have an impact and if I could have a positive influence on even one kid it would be totally worth it.”

“So what stopped you?”

“Responsibility.  I got married young and with marriage came two jobs and a mortgage.  No time for the future when you’re just trying to survive today you know?”

“Yeah, I’m a bit familiar with that.”

“I guess most people are really.  I wonder how many of us are really just trying to hold on to what we have at the cost of
what we want.”

“Most of us I imagine.  I think that’s what’s wrong with this country.  It used to be that America was all about opportunity, but now I think it is all about survival.  Most people are in debt to the point that it is almost impossible for them to get out of it no matter how hard they try and forget about it if there is even the slightest bit of misfortune.  It seems kind of unfair that no matter how hard you work, without a little luck you’ll never get very far beyond where you started out.”

“Yeah, that does suck.  Oh well, I guess I’d better get home.  Thank you for the coffee and conversation.”

“Sure thing.  Come back and we’ll do it again.”

“I’ll do that.  Good night.”

“Good night.”

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