So imagine there is a street. And on that street there are a row of shops. And just where the street snakes around, there is a hip, vibrant little coffee shop. The vibe just ooooozes out of the place – along with aromas of crispy pancetta, freshly baked bread and sweet hot chocolate. Their latte art heralds the season, with ferns in the winter and tulips in the spring.
And imagine that you reallyreallyreally want to go in and order a Tulip cappacino. You just want to sit back, re-lax and chill in that place.
Because instead you have to visit another shop.
The Stress Stop.
The Universe has given you a shopping list and unfortunately it’s the Stress Shop where you need to go. You’ve been sent here so much recently that you’ve developed a theory that the Universe is going to keep sending you here until you learn the 3 P’s: Accepting the Sweet Bullshit of Bureaucracy and flowing with it (patience); the Art Of Not Throwing Up On Someone’s Shoes (poise) and finally agility in all manner of Stress Defence (Pooh) … bear Zen.
Today The Stress Shop has some real treats in store for you.
Several weeks worth of brain torture known as Psychometric Data Analysis required for a report, showing the psychological quantitive results of clients moving through your coaching/motivational programmes. You get to complete this treat in between one of the busiest periods of work. Just to make it a little more fun. You know how it is.
Just thinking about the data makes your brain feel like it has been basted in mentholly explosive combo of crushed Fisherman’s Friends and Wasabe.
Finally having a day off from work/forms and going to the Plantation Room (you love this place dearly) and ordering an Americano at the counter. The scruffy new guy (whose clothing and attitude do not match the place) proceeds to pick a SPOT on his acne abundant cheek, study the contents on his FINGER, whilst asking you if you want hot or cold milk. And he doesn’t even give you eye contact! You stare at him, open mouthed. A million thoughts gallop through your head. These thoughts are …
Where is he going to wipe that? Is he going to touch anything I will have to consume? Am I going to vomit on his shoes? No, no. I can’t vomit. But I feel like vomiting!! Should I say something? – Oh no, I can’t say anything. It might hurt his feelings. After all, he has got terrible skin. Poor lad ..
“Hot milk please,” you say … and then stagger, stunned to the leather sofa and sit stiffly down, pleased that his feelings have been spared. Silver lines. Oh GOD.
You book a hair appointment for your lovely Pix, who has been wanting to have her hair cut for ages. You have discussed styles and shapes and what she is going to do with her fringe. And finally, now that you’ve nearly mastered the data analysis forms, you get around to booking an appointment for 3 pm Saturday. This is in the salon that you’ve been using for years. And where you spend Quite A Choke Inducing Amount of Money.
The fact that you have spent such a Choke Inducing Amount of Money makes it feel a bit sad when at 3.10pm you are sitting on the sofa (patiently) and no one has even bothered to mention that Pix’s hairdresser is running late. And then another 10 minutes goes by and you’re still twiddling your thumbs. And then another ten minutes. Finally, at twenty five to four, the hairdresser strolls past to take payment from her client – and she doesn’t say “I’ll be a moment” or “sorry to have kept you” or even give you a slight eye-contact acknowledgement. Instead she continues gassing with the lady at the til.
At this point you stand up and declare, “come on Pix. We are going.”
And you determine never to use that hairdresser everevereverever again. So.
And this all comes sprinkled on top of a dose of school bullying, neurotic people (old and young and all female, interestingly enough), lost jpegs, massive homework projects for the kids and an on going attempt to one day actually manage to get divorced and get a mortage on a house.
Leaving the Stress Shop, you see that it’s now dark outside.
You pause on the pavement, gazing longingly up towards that little coffee shop. It’s too late to stop there now. In all the arranging and picking up and putting down and filling out and filling up, the day is gone and you’ve no time to sit down, breathe out and be Zen.
You jump. Spin around. It’s your lovely friend Jols. With a bottle of wine.
“Come to my house tonight,” she insists. “You know we were thinking of watching Les Mis? Well, now everyone has changed their minds and we are staying at mine instead.”
So, last night, at midnight, you found yourself in hot tub with Jols, Naughty N, Lovely Sarah and Nicola. It was pitch black and raining but the water was bubbling and hot. You drank red wine from tumblers and discussed the art of Reinvention Over The Age Of Forty. Not that you are forty. You are thirty two. Like me. So.
And the next day – TODAY – you get up and think, “today I am reinventing my schedule. Today I drink coffee with tulips on!”
You jump on your bicycle ignoring the sleet on your face and cycle to the warm place on the corner of the snaking highstreet.
Guess what?! That deli is THIS BLOG. It upsets me when I can’t come and frolic around here because Life Gravity starts kicking in. But at least today I COULD come here. And I did.
And it was Just Lovely. Love.