I love my job.
And while I do often have to say that out loud to remind myself (sometimes every 5 minutes…), it’s true. It’s almost as though God knew what He was doing when He put me here…hmm. I’ll have to keep thinking about that one.
Seriously, though, I get to build relationships with people all day, every day. Yeah, some of those people are crazy, but that just serves to make my job even better at times. And by better, I mean unpredictable.
There is a woman who comes to the Mission often. Not to check in or anything, but just to hang out. And by hang out, I mean yell. More recently, she’s been unable to make the trek for whatever reason, so she has resorted to yelling at us over the phone. The topics range from her apartment flooding every time it rains (I solved this by reading her the weather report. We didn’t have rain in the forecast for weeks.) to people following her to whether or not drug tests are actually pregnancy tests (they’re not, in case you were wondering). Sometimes she hangs up on us because she doesn’t like our answer, and then calls right back…maybe she thinks we’ll have changed our mind in that short time, I’m not sure.
We have found that we can predict her level of rationality by looking at her hair. As strange as that sounds, it’s been found to be pretty darn accurate. Her hair is neat and pulled back? Good to go. She’s wearing a hat that looks like she found it on the street right before she walked in? Danger! That means get ready to spend a good hour listening and nodding at what are hopefully appropriate times. The conversation could go any which way, and chances are high that everyone involved will be incredibly confused at the end.
But here’s the thing. As much as I joke about trying to get off the phone with her as fast as possible (My current record is under 4 minutes. She asked me about tax fraud, a subject which I legitimately know almost nothing about.), part of me understands what she’s about. Because really, don’t we all just want to be listened to and validated? The answer is yes, in case you’re unsure. There is something in us that aches for the approval of other people, and this woman is just much more forthright about it than the average (and mentally stable) person.
Thus, I remind myself-again-that this is why I’m here. I wanted to work with people who, among other things, just want to be listened to. So whether it’s listening to an angry rant about corporate America or a rambling narrative about various bus stops, I’m ready. And in the meantime, I’m getting the best hands-on lesson in patience ever!