In less than a week's time I have returned to the blank page, endeavouring to not so much resurrect the fallen writer I once was, but rather; to sift through the malaise of the last couple years and write with the voice of that this journey has defined and prepared it's release. I'm not attempting to amass statistics reflecting number of views, not looking to assemble a "readership." I wouldn't know what to do with a readership if one were to appear.
When this "blogging" began, perhaps 8 years ago, I've lost track; I had no idea anyone could, or would read my content. Then I discovered, quite by accident, the "back office" and learned in fact there were a growing number of people reading... I put some time and energy into trying to grow these numbers - both for the blog and a book that I eventually wrote. At this time, I need to write for the sake of writing. Writing will be, the end and the means. If history repeats itself, the act of writing will open some doors and close others. At some level the act of writing feeds me. I will let that be inspiration for now - to serve the urge to write. If it so happens that this pursuit produces content that touches, moves or inspires others; well, wouldn't that be wonderful?
A recent experience inspires me and/or restores my faith in the good forces at work in the universe. A couple weeks or so ago, I went to a local market on my coffee break. Along with a wrap I bought for lunch, I bought a cookie that was discounted due to be close to, or past it's best before date. Hey, I like a bargain as much as the next guy. When I proceeded to eat said cookie, I realized it was pretty hard. One would expect some dryness etc. from an a stale cookie, but this was really hard. Anyway, I was going to make the best of it. It didn't taste half-bad once some bites could be broken off. Still, maybe this spoke more about me "Jones-ing" for a cookie than any benefit from the cookie.
I was chewing on a piece that I managed to bite off, when I bit into something hard and "crunchy." At that point I suspected that despite the texture of this aging baked goods, there was nothing in the cookie that would crunch like that!! I spit out a couple of these hard chunks - that simultaneously I recognized and with a swipe of my tongue over my front teeth, recognized as pieces of my dental bridge!
The prevailing wisdom that followed was, well my bridge is broken (or at least the veneer of one tooth is) nothing I can do about it now, I might as well finish the cookie.
I got back to the job site and showed my co-workers what had occurred. This bought me some additional time to contact the dentist's office and see about an appt. They had an appt. that afternoon near the end of their day (which meant I needed to leave work early). They were sure, even if the bridge was repairable, that it would happen then and there. So I went in on the premise that this was to be an assessment.
The dentist was more than an hour behind getting to me - I guess he must have abandoned the idea he was finishing "at 4 p.m. (my scheduled time was 3:30pm - which I was early for).
He came in had a look and indicated that the only way to make an "effective" repair would be to replace the entire bridge (though he then conceded that, this bridge being itself, over 40 years old and himself doing a repair on it 5 or 6 years ago, was withstanding the test of time). I indicated that there's no way I can afford a new bridge - "let's set our sights on fixing this one!" He proceeded to do just that. I was pleasantly surprised to be having it attended to sooner than later, now I wouldn't need another appointment!
As one might guess, this was a costly turn of events, the cost of the repair was $375.00! I didn't have the money in my checking account - so for the time being I put the whole thing on my credit card. I had mixed feeling about that. I was grateful to have credit enough to cover the emergency repair - but I had been for sometime previous to this situation, diligently working on (now here I will say) resurrecting my financial status; part of which involved paying off my credit card. Now, I had a sizeable balance - again!!
I considered the situation for a time, and decided to take the money from an account I had been accumulating for the purposes of taxes next year and pay off the balance. I reasoned I could resume savings while at the same time would not be accruing interest on a credit card balance.
I then decided I was going to contact the store and see if there was anything they would be willing to do to compensate me. I was given a number of their head office - so I recounted the story once again. I was asked to submit to them a copy of the repair invoice and I included the receipt from the store that showed my purchase of the cookie (and wrap) to collaborate my story. I was informed that she would be in touch with their insurance people and get back to me. When she contacted me again - I was told that they would give me a gift card for their store for the equivalent of the repair bill and the grocery purchase, the combined total being nearly $400.00
I was happy that this unfortunate incident - which I had initially thought was going to plunge me deeper into a further financial abyss, had taken a rather unexpected turn for the better.
I had no idea of the significance of that gift card with respect to what the near future had in store. Two weeks before Christmas we were hit with a winter storm that dumped a couple feet of snow - the work week that was to follow was entirely lost and the week between Christmas and New Years, we were already scheduled to be off. Next my employer contacted us all and offered to switch our time off to the week lost to the snow storm and we could work some or all of the week that was originally going to be our Christmas break - by that time the snow had melted.
So as it happens I will have three days of unexpected work, I have been judiciously saving money from the previous cheque, there may be something in the way of "stat" pay included in this coming pay day and I have almost $400.00 on a gift card for groceries (which arrived via the mail today)!
I couldn't have imagined any of this would happen nor the way it unfolded. I might add, I made it a point to speak up regarding all that occurred to each of the various players I needed to interact with next. I did not however come in with "both pistols blazing," I simply shared the facts, and invited the parties involved to suggest what might be possible, from there I let go of expectations of outcome.
After what has now spanned years, of political, corporate, and media deceit, deception, coercion and manipulation (with a complete lack of accountability from any of them) - this recent incident and outcome, as I alluded to earlier was refreshing and restorative.
There is good in the world - for this I am grateful!
R. O'Neill December 29. 2022