Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Not So Insignificant

When someone asks about influential people in your life, you're more likely to think of a relative or good friend before you do some stranger you only met once. And how often do you think of an enemy as significant? Sometimes the most noteworthy people are the ones that will never know you intimately: authors you'll never meet, anonymous artists who spray paint feelings on walls, coworkers who only know one side of you, and blogger friends who understand so much and see so little.

Sometimes I wonder who I'd be if not for the millions of hands that have directed me.

* My father once gave me a silver dollar for "luck." It's one of the only gifts he ever gave that truly meant something. But this story isn't about him. It's about the man, the stranger I will never know, who saved it for me. I've carried the coin for ten years, seven years more than I would have. My friend and I had skipped school that day, too hungry to stay at lunch and too prideful to beg food off our friends. So we cleaned out the car for change and headed to Subway. When we reached the register we realized we were exactly $1 short of the bill. I reached into my purse and pulled out the silver dollar. "I guess I could use this. It's not like it's rare or anything."

I laid the coin out on the register and instantly regretted my decision. So we sat down and ate our food and I briefly told my friend how I'd come to have the coin. She must have known how guilty I felt, but the food was good and there was no taking it back. Suddenly a man walked toward us from the counter. I don't even remember what he looked like. Was he old? Was he fair? Who was he? What I remember is the way his hand brushed against the table as he slid me my coin. "You shouldn't give away things you care about," he said. As quick as he'd come, he was gone. Sometimes I wonder, does he remember me? Does he know how much that meant?

* I was new. She had been with the company for seven years. I was actually excited to be sharing a cube space with her. Maybe she would be my mentor? She was 60-70ish, thin, short, and lovely. She wore bright floral skirts and expensive shoes that announced her arrival with the clicking of heels. I admired her and secretly hoped that I might age as well someday. But, she was NOT as thrilled to meet me as I was to meet her. At what point did it start, I wonder? Was she determined to hate me? Or did I personally offend her that much?

She said I smelled. She claimed to be allergic to the very scent of me. I was banned from wearing perfume, lotion, and hair products. She coughed when I entered the room and continued throughout the day. She declared that I made everyone else in the office miserable because I made her suffer. She made ridiculous claims that my deodorant gave her hives. She called me indignant and disrespectful to my back and whispered "advice" to my face. It was a nightmare. She finally left, and everyone knew it was because of me. I think about her every morning as I put on lotion and perfume. It's because of her I will always take care not to tread on the people below me. Because of her I will be a kinder person. I hope she found happiness.

What seemingly "insignificant" person has influenced you?

Daily Hoop Conversation:
Tink: I wish I had ta-tas like that woman on TV.
Hoop: You know, Wal-Mart sells enhancement pills for women.
Tink: Pfft. Those don't work.
Hoop: How do you know?
Tink: Fine Hoop. I'll go out tomorrow and get some breast enhancement pills, OK? You happy now?
...
Hoop: I don't think you should be mad at me right now.
Tink: No?
Hoop: No.
Tink: And why's that?
Hoop: Because you totally set me up!

Daily Hoop Conversation 2:
Hoop: I love you.
Tink: I love you more.
Hoop: If you really loved me more you'd do my homework.
Tink: Now who's setting who up?!

DOT: I've added three pictures to
Twisted Tink. Can you find them? They're a bit crude. But it's the closest I could come to showing you the images in my head without help from some very expensive programs I don't have...yet. One can hope :). Let me know what you think. Don't be afraid to be critical!

18 Comments:

At 02 May, 2006, Blogger TB said...

First off, love the Tink illustrations, especially Snow. They remind me of these lenticular fairy tale books that we had when I was a kid in the 70s. Anyone else remember those?

Secondly, those vignettes were both lovely and well told. Great post today!

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Odd Mix said...

I really liked the story about the dollar! Very cool.

My fifth grade teacher and my college advisor influenced me a great deal.

And when are you going to turn on word verification?

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger EE said...

Oh cool Tink, so what was available in your area?!?! *snort*

I loved your recounts. My art teacher in high school was a huge influence (course everyone in school thought I was having an affair with him...I wasn't, lol). Also my grandmother, but in a very negative way.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Mignon said...

Your first story makes me want to go out and do something good today. *thinking, thinking, thinking*... guess I could feed the kids? let those dandelions live to see another day? Hmmm, should come up with something better.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Arabella said...

I have a sudden urge to slap skirt-lady. You had a much classier reaction to her.

Good post.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger mama_tulip said...

Wow. You handled the situation with cubicle lady better than I think I ever could have.

My highschool math teacher was so good to me, in so many ways...I will never forget him or what he did to help me through really difficult times.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Pixie LaRouge said...

Once upon a time, I met a guy who would change my entire life. He was dating a friend of mine. When my friend died, he moved away. We talked once more, but it hurt too much to stay in touch. I don't know if he's sick. I don't know if he's alive. But those few months I knew him stick very tightly in my heart. Sometimes I still see his laughing green eyes. Sometimes I can hear his voice, telling me what I already know but don't want to believe, just like he always did from the instant we met. I miss him more than any friend I ever lost.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Tink said...

