I am making an attempt to leave my house more often, for uneventful reasons. I am happiest at home, in my little comfort-zone, and I generally leave only for work and to run assorted errands. The occasional social thing. I don’t really go anywhere for the sake of being there, if that makes sense.
Might as well give it a shot on a quiet Saturday while Coffee is working on the kitchen, one kid is ensconced in video games, and the other kid had to go to work.
After some thinking on it, I figured I would take my laptop to a coffee place downtown this afternoon and combine work with non-work. Do a little people-watching, drink some coffee, listen to music on my headphones and finish up some powerpoint presentations that need to be finagled. A nice background thrum of conversation (unlike the library) but nothing too busy.
I consulted with a coworker who forewarned me that the place I planned to go would basically just be full of clients – and for some completely insane reason, I semi-ignored him.
Ahem. I give permission for him to shout “I told you so”.
It was still a nice change of scenery. And it’s always kind of nice to see clients out and about doing things – things that don’t involve me, or require me to participate in any way. Clients living life and drinking coffee.
My student (I have a student following me at work) has been struggling with the overwhelming sadness that she sees in clients. I have had to remind her (the same way I often remind myself) that what we see, in our job/role, is often just a tiny piece of who the person is in the bigger picture of their life. Often the piece we see is bleak, at best.
Imagine working for a therapist, for example. You are seeing clients at a time when they are dealing with something specifically shitty (usually), often with wads of kleenex in their fists and red-rimmed eyes. That office, and that appointment, are a small part of their entire week – a week that might otherwise be filled with lovely friends, hilarious inside jokes, delicious breakfasts made by a loved one, fulfilling work days, time spent grocery shopping.. all the stuff that makes up a life. Not always, of course, but quite often.
And so, there is something really charming about seeing clients outside of work. Hanging out with friends, laughing, living life. It gives me a bit of hope and happiness – that they’re okay, they’re okay, they’re okay. I don’t mind having a conversation that’s unrelated to work. I don’t mind smiling and waving across a coffee shop.
But man, I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. At home.