Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the 2013 Red Sox, Opening Day 2014 and Coming To Terms With Your Past

I chose the Red Sox as my baseball team in my youth, for better or worse, in last place and in first, 'til death do I part. But before last year began, I hated them, the way you hate a loved one who's done something reprehensible.

At the end of 2011 and throughout 2012 they were a bad and grotesquely unlikable team, a group of spoiled brats, joined in 2012 by a prima donna manager who, as former Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan once wrote, has never told a story in which he wasn't the hero.

So as last season began I cringed, because even with a new manager I felt like it would take a few years to get the Sox back to respectability. And then some strange things happened. The Sox began winning again. And out of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings, they found the inspiration to keep winning.

In May I was able to attend a Red Sox game with my boss and some other coworkers; the Sox, after being comatose the entire game, scored five runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat Cleveland. And I said to myself, "What a game. They'll probably fade in the second half and miss the playoffs, but it's so nice to see them winning again." And then in September they did make the playoffs, and I said to myself, "What a season. They'll lose in the first round, but it's so refreshing to see them relevant again."

And then they won the World Series. Not only that, but THEY WON THE WORLD SERIES ON MY BIRTHDAY!

I don't know what'll happen to the Sox this year. Everything went right for them last year, and so I wouldn't be shocked if the law of averages caught up to them and they end up finishing in fourth place in 2014. But after the Red Sox won the World Series that night, I was lying on my back in the middle of Boylston Street, not far from where the bombings occurred in April -- smiling and quietly relishing the best birthday present I've ever received and looking up at the lights while people around me were jumping on cars, hanging from traffic lights and generally rioting. And something occurred to me. At least for one season, the Sox learned from their mistakes.

And then something else hit me. The last couple of years I've gradually come to terms with a lot of the mistakes I made earlier in life, some of which I'm still paying for. And while I can't go back in time and undo these mistakes, I can learn from them. I've tried to avoid duplicating these mistakes and the last couple of years have gone pretty well for me. I still have some personal goals I need to achieve (more on that soon), but I've rehabilitated my life to a great extent.

Hopefully this good stretch will continue for me. And if it took a shitty Red Sox team to pull an amazing one-season turnaround for me to put my life in perspective, all the better.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Reset

How was your day?

Mine was eventful. I knew it was going to be because Mondays always are. I try to be in at 6am, because I have to file two reports about the readiness of my c-store for conducting business. I also have to close out last week's payroll, plug in the previous day's sales/lottery/cash-register-over-short data (broken down by shift). There are two special lottery reports I have to compile. I have to stock the cooler, prepare an order for my Red Bull vendor so that when he comes in, he knows what to order for Tuesday's delivery. We get an ATM delivery that I have to count. We get a delivery from our grocery vendor. And, this particular day, the same grocery vendor was doing a reset of the store, which would take hours.

A full load.

So you can imagine how I felt when I walked in this morning and my opening cashier handed me the keys, said, "I quit," and walked out.

Normally (and today was no exception) the store is staffed by one associate and me. So if someone walks out, it's just me, to do all of the above and work the cash register, which between 6:30 and 8:30 is jammed.

I'm not going to say I saw this coming, but I wasn't shocked. Unfortunately, life sucks.

But also, life is what it is sometimes.

All I could do was start working the register, and at the first available opportunity text my boss, who was gracious enough to come in for a few hours and take some of my workload off, particularly gracious because he also has seven other stores to worry about. And my night cashier was gracious enough to come in a couple of hours early.

Everything got done. The reset people came and went. The store looks better than before. And I still got out early enough to make it to kickboxing class at the gym on time.

Also, I got home in time to write this. I find lately that I'm at my most prolific as a writer when I'm angry. Hey, it's a much better outlet to channel my anger. Twelve hours ago, I was pretty pissed at life. Now I feel great, not only at finding out what I can accomplish when under fire but also because I had a great story to tell. The store has had its reset, and so have I.