It is ever so easy to become numbed by the status quo. We complain about our lives, but do little to change them.
I once worked as an Animal Control Officer. It was a comfortable job, I loved working with animals and educating the public on living with wildlife (why did they move to the suburbs if they didn’t want raccoons in the garden?). I reported to the Chief of Police, which is to say I was largely unsupervised, spending my days roaming the ‘burbs enjoying the natural beauty just outside most people’s field of vision.
One day the Borough decided to privatize my position, contracting a private service to respond to complaints, eliminating patrols. After seven years I had grown quite comfortable with the routine, but my MS was starting to make me question the reliability of my ability to deal with the more dangerous situations. I wasn’t sure what to do next, and responded to an advertisement for job training available to unemployment recipients. An eight week course on photocopier repair with a placement service upon completion.
Pretty much everything you need to understand about repairing photocopiers you can learn in sixty seconds. If you can’t pick it up in eight weeks you can still find employment, I knew people who had made their living in the field for twenty years and never understood the basics, struggling with each new system as if it were a new universe to be memorized piece by piece. There is room for everyone, but in my second week of the course a representative from a local photocopier corporate office spoke to the class about “the business” and briefly spoke to us individually. The next week I had a job offer from his company. When my classmates graduated I had been employed by Minolta for a month.
The change was good, I was still on my own in the field, my mind was engaged by the occasional unique problem, and the vicious snarling dogs were replaced by vicious snarling customers who were much easier to placate. I moved on to Pitney Bowes, less money and less stress, after two years with Minolta, and over fifteen years had a wonderful time exploring the refinements as photocopiers moved from analogue to digital imaging. I never looked back at Animal Control, except for a brief stint at a “shelter” a few years ago when a friend was completing extra curricular courses for her Veterinary degree.
Life is like that. Sometimes the scary unknown is the most welcoming of doors.
So I started this article to tell you about my new toy and got distracted by the introduction, but it all fits together.
A few months ago I said goodbye to a dear old friend. My Cuisinart food processor was almost thirty years old, had seen me through three wives and a girlfriend who didn’t know not to place it on top of a hot oven. Facing the move to Belgium and 220 volt appliances, I had to let go of Margo (yes, I name appliances). Then, (surprise!), I didn’t move to Belgium. I wouldn’t have replaced Margo had I known I would be staying in the land of 110 VAC, but I was pressed to adopt a new food processor.
I was planning to make Tamales, gathered the ingredients, and realized my favorite tool was missing. I have yet to name him, but I’m sure this food processor is masculine. Maybe Jorge, we’ll see how he does Tuesday when I prepare the Tamales. He appears to have an Hispanic background, and lacks the gentle curves of Margo.
It still feels odd having Black and Decker appliances in the kitchen, makes me think of carving a turkey with a circular saw.
Change is supposed to be a good thing, we get away from the familiar and expand our understanding of the universe and our place within it. I was bummed out when I left the Police Department, but it led to a successful career and a number of experiences I would have never encountered otherwise. Margo is deeply missed, we had a lot of good times together, but Jorge has additional features and appears to be up to the job of replacing my old friend.
I’m still trying to define what other things in my life I need to let go of, and whether or not they should be replaced. It is scary, but it shouldn’t be.