Today I had One of Those Days. It started when I woke up, went to take something out of the freezer for dinner, and realised that I did not have the makings for a complete meal, meaning that I would have to go to the supermarket after what I knew would be a long day. I got to work to find that a meeting that required my presence had been scheduled without my knowledge, meaning that I had to re-arrange my day; in doing so I completely forgot a client appointment because today is Wednesday in reality and Tuesday in my head. The shit hit the fan (only a small amount of shit, but shit nonetheless) just as I was in a fraught meeting with another client; I then got back to the office to find that the database in which I should have written my case notes was on strike (an idea with which, by then, I was in complete sympathy), and another client appointment had been arranged which meant that I will likely have to re-arrange my whole week. In the meantime, I’d forgotten to put the lunch which I’d brought from home into the fridge meaning that it sat on my desk all day in an over-heated office (but three chcolate bars make an acceptable lunch, right?), and then I clocked my head on the corner of my desk reaching down to pick up the pen that I’d dropped. At which point the hour hand hit five o’clock (for which I was profoundly grateful) and I trudged all the way into town to face the post-work crush of a supermarket full of people who, like me, just wanted to get home with something to eat after a long day.
Then, as I was leaving the supermarket and heading to the bus stop, I was accosted by a girl. Maybe in her very early twenties, dressed in the eclectic attire of a university student working out who she is. My usual instinct (especially after the sort of day I’d had) is generally to avoid strangers, to keep my eyes on the ground and hope that I can get by unscathed. But this girl met my eyes, and because her eyes ware clear and there was no smell of intoxication (once a social worker, always a social worker), I returned her smile. Somewhat bizarrely, she told me that I was a beautiful angel, with awesome pink hair (the hair bit I agreed with), then she offered me a piece of pink chalk, told me that she was trying to make the environment beautiful, and asked whether I would like to draw a picture on the ground.
There was a moment in which I could have demurred, smiled and told her thank you anyway, and wished her all the best. But she was so exuberant, and she had such a lovely smile, and she was the nicest thing that had happened to me all day. So I took the pink chalk, broke several city by-laws, and carefully drew a pink panda bear on the concrete. I handed the girl back her chalk, wished her a nice evening, accepted a hug (I don’t hug strangers – but for some reason, this one was different) and then turned to walk to the bus stop – only to turn back and call out to her that she’d made my day. To which she responded with a flow of compliments and good wishes and as I carried my groceries to the bus stop I was grinning.
Such a random and slightly strange thing to happen. Not at all what I expected. Fun is not something with which I often naturally engage – but tonight I was glad that I did.
One definition of an angel is a messenger of God. Some tiny part of me, the part most removed from my left-brained rationality, wonders whether this chalk-bearing spark of life might just have been one. Stranger things have happened.