Sunday, June 16, 2013

Everything I know about character, I learned from the drive-thru window

"Thank you for choosing to eat here, this is Katherine, how may I serve you today?"  "Thank you for choosing to eat here, this is Katherine, how may I serve you today?"  "Thank you for..."  Over and over and over.  I was taking orders for drive-thru, and the cars just kept coming.
You learn a lot about people when you do drive-thru.  You learn a lot about people doing any fast food position, but especially drive-thru.
People sometimes seem to think that fast food workers aren't worthy of being polite to.  And the person taking orders for drive-thru, it seems, is the lowest of the low.  I sometimes wonder if they think we're just voices, that they don't have to worry about really interacting with us.
You can tell a lot about someone's character just from how they treat you when you're serving them.  There is the occasional person who is downright rude, and there are some people who sound and act very grumpy.  But most aren't that bad.  Most just don't seem to care.  They will place their order  and answer all your questions, but they don't interact beyond that, and they usually don't say please or thank you.
Often, this is how the end of an order happens:
"What cheese would you like?"
"Pepper Jack."
"And what to drink?"
"Dr. Pepper?"
"Anything else?"
I read the order back, a little uncertainly.  Are they done or not?
"Your total will be (insert amount)."
At this point, I get one of two responses.  One is that they just drive away.  The other is "Wait, I wasn't done yet."  Well then, why didn't you say so before?!?
About 10% of the time, they don't even wait for me to read the order back to them, they just order and leave.  Or they wait for me to read it back and make sure it's right, then drive off before I can give a total.  Over half and perhaps closer to two thirds of all customers don't bother to say thank you.

Then there are the people who just sit there without saying anything when they first pull up.   You greet them, and they don't respond.  You have to just sit there wondering if they heard you, or if they're ignoring you, or what.  Again, somewhere between half to two thirds of people do this.  When things are busy, you are glad for the break, but it's still very frustrating.

And then there are the people who mumble so you can barely hear them.  I have several times turned up the headset so loud that the background noise, hardly noticeable usually, hurts my ear because it's so loud, and they still aren't loud enough for me to hear them.

One last class of annoying people: the ones with pickups.  Pickup truck motors are loud, so most drivers turn them off so we can hear each other.  The problem arises when they finish ordering, and turn their engine back on.  A very concentrated burst of sound blasts your ear, scaring you half to death, along with attacking your eardrum.

Those are the main groups of inconsiderate people.  The people with accents are also annoying, because it's hard to understand them, but they can't really help that.  Then there are the others.  The ones that say please and thank you, the ones that say, "Just a minute," when they have to take the time to look at the menu, the ones that speak up clearly.

After that come the few people who say, "Hi, Katherine!" before they start, acknowledging that I'm more than just a voice, more that just a fast food worker.  Occasionally, they'll even ask me how I'm doing.

And then there was the one person a few weeks ago.  "Thank you for choosing to eat here, this is Katherine, how may I serve you today?"
"Hi, Katherine, thank you for taking my order!"
I was blown away.  When she came to the window, I made a point to thank her.  She said something to the effect of, "Why wouldn't I?"  I have no idea who she was, I haven't seen her since.  But it's the people like her, who make you feel special when most people pass you by, who keep what remains of my faith in humanity alive.

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Monday, April 1, 2013

When Dreams Die

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  Life is getting crazier by the minute.  Anyway...

