Monday, December 15, 2008

We love our names and birthdays.

Barrett Cope studying in my bedroom for the final that we had just one hour after I took this picture. He is graduated from college now and on with his life. It's a cool cycle. I met him on his birthday when I was a freshman in college.

I just remembered that everyone has a golden birthday. Since my birthday is on the 23rd of November, when I turn 23 I will have an extra special golden birthday. And whenever I look at the clock and it's 11:23, it always makes me smile because it's a minute just for me. We attach ourselves to our birthdays. It's the only day in the year where you're the only one that is recognized. As humans, we like this.

I've also taken to saying everyone's name because we like to hear our names. Making the world a personal place makes it feel smaller to me and full of love. When my movie ticket was torn last night I said "Thanks Bryce." When we left Olive Garden I said, "Thanks Jennifer." I remember how cool it was working at the Adventure Science Center, talking to thousands of people a day, when that one person said my name.

I was stressing out about getting approved by Campus France, an intermediary at the French Embassy that must approve all students before they can apply for a visa. Everyone I talked to who has had to deal with them before told me they don't answer emails; they don't answer phones; they aren't nice; they're inefficient and their website is an abyss of confusion. On the 7th week of waiting for something that they said should take two, I called. I called and was pushed from one operator to the next and I was falling into my old thoughts that no one knows what they're doing, really. Then I just left a message on some answering machine that I wasn't even sure it was an answering machine. It said something quickly in French and then nothing, so I started talking.

Ten minutes later the nicest French lady called me back and talked to me and helped me and didn't give up and looked for documents for me. She said "All I can do is apologize, I don't know why this was pushed to the side." I was so elated I just thanked and thanked her. She said she would approve me within the next ten minutes. She would do it herself. "Thank you so much, Deborah! Thank you!"

Now I can go to Atlanta and get my visa. I've been told the people who work there are non-apologetic, busy, paper-pushers, but we're all people, right? There's nice in everyone.

Good thing that happened: It was cold, maybe 50 degrees, and drizzling rain on the last day of finals. I was walking through the courtyard between two dorms and I looked up and met eyes with a girl about my age or maybe a little younger. She had her shoulders up near her ears and arms folded in front of her, looking just miserably cold. When you meet eyes with someone, usually you just smile, or ignore it, but this time for some reason I said "You're almost home." She looked at me for real and said "I know," and smiled like she really was glad that was true.


trh said...

Thanks, Steph.

Barrett said...

Sometimes, when we want it, when we let it, there is magic in the world. When everything is meaningful and everyone is critical to the plot. Your interaction with the girl is an example of such.