TB: Aw, thank you! I wanted them to look almost pasted together. A little surreal. I'm trying to get my hands on my Mom's Photoshop. So they might be improved in the future. :)

Odd Mix: *Grumble* Soon, I guess. I was hoping the spam people would just go away. Not so. They've hit me three times today!

EE: Alright, I want the scoop on your gma. I can feel an interesting story coming on.

Mignon: LOL Feeding the kids would be a good thing. I'm feeling awfully charitable today too. Maybe I'll let the dogs eat poop.

Arabella and Mama T: It wasn't easy. I'm not very good at holding my tongue. It was sort of a test. A test I was determined not to fail.

Pixie: Have you ever tried to look him up? Or would it be too weird?

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Foo said...

Damn, girl... that was, like, poetry. Outstanding.

My seemingly insignificant person was actually a couple of my classmates in grade school.

One was a boy who was very good at sports. His family had some money, so he always had the latest cool toy, a minibike, and the fanciest bike that was available. He knew he had it going on, and he let everyone know about it. Most of his sentences began with "I".

The other was a girl who was very shy and had straight oily hair. She wore faded dresses and badly-scuffed shoes that were slightly too large for her. She rarely spoke, but sometimes I'd catch her off to herself, away from the other kids during recess, singing to herself when she thought no one heard. She had a sweet beautiful voice, but would stop if she discovered I was there. When we did art projects, hers were always the most beautiful and somehow captured the essence of the subject better than anyone else's work.

I thought she was magic.

From these two people, I learned that if you have some talent in an area, it's better to use that talent and have others recognise and appreciate it on their own than to shove it in their faces and be detestable for it.

[echo effect] "Showboat, showboat. It's a wonder you can float..."

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Newt said...

Thanks for the stories. The coin story gave me chills. Twice you got a beautiful gift.

I had to blog my influences for fear of hogging too much space. I just had so darn much to say.

I can totally relate to EE it's nice to know there are more than a few evil grandma's out there.

Thanks again for sharing Tink, it was a wonderful read today.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Tink said...

Foo: "I thought she was magic." I love that. I remember back in Kindercare, I had a boyfriend named Stephen with big ears. I used to con the other boys into chasing me so he could "rescue" me. My Mom tells a story about him giving me a candy machine ring, that I promptly lost.

Later on he gave me a broken Opal ring. And as our Moms took us to our separate cars he called out my name and said, "Don't you lose that ring, cause it's the LAST one I'm giving you!" I lost it a week later. But I never lost the memory of him. Sometimes childhood memories are the strongest. Isn't that strange?

Newt: Feel free to hog all the space you want! But I'm glad I was able to help with the blog fodder. I'll stop by and check it out. :)

LOL My word verification was "Geefir." Next is going to be "Willikers."

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Chelle Y. said...

Tink, those two stories were so inspiring, good and bad. I think the "kindness of strangers" is one of the nicest things in this world. I love hearing stories like that.

The other story makes me think of how I treat people. I do not want to be like that lady, now or in the future. You're so kind not to retaliate back. Poor woman. Maybe she was having a hard time at home.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Mignon said...

Why did you resist the word verification for so long? I kinda like them. It's like getting a (scrambled f*d up) Easter egg at the end of ever comment I make.

 
At 02 May, 2006, Blogger Jay said...

I have had co-workers like that lady before, unfortunately I was not mature enough to handle it like you did. I never really took the time to find out if there was a legitimate reason for their acting like that or if they were just ass-holes. But, if I'm in the same situation again I will handle it differently. I hope.

 
At 03 May, 2006, Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

I love the coin story.

I told a story on my blog a couple of weeks ago about starting my own business. I have to say the guy who gave me my first account had a huge impact on me. He had absolute confidence in me, even when I didn't have it in myself, and always gave me pep talks about my career the entire time we worked together. He's a big executive now at NBC - I often think about contacting him after all these years.

 
At 03 May, 2006, Blogger R. Robyn said...

I can't think of an "influential" person, but there is a friend of a friend who I only spent 3 days with, last year. Every day he comes to mind. When I have good experiences, my brain redirects me to him. As if for some reason I should be sharing these with him. (it's not a love connection though, sadly, he is gay, and happily, I'm engaged.)

 
At 03 May, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

That silver dollar story gave me the shivers... How wonderul!

 
At 03 May, 2006, Blogger Pixie LaRouge said...

Tink, we talked once after I moved back to OK, well, a year after I moved back. There was a lot of quiet space in the conversation. He said I love you. I said I love you. Then he had to go. I knew he wouldn't be calling again. It was a very "the end" moment. And I'm too afraid of what I'd find out if I did try to track him down... (and he has one of those really, REALLY common names, so it'd be darned near impossible! ;) )

 

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