I remember a few years ago my dad was talking to me about something to do with his business, and mentioned that sales were related to something called “fiscal quarters.”
I was still in a place (called “school”) when I considered September the start of the year, so my dad had to explain the quarter system to me–and all I remember is that I kind of checked out at some point soon after “the year is divided…”
So it’s kind of funny to me that all I’ve been able to think about for about a month is “closing Q3” and that I have blamed every outburst, bad joke and brain fail in the past week on “the end of Q3” and that today all pressure is on because it’s the start of “Q4.”
Getting used to the “new me” is a little strange, so I decided it was a good idea to give a shout-out to the “old me” and cry in public. (Also, with all the stress from ending Q3–how could I not cry?)
I settled down at Starbucks, right at the counter near all the baristas. (none of whom happened to be my barista crush, thankfully.) I got down to work, I got frustrated, I got a phone call from my mom. It was go time!
The minute she said, “what’s up?” I was ready with my list of grievances, failures, concerns and examples of why my sanity was irrecoverable. At some point in my rambling tear-fest, I veered towards the totally erratic and irrational (as I am wont to do) and blurted out, apropos of nothing, “I mean, why have sex when you can have Twitter?”
“Oh my god,” my mom said. “That should really be an article or something!” (She has a great knack for redeeming my absurdity.) “Maybe you can write an article called ‘Why have sex when you can have Twitter?'”
I was into it. “Maybe I should start a blog called ‘Why Have Sex When You Can Have Twitter?” And then the crying subsided. And the joking began.
But that didn’t make me feel any less awkward when I hung up the phone and realized that I had been sobbing at a Starbucks a foot and half from where they make the steamed milk. Although I was a big fan of Public Displays of Emotion in New York, I haven’t quite tested the waters in SF yet.
I gchatted my friend, “Should I leave?” but no sooner had I done so than the barista looked over to me and said, “I would totally read the first entry in that blog.”
I was confused for a second. “Huh? Oh–‘Why have sex when you can have twitter?'”
“Yeah. I mean, I’d be curious at least. I don’t have Twitter, so I don’t know.” He smiled.
I resisted the urge to say, “Well, I only have Twitter…” but instead said, “um, yeah! Twitter has its perks!”
He laughed. “Maybe. Like I said–I’d read at least the first entry.”
Mostly what blew me away was his incredible generosity of spirit. It always felt so safe in New York to be ignored when I was upset. This person technically ignored my emotional spillage, but managed to acknowledge my presence and rope me back into life as usual. There’s a big difference between someone who ignores you and someone who can recognize your need for positivity without making you feel weak.
Another barista casually offered to refill my water glass. My eyes were drying. I recalled something my friend said to me before Yoga class a few days ago when I told her I was at my Wit’s end–“The universe will support whatever you decide.”
That’s a sentiment I tend to push away when I’m trying to do things like meet quarterly goals–because it seems it lowers the stakes in a way that’s not helpful. But one thing I’ve really discovered in Q3 (My first quarter on the West Coast) is that people, things, adventures, songs always seem to manifest when I need them, and for all the stress, there’s a lot more good than bad. And most of the stress has led to laughter. And most of the laughter had led to clarity, and most of the clarity has led to growth.
And for every time that I’m inclined to really freak out, there’s someone who’s genuinely interested in what I have to bring to the table in a way that brings me back down to earth. Like why Twitter is better than sex.
I’m still working on an answer to that one…