About a month ago I was surveying a home in the near North side of Chicago. The client was supposed to meet me at the site and pay for the survey. When I knocked on the door a lady opened and let us into the yard and informed us that her husband was on his way to pay for the survey. The lady was pale and skinny. Her skin was spotty and wrinkled and her eyes had rings and looked tired. She looked as if she had a long night and maybe hungover.
When her husband showed up he also looked pale and tired. His body was slow and sunken. Long night indeed. Their yard was messy and unkempt. Their walkway had not been shoveled and the dog crap had not been cleaned up in weeks.
After the job, I quipped to my partner about how drug addicts all looked the same and had the same tells. I spoke freely from experience having been an addict myself as a youth. Anyways, We both laughed and continued on our days.
Today I had a job in the West side of Chicago. I had a note on the cover sheet that the client was going to meet me at the site to pay for the survey. I called the man and half an hour later, he showed up. As he exited his car and approached me, I recognized his face.
" Hey, how are you doing?" He said, extending his hand.
"Robert?" I asked. He nodded and I shook his hand.
"You did another job for me right? In the Northside?" He asked.
"Yeah, I did." I said with a smile
We spoke for a while and we joked about the neighborhood and how it really isn't the best of neighborhoods but because the Highway was so close it was a good place for him.
"Yeah, I'll probably stay in the 2nd level when my wife stays at the hospital. My wife had organ transplant surgery and the hospital is like 5 minutes away so if we had to, it would be a quick drive."
Just as he spoke those words and continued to speak, I instantaneously re-lived our last meeting. I saw his wife open the door and noticed how much the surgery took its toll on her body. The weight she lost because of the medication. How tired she looked because of the lack of sleep from the
pain she was feeling. The sleeplessness was so bad that it caused rings to form under her eyes. When her husband showed up, I quickly noticed how tired he also was. I could tell that he's been waking up to comfort her when the pain from the surgery and recovery wakes her up. Sitting by her bedside at the hospital left his skin pale from being out of the sun. The stress has left his body sunken and slow. So much of their time had been devoted to the surgery and recovery that little side tasks have gone unattended, like shoveling the snow and picking up the dog crap. so much energy focusing on her getting healthier and him supporting the woman he loves .......
"Ok, so I'm just going to leave the money in your car. Not a good neighborhood to be flashing money around." He said
We shook hands and he left.
I always speak about growth and the constant pursuit of growth. It's these kinds of moments that push me further on the path I'm on. Though at no time did I ever let my judgments known to anybody but my partner in a quick mockery and at no time did I treat the people with disrespect, I still felt like an asshole. This reality had no life until I gave it life and after realizing it, made me feel like a jerk but I also felt lucky for getting this chance to confront some of my bad habits. I'm reminded that as much as I feel I know, I don't shit about shit and that's a very humbling experience. I accept my actions and am ready for the reaction.
April 17, 2015