I stood in court yesterday with a client on my left and a lawyer on my right and a judge in front of me, thinking, How can I bring the minds of these people to a point of harmony?  On the far side of the lawyer, his client stared into space.  The judge addressed the parties with an earnestness that could have been genuine.  I leaned on the bar which held my file and stifled my sigh.

Three hours later, after a long session in my conference room with that client, I sat in front of the monitor in my office staring at electronic mail.  The words blurred even more than usual and I drank water, hoping to combat whatever fog gripped my vision.  My client had said, You’re so passionate about my case, I feel like you’re protecting me, and a warmth overtook me.  That’s how you want them to respond.  That makes the effort worthwhile.

At my Rotary meeting, I stood doing the one chore that I have since officers changed, taking attendance.  I contribute in other ways but I’ve shrugged off the cloak of serious duty.  The bright eyes of my replacement tell me that I’ve chosen well.  I gave a few instructions and she’s making my former position as club secretary her own.  Later in the meeting, I quietly encourage my friend Jenna in making her presentation, adding a few side comments which make her laugh.  When she laughs, the room ripples with its answering call.  She sits down, happy, flushed; her fifteen minutes have gone well and I am so proud to know her.

After the meeting, she and I share a meal and a spirits flight at DISTRICT.  When the check comes, she snatches it and — wittingly, it seems — pays for both of us.  I add the tip and we walk down to Betty Rae’s where I buy dessert.  On stools in front of the window, we continue our conversation.  I’m twice her age but she’s a hundred times more confident and relaxed than I will ever be.  At one point the conversation touches on a mutual friend, and I say, I’m uncomfortable around him, he always complains about everything and everybody.  Suddenly I realize that I have scarcely grumbled all week except a few times, quietly, when things out of my control went awry.  Perhaps I am improving.  I make a note to tackle that under-my-breath malcontent and offer Jenna a taste of my caramel creme brulee.

I fell asleep last night thirty minutes before the witching hour.  As I drifted off, I remembered a little girl whom I tutored decades ago.  I recall her looking at the clock and giggling, Oh, it’s eleventy-thirty!   I wondered what became of that child, who lived in the worst kind of poverty, one room for a family of four, with a hot-plate, two beds, and a pile of rotting garbage in black trash bas.  What becomes of such children?  I asked myself this as drowsiness overcame me.  Still so much work to do; still so many children to help; still so many lives to improve.

It’s the fourth day of the thirty-second month of My [Never-Ending] Year Without Complaining.  I awakened to yet another dawn, so whatever my purpose in life might be, apparently I have not yet accomplished it.  Life continues.


Jenna Munoz  rocking her lizard shirt after ice cream at Betty Rae's.  And myself.

Jenna Munoz rocking her lizard shirt after ice cream at Betty Rae’s. And myself.

2 thoughts on “Eleventy-thirty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *