July 6th, 2013

Oregon Coast 1

Frustration Antidotes

What's more frustrating: something that's frustrating for serious reasons or something that's frustrating for stupid reasons?

There was a lot of the latter at the job last night -- all I'll say is, some people are really confused and needy, and that can be a difficult combination because they might not get that you're trying to help them -- and, before that, one big case of the former. A friend of mine's in the hospital. In the hospital due to a REAL close call I'm not going to get into here. (Not, not, NOT "hit by a van" close call, like when Stephen King got hit back in 1999, but another kind of close call.) So Friday morning, before I went to work, another friend and I (I'll call the friend H.) visited the hospitalized friend (let's call him G.) and his partner who's staying there with him (S.). After about half an hour I had to bail, because work, but I felt I hadn't visited enough.

(A moment from that visit: we're talking about a particular restaurant and how Southern it is in its food, and H. says "Like chicken and waffles?" I say "More like crawfish." H. says "Ooh!" I add "Not quite alligator." H. isn't quite Southern, she's Texan, which is its own thing, but she can appreciate crawfish. And by the way, one of these days I need to try alligator. But I digress.)

Then the stupid-reason frustrations happened. A couple of times this made me laugh -- usually a bad idea for a customer service rep, but I think under the circumstances my laughing was warranted. (Both times, people joined in with me.) And yelling would've been a worse choice in those circumstances, so.

Anyway. Frustrating. And I knew to get an antidote.

I got two. First, I visited goats. Pygmy goats currently live in a vacant, fenced-off lot in Inner SE Portland -- between SE 10th and 11th and between SE Belmont and Taylor, if you know Portland -- and graze. They have one job, and they do it well. (As opposed to those moments and people that make other people yell "You had ONE job," but I digress again.) I'd driven yesterday, to the hospital then to work, so I could then drive up to the lot and see if the goats were still out past 9:00 p.m. They were, as were a few people. Local blogger and professional Joss Whedon fan B!x -- he's the reason the "Can't Stop the Serenity" charity screenings are now A Thing, so respect -- is involved with looking after the goats. He's blogged about being there for the goats, over at his site Furious Nads. And he was there last night, mostly watching quietly and occasionally talking to people who asked what the goats have been up to. When one of the younger goats grazed next to the fence we were standing at, B!x made sure to grab the piece of trash the goat tried to eat. A good, if sad, reminder of how much trash is around, and the part of me that worked on my high school's recycling program kicked in, and I got a bag from my car and gathered up a small amount -- all I could pack -- of plastic trash and other stuff along the fence that goats shouldn't eat. I felt like apologizing to the goats about all the junk that was still left.

That was my first, quiet antidote for the day's frustration. My second antidote was loud, but that was my choice: late dinner in a restaurant and bar I've come to like these past couple of years, Beulahland. DJ'd music blasted as I caught up with online postings on my iPad and ate catfish tacos. Around people having a good time, loudly, and just soaking in the noise and ambiance. And feeling calmer, even with the caffeine (hot chai with steamed milk, to be exact) I had.

I'm calmer now, especially after decent sleep. Today will be better. Next week will be better.