It's been almost five years now since I decided ballet was what I wanted to do.  Five years of pouring my life into dance.  Around two years ago, my passion solidified into a dream to major in ballet and then to open a studio and teach ballet.  So in February I went out to the college I want to go to to audition for that ballet program there.  It felt like a very solid audition to me.  A week later, I received a very polite rejection.  Cue the cloud of "Now what?", "I'm not good enough," "If only...", etc.
"If only..."  Ah yes, that magic phrase that instantly transports us to the land of imagining what might have been.  If only you had made that one decision differently.  If only that hadn't happened.  If only you hadn't been fired, if only the principal of your school hadn't said that one thing that stuck with you, if only, if only, if only.
And if only the ballet academy I'd been going hadn't decided that I was too old to keep dancing now that I had graduated, making me go to a different, less intense studio during my gap year, I might have made it into the program.  (At least, so my voice of insanity tries to tell me.  I'm doing my best not to listen to it.)
Don't get me wrong, I love my new studio.  It's just that, well...
Rejection hurts.  It took me months before I was even able to drive by the exit I used to get off at to go to my old studio, even though the fastest way to get to my new studio was past that exit.  The exit, for crying out loud, not even the building.  Every time I saw someone who went there, I would tear up.
When I did Nutcracker in December, I was told one day that the director of my old studio was coming to see it.  I almost couldn't go onstage, I was so terrified.
My old studio was the studio attached to the professional company here.  I had promised to take my sister to one of their productions in February.  It was really hard to even go into the theater (though once I did, I was able to enjoy it).
They also offer adult classes.  I have never been to one since I was told I couldn't be a student anymore, even though I have some good friends there.  For one thing, many of the teachers are the same, and I'm a little afraid of seeing them again.  For another thing, I have many memories of that place, and walking the halls again is going to be weird.  I've finally gotten up the nerve to go to the class tomorrow night.
So I've slowly been recovering from the rejection from my old studio, which partially ruined my dreams, but not dreadfully, since I found another studio to keep dancing, and to move up to a level to ace the audition (I had tried the year before, but knew I didn't have much of a chance then.  I had my backup plan in place: keep going to the old studio until the next year so I could get in next year)
And then I got rejected this year too.
Now my dream was really shattered.  How could I open a studio and teach if I couldn't major in ballet?  Everything I had worked for for five years was gone.
And then I remembered the other program.  It had been mentioned while I was at the college as an alternative way to be able to teach ballet.  It's called "Arts Administration", and, besides the possibility to teach, also teaches the business side to running a studio.  It's a much stronger major for someone who wants to teach.  Suddenly, my dream was alive again.  After a few weeks trying to make sure this was what God wanted me to do, I felt that it was.  So now I'm just waiting for some paperwork to go through, and I'm headed to the Arts Admin program.
My dream is the same, and it is different.  It's still the same end goal, but it's not at all how I thought I would get there.  It's an even better way.  Funny how God works like that.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

UPDATE: I went to the adult class last night.  There were even some friends from the studio there too.  When I learned that the director of the studio himself would be teaching, I almost turned around and went home, but I stuck it out.  He made a point of telling me that it was really good to see me, and that he had noticed me at Nutcracker and that I had looked really good, and he even told me "good" a couple of times during the class.  Once I got going, I had a blast.  I think I'm finally ready to move on.  There will still be those moments when I wonder what might have happened "if only," but I think I've finally gotten to the point where I can move on.

