Summertime schlep

Today driving to work I saw a middle school girl who was — without meaning to in the least — providing a perfect case study in how not to face your morning.
Here’s the deal:

It’s a beautiful June morning and she’s outside in a t-shirt & shorts. She’s 12 and it’s summertime. Life, I imagine, is her oyster. Skipping might be an appropriate physical expression of her comparative stress level at this moment, but she is not skipping. She’s not happy about where she’s going (or where she’s been), and as she schleps across the street with a sagging backpack following behind her, she practically leaves cartoon-squiggly anger lines in her dust. Her untamed tween-fro bounces all around her face, which she points downward with all her might. Her mouth has called in backup and her entire head is now a scowl.

I felt a little sorry for her — who knows what kind of hardships this kid might face at home or school. But I also had to giggle at her chubby, frizzy, grumpy slump.
I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT WHERE I AM GOING, her whole being says to the world.

And yet you’ll get there anyway, the world replies.

What my laptop sees every day.

This afternoon at work I rearranged my desk. I was the only one in the office after lunch, and I took the opportunity to put a little grunt work toward eliminating some grumpiness of my own.

I’ve heard that AA says you have to change your playground in order to change your habits. Today I moved around my monkey bars. Rearranging furniture, de-cluttering piles. These can be detoxing activities, no matter what your addiction.

Thanks, midtown middle school girl. You helped me clean up my playground today. I hope you find yours again soon. It’s summer after all, and you’re too young to be so good at schlepping.


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