This afternoon, while thinking about [x], I ran errands (mailing off a bill and buying an emergency pair of shoes) at Eastport Plaza on SE 82nd. Since I was out, I went out to early dinner, at a place across 82nd called Gyro House. I'd eaten in this building once before, over 13 years ago, when it was a Quizno's sub shop.
I got thinking about that day, because I remember it well. It was in late October 2004, and that day was challenging and frustrating, and it ended with a phone message that I cried about. The message waiting for me when I got home that night was from my then-temp agency, telling me I was fired from a job that was supposed to last for three months. I'd been at that job, at a small call center in Milwaukie, for three days.
Before getting home to that message, here's how that day in 2004 had gone: I'd driven to the call center for what I didn't know would be my last day there, then drove home, then headed to the bus to run an errand. My parents had flown that day to start a vacation, and they'd arranged for me to pick up their car at PDX and hold onto it while they were away.
I did a stupid thing on that errand. Back then, TriMet had a zone system; my transit pass let me travel in two zones, basically the core of the Metro area, and I needed to upgrade to a 3-Zone trip to go to PDX. Stupidly, I didn't, even though all I'd needed to do was pay a little more when boarding the bus I'd taken at the start. Penny-wise, pound-foolish, because I was almost caught by TriMet employees who were checking fares on a Max train I'd boarded. They boarded at Gateway Transit Center. Sheepishly, I stepped off the train at the Parkrose station before those employees had reached me to check my fare, and there I bought a full 3-Zone fare. If I'd been caught, I would have had to pay a large fine, and it would have been entirely my fault. So I wasn't happy with myself.
The day got more frustrating. After picking up the car and heading for home in heavy night traffic, I almost got sideswiped by another car. I didn't, but it was close. And I stopped for dinner at the aforementioned Quizno's, and here's why that was frustrating: a family was loudly complaining to the owner about how badly they'd been treated at the shop and that they would get in touch with Quizno's management. The shop owner was, to his credit, staying patient as the family harangued him, loudly and sarcastically, while I kept my head down and ate my sandwich. Oy.
At least with food in me, I then got home. To that message. And, low on cope right then, I cried. It was another frustration in what had been, overall, a frustrating year. (Back at the start of 2004, dealing with both a death in my family and getting downsized from the job I'd had since 2001, I was having such trouble sleeping that I went for a checkup. Diagnosis: stress, doing weird things to my body. Otherwise I was healthy. I briefly took prescription sleep aids. That's its own story.)
I am very glad that today's visit to that same building, to once again eat, went better. And that today, even being weird, was better than That Day in 2004.
It always can be better.