~Still dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day, and Real Love

I've made the firm decision not to date until I go to college.  I've also just started to find out how it feels when all your friends are starting to get engaged, and you're still by yourself (most of the friends in question are several years older than I am, so it's not like they're too young or anything.  Still gives you that feeling).
Valentine's day is next Thursday, and people were putting up decorations at work yesterday.  For a minute, I got that "I'm all alone" ache, and then I started to think.
What does Valentine's Day mean, really?  When you're little, it's the day you give valentines to all your friends at school, and they give you some back, and if you're lucky, you'll get one from the cute boy across the room, and you won't get one from the ugly slob who sits right in front of you.  But it's all feelings.
Then you grow up some, and get a boyfriend, and Valentine's Day becomes a day that he gets you flowers, takes you to a REALLY nice restaurant, not the middle-of-the-line nice ones you usually go to, and he tells you he'll love you forever, he'll only ever love you, and all that mushy stuff.  And then after awhile, you break up and move on.  So much for loving each other forever.  It was still just feelings.
Maybe when you get married, it's a little different.  Every year, Dad gets flowers for Mom, and they go out.  But then, he does both a lot anyhow, so maybe it's not that different.  And yet, around half of all marriages end in divorce.  So much for loving each other for ever.  They even promised, and it still fell through.  Even promises can't keep feelings around.
Why do we celebrate such a pointless holiday?
I think there are several reasons.  The first is that we all want to be loved.  We all want to feel like we are someone special, and we all want the closeness, the secureness (I'm doing a really bad job of coming up with a word for it, but I hope you know what I mean) that being loved brings.  So we make a holiday so we can feel especially loved.
Second, we all aspire to love each other forever.  Because we're all human, we grate on each other sometimes, often to the point where we decide it's too hard to try to get along.  But, especially in the beginning, you really do want to love each other forever.  So we make a holiday to symbolize what we are reaching for.  But often, we still can't do it.
So why bother?  What good does it do to commemorate a feeling, especially if we can't keep the feeling around?
I think Valentine's Day is supposed to point us to something--or someone.  When we were at our most unlovable, someone still loved us, loved us to the point that he was willing to die for us.  Feelings are notoriously fickle.  No one would die for their feelings, so this love can't have been just feelings.  He was willing to die for us to save us from ourselves.
It's this love, not feelings, but a deep love that overrides the feelings of the time that must exist if any relationship is going to work.  It's this love that we commemorate on Valentine's Day.  It's this love that we try for, even though we can't get it because we're human.  It's only through the One Who died for us that we can ever hope to achieve that kind of love.
Maybe when Dad goes out with Mom and brings her flowers, he's just trying to make it Valentine's day all year.  Maybe that's not a bad idea.

"The world points to paper hearts and romantic movies, and says "this is love."  God takes us to the foot of a cross and whispers "THIS is love."  -a paraphrase of a quote that I have no idea who originally said.

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Starting over

Nutcracker's over now, and I'm not sure it's set in yet.  I keep thinking, "when I go to Nutcracker tomorrow, I need to remember--oh, wait."
So pretty much all I have is work until the New Year, and when I'm done with work, I get to actually go straight home and hang out (what a novel idea!).  I want to spend the first week working on Christmas presents.  Dad wants me to spend both weeks working on cleaning/organizing my room.  I got him to let me do the Christmas presents this week, though, which is nice.  I'm sure after Tuesday, though, he's going to push for my room.  Oh, joy.  (What's worse, then I'll have all the presents to find somewhere to put, too.)

All of that aside, the world is demonstrating once again how fallen it is.  When a psyco takes a gun to an elementary school (or a theater, or a college, or wherever), and shoots people, it's hard not to realize we're messed up.  It's hard to ignore the sin around us.
Having lost a dear friend several years ago, I sort of understand how horrible it is for all the families, even though a friend is nothing compared to a family member.  If any of them happen to be reading this blog (I have readers in a lot of strange places, apparently), I am so sorry for your loss, and I am constantly praying for you.
To all of my quilting readers, I've been thinking that it would be really cool to make a quilt for each of the families of someone killed.  I'm thinking they probably shouldn't be bed-sized, probably between 3'x3' and 4'x4'.  If we can find the info, I'd love to personalize them, make them reflect that person as much as possible.  I think it would be a very tangible way of showing them that people do care.  If you'd like to do one, please comment or message me, including if there's one person you'd particularly like to do one for.  Thanks!

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Buying a computer, and other "fun" stuff

I've known for awhile that I'll need a computer at Belhaven.  Since the laptop I had for around for years finally died about a month ago, I obviously needed a new one.  So I went Black Friday shopping and got myself a computer.  Fortunately, it's a high quality one and it was relatively cheap.  Unfortunately, it's a Windows 8.  The most recent thing I used was an XP.

This means that I have a lot of catching up to do.  For one thing, there's no "Start" menu anymore.  I don't have all my programs at the touch of a button, I have to go figure out where they are.  I found out while I was waiting and waiting for stuff I needed to finish downloading that I also don't have Solitare and Freecell and all those little games you play when you're waiting for something.  The only games that show up as being remotely accessible are a few X-box games, and I think you have to buy even those.  I'm not sure how to get the little ones, either.

