Okay, I gotta be honest about my day. First off, there wasn't any Sarah in it. Now, my day at work- my first at my new position with CB&I was just fine- but here's the sequence of events that was my evening: left work at about 4:40 desiring to get to the post office before it closes (presumably at 5). I didn't understand the intensity of traffic in Plainfield/Naperville. I was coasting through green lights at first, but as it got closer to 5PM, I indexed along in sequence and started catching all the red lights. What's at stake here? $35 in rebate cash that need today's postmark. Middlin' on the bummer scale. 5PM comes and goes, but you know, it might be one of those post offices that is open until 5:30. Don't give up hope. Still more red lights.
Okay, so I make it- and- answer to prayer! It is open, and not just until 5:30, but until 6:30! Amazing! The post office I was directed to by my new work friend is the distribution center. But- bummer again, there's a long line, and all I need is stamps. Maaan, I gotta wait anyway. Hey- I wonder if there's one of those stamp vending machines in here? Well, now somebody got in line behind me, and I'd have to give up my spot in line to look... and I don't see one... not worth it, I don't think. (5 minutes pass) Now a woman is saying that the machine is broken. Null effect: there is a machine, but it is broken. I'll check that first on my next visit.
Alright, now I'm leaving the post office- but I don't know where I am. I just followed the directions to the post office, and I don't know if I went too far on 59 and am now past my hotel, or haven't gone far enough yet. I don't have a smartphone to check with. (Yet.)
I'll bet on having not gone far enough. Also, I need to get something for dinner. I'm hungry. Should I visit a restaurant, or go grocery shopping? On the pro-restaurant side: Immediate gratification, and there is a Sweet Tomatoes salad buffet quite close to the hotel which can help with my healthy eating goals. I wouldn't be grocery shopping hungry. I don't know if the hotel has pans to go with the mini-stovetop that's in the room. On the pro-grocery shopping side: I save money, and can get something to pack for lunch tomorrow, which also saves money.
I have plenty of time to ponder this, as there is a decent amount of traffic on the road, and the light I am trying to get through is timed instead of sensored. Very little traffic is going through the other way, but lots of traffic is backed up on my road. I watch a green-light cycle go by for the left turn I want to take because I'm trapped behind traffic and there's a median preventing me from getting into the turn lane. Grrr. Estimated minutes spent at stoplight: 6.
I get onto the main road again, and I see a Meijer. Snap decison time- grocery or restuarant? Decision made- groceries. Bonus feature: I can ask someone in the Meijer how to get to the hotel. Shopping: Pro: granny smith apples are reasonably priced. Con: have to wait to get sandwich meat at the deli. Pro: This is a pretty nice Meijer. Con: I don't know if the "10 for $10" sale requires you to actually buy 10. Pro: the deli guy gives me a sample of the turkey, I didn't even ask. Con: I grab the turkey but am immediately unsure if he was holding it out for me to take, or just to inspect, because he asked if the thickness was okay. Eat turkey anyway. Pro: bread is on sale. Con: I still don't know about these "X for $Y" sale prices. Pro: random lady in frozen foods aisle is friendly when I ask if she knows about the sales. Con: I don't know if random lady in frozen foods aisle thinks I was awkwardly trying to start a conversation and ask her out. Con: She doesn't know about the sales either. Pro: Meijer guy in dairy area tells me I don't have to buy 10 to get the 10 for $10 price. YESSS. Con: I don't know what to get for dinner that I can make in a hotel room that isn't really bad for me. Pro: I decide on canned soup, and find some on sale. Con: I am dragging out my grocery shopping because I have nothing to draw me away from the grocery store. Pro: Kalamata olives are reasonably priced. Con: self-checkout aisle scanner is acting up and doesn't want to scan. Pro: lady at in-store bank gives me some directions that I can infer my location from. Con: IT'S SO DARN COLD AND WINDY Con: I want to take a left to get onto that one road, but there's a solid median. Pro: Oh, the hotel is right there. Nice.
Okay, so here's the deal with the hotel: CB&I is putting me up in a hotel for the first little bit of work while I get my lodging figured out. More on that in a later post. Anyway, when I arrived last night, the hotel didn't have a reservation for me- alright, I thought that might happen, since I hadn't heard back from the training coordinator. I can put it on my card and get reimbursed, and things will get sorted out for the second night. So now I'm at the hotel for the second night- having re-packed all my stuff into the car again this morning since I couldn't leave it there, having only paid for one night. The hotel's computers are down, and he doesn't have a reservation for me in the stack of paper he's got. Okay, the system is coming back up right now. It's slow, and- no, sorry, no record of a reservation. Well, alright, on the card it goes again, and I'll do another expense report. Now, though, I have groceries in my car and the same conundrum as last night. I'm hungry.
What's the natural thing to do? Escape! Escape from the world! I get to my room, nuke a can of soup, and decide to watch a movie on my laptop. What's handy? I eventually settle on 2001: A Space Odyssey. I've never seen it, and it's got such a prominent place in movie culture, it must be good, right? WRONG! Crazy piece of film- it makes no sense at all, and only my misguided sense of finish-what-you-start keeps me from turning it off. Blech. I finish and waste too much time on the computer. Now it's getting late. I meant to hit the exercise room tonight, so I feel lame for not doing that. I feel lame for my focus on God being so up-and-down lately. What to do? Obviously, look at the olives I bought. I won't eat any, though, because I already had way too many of those 75% off close-dated almonds. Gee, what does 'thrown' mean in the context of an olive label? I wondered about that in the store. The internet tells me. I still feel empty.
Is this how God gets my attention? Has he intervened here to get me to where I can't ignore that I need him, or is it just so much the way that he created us that it is impossible to ignore that the hole in me is God-shaped? I pray. I sing a verse. I read Proverbs. I am reminded that yes- God is the center of the universe, and I am best when the God-shaped hole in me is being filled.