Juggling Oranges

Posted on February 28, 2014. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

cute_oranges_by_annacabinet-d35xf2t

Tuesday was one of those days I wondered why I do what I do for a living. Why, exactly, am I here? Nothing was going as planned. The day was supposed to be devoted to grant writing. A deadline is coming too quickly. Just a matter of days.

The disruption started at 5:42am with one crisis and then continued until well past 7:00pm. It’s always the small things that get you, and the immediacy they demand. A coaching situation to resolve right now, a shortage of supplies at three sites to be remedied today, a promise to 18 girls that must be kept.

The confusion in time zones that causes you to miss a call you’ve had scheduled for two weeks.

And then the big things:  Remember that conference on Thursday? Guess what? You get to deliver a piece of it. Start preparing. Oh, and, to help, our team will have a one and a half hour conference call this afternoon.

Timing is everything.  How to participate in a conference call while driving to three sites and take adequate notes while running supplies into buildings? We are on point number two in the call, two points away from my piece. Surely I have time to sprint up to the school with 15 pounds of oranges, drop them where they belong, and sprint back to my car with my phone on mute before they ask me for my input? Barely. But I try. I can still answer questions out of breath, car door slamming, engine starting before I break three laws and drive in a school zone with my phone on speaker, resting on my knee.

But I am irritated. Anxious. There is too much to do and not enough time. I hear my other line ringing and messages piling up. Hear texts chiming, emails accumulating. My eye is on the clock and I’m thinking about the grant and remembering the other phone calls I was to have made today. An office day, it was supposed to be, an administrative day. A day to write that grant.

As I sprint two blocks from my car to the last school, up two flights of steps, and down the hall juggling another 15 pounds of oranges and my phone, muted conference call still going at my ear, I see her come out of the bathroom.

I don’t know her name, but I know her, this little girl. We met last week when I subbed for her team.  She is shy, chubby.  Tilts her head down and smiles bashfully when she sees me.  She is wearing a chain around her neck, the chain she got in Girls on the Run to collect little sparkly feet on. One foot equals one mile.  The girls accumulate feet all season as they accumulate miles.

One sparkly foot dangles from her chain. Last week, her teammates each got at least two feet. One girl earned four.

She stops walking and stands there quietly in the hall, rocking a little from side to side.

I know this girl.  Shy, chubby, not athletic, wanting to speak but too timid to do so. Waiting patiently just the same. She is me when I was 9, 10.

I take the phone away from my ear.

“You’re wearing your foot,” I say.

She nods slowly, smile broadening, and raises her hand to her chain.

I nod back. “Think you’ll get another today?”

She nods again, a look of determination deepening her smile, and clutches her foot.

“I think so too,” I say.

She raises her chin just a little and walks proudly back to her classroom.

“Hey?” I hear someone say my name and I remember my call. “Are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here,” I take the phone off mute and watch the girl walk down the hall.  Now I remember why I’m here.

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: