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All labor that uplifts

26 Sep

Not a day goes by without me reflecting upon my decision to leave behind a well-constructed professional life that I loved, excelled in, and for which I was remunerated handsomely in order to pursue a radically different, wholly unbuilt life with no clear end-game. Something like 96% of the time this self-questioning appears like a metaphorical phantom floater in my mind’s eye: A barely perceptible annoyance that may not actually be real. 

But sometimes, like most of this past week, I see the disconnect, disparity, and despair more clearly and find myself deeply, truly lost in regret about: 

  • The mind-bogglingly negative financial repercussions;
  • The soul-crushing agony of knowing that there are legal wrongs that I could/should be helping to right;
  • A hopelessly negative spiral of doubt regarding my ability to “succeed” or, more importantly, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others (or even myself).

Ugh. Not cool. And my bike riding (admittedly half-hearted as of late) has yet to fix this.

Sigh…

So, there I was, trudging my way onto campus, mired in doubt and self-recrimination, thinking about how stupid, stupid, stupid I am, totally lost in my negative thought-spiral, NOT paying attention to my surroundings, when I hear—from about 150 meters away:

TACO TUESDAY!

Gotta get there. Get there safe. Love it. TACO TUESDAY! 

Your turn now. Go on.

Diagonal cross?

Yes. Yes please

Atta girl. TACO TUESDAY!

And with the most radiant energy and authoritative wave of his white-gloved hand, Hank’s booming, smile-encrusted TACO TUESDAY! halted cars coming at me from 5 different directions in the midst of a fantastically Effed-up construction zone.

TACO TUESDAY!

I wish you could hear him say this. 

I wish you could see him say this.

I wish you could feel this….

This smile that directs and magnifies the voice that booms the words “TACO TUESDAY!” in order to grab everyone’s attention so perfectly and thoroughly . 

TACO TUESDAY!

<a/k/a: attention everyone!>

Draws everyone in. 

Makes them look up from their damn phones—drivers and pedestrians alike. 

Makes them shake loose from their negative, unproductive thoughts. 

Makes them take stock of where they are. 

Makes them literally stop—completely and definitively if they are in cars, or momentarily and cheerfully in the case of harried pedestrians.

When Hank is on duty, not only does everyone get to their destination safely, they also invariably arrive with huge smiles on their faces.

When Hank is on duty, I feel so grateful. 

  • Here is a man who loves his job, and it shows.
  • Here is a man who cares, deeply, about every stranger who (literallycrosses his path each day, and they are made better for it. 
  • Here is a man who understands that conventional wisdom can suck it because cheerfully calling out TACO TUESDAY is way more attention-grabbing (not to mention more fun!) than blowing a damn shrill police whistle.

Fuck-yeah, Hank!

I know that you used to be a “real” cop and that your friends all thought you lost your damn mind when you chose to give it up to do this instead. But you had a vision for yourself. You wanted to “make the streets safe for everyone” and, by gog, you’re doing it—quite literally!

You’re doing it better than anyone ever has (or probably ever will).

And you reacted like an absolute champ and pro when I (I, CZ!!) spontaneously gave you a great big giant HUG (rather than my customary fist-bump or high-5) during my 4th and final street crossing today.

TACO TUESDAY!

Thank you for reminding me of, and personifying, the words of Dr. King:

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

TWAB of you, Hank.

Thank you. Even though you know I was making my way to Sam’s Truck to get myself a veggie burrito with bacon, Taco Tuesday was still absolutely the right call for me today.

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