Another annoyance is that all of my things aren't where and what I expect them to be.  Instead of files, I now have "libraries", groupings of similar types of files (eg, I have a photo library, a music library, a movie library, etc).  I can still get to that menu by the same key combination (the little flag button + e), but I can't get it anywhere else because I don't have a Start button.

The keyboard is different from my old laptop too, because it has one of those ten key number pads, so the letter keyboard isn't centered.  That's the only one that I've adjusted to yet.

I still don't have it all figured out yet, but I'm hoping I will soon.  The one thing I do know for sure is it's name.  (Yes, I name my expensive stuff.)  My computer's name is Faith.  Since my car is named Esperanza ("hope" in Spanish), now all I need is something to call "Love", and a cool language to call it Love in, and I'll be fine.  :)

In other news, work is crazy since everyone is rushing around trying to do their Christmas shopping, and they need somewhere to eat.  I've been doing more hours, and they've been busier when I'm there.  My dance schedule is also crazy, with regular classes and Nutcracker rehearsals.  I'm also trying to plan my trip out to Belhaven for the dance audition in February.

Other than all of the above, though, I'm doing just fine.

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A week with no computer

I know--horrifying, right?
In today's world, it's hard to detach ourselves from our electronics, because most of our communication comes from there.  Even our phones are little computers now, sending emails and playing games, not just calling or texting.  I think we have a tendency to become addicted to screens, because we use them so much, and therefore feel slightly disconnected.
One of the hardest parts for me was that there's a game on the computer that I love, and I was starting to get pretty good at it, and it was hard not to try to get on to play it.  I predict that when I play later tonight, I'll be a bit rusty.  Fortunately, I'm not to the really hard levels yet, so I'll have some time to get back in swing.
I noticed I had more time on my hands, especially in the evening.  I try to make Christmas presents every year, and having a job has really cut into production time.  I got a lot more done on those than I had been.  I might need to set aside one day each week to be "project day," where I don't do anything except work on presents (and other projects, especially after Christmas is over).  Probably Saturday, or whatever day I'm off from work that week.
Another thing I noticed was that it got harder and harder to keep away from the computer, and then suddenly it got easier (though perhaps that might have been due to the screen time overload watching football on Sunday rather than that I was getting used to no computer.
I'm trying to figure out whether I'll try again for a week of no computer sometime.  It will have to be before I start college, since I will have to have the computer for a lot of that.  We'll see.

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Of forgetfulness, insanity, and lost children

I had an epic post a few days ago, and I couldn't get on then, and now I don't remember it.  I hate it when that happens.  I also hate it when I've worked so hard to learn a dance, and then they change it.  It's so hard to remember the change, and then you make the teacher unhappy with you.  Sigh.
My schedule has been crazy the past few weeks, with work, Nutcracker, cleaning my room, etc.  Being sick last week didn't help matters either, though it was nice that it hit over UEA weekend, so I didn't miss as much as I would have.
Emotional chaos, I've found, makes your day seem really long.  Thursday, a little boy got lost at work.  We were looking for him for probably fifteen minutes before we found him, and that was after his grandmother got worried enough that she told us he was missing.  We looked in the bathrooms, and in the play-land, to the point of me and another girl climbing up in the tubes to ask the kids what their names were.  It would have been kind of fun to get to climb up there if it wasn't so serious.  The play-land was where we eventually found him.  It turned out that when we had asked the kids what their names were, he had lied.  He probably thought he was in trouble, but he was probably in even bigger trouble because we thought he wasn't there.  His poor grandmother was almost in hysterics by the time we found him.  She was very glad to see him, but I'd hate to be the little boy after his grandmother calmed down just enough to get angry.  The day seemed to drag after that.  It seemed like so much had happened that it should be a lot late than it was whenever I looked.
Anyhow, so that's how my crazy life is going.  I keep feeling like there's something else I should be saying, either some great story or some brilliant insight or something, but I can't think of what it was, so I'll have to post it later if I think of it.

~Dancing for Him Who died for me.~