A Pat behind the veil


Here’s to seeking out stories (photo credit to Partner)

I got home from work today feeling like those flamingos in Alice in Wonderland that they use to play croquet with. Like someone had grabbed me by the feet and smashed me into things all day. Everything is a shit storm lately, every task is urgent, and I have three people all telling me to do the same thing three different ways.

Do it this way, no this way, no this way.

My poor head is spinning. The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was investigate anything in my free time. And yet, for some reason, I called Pat.

When I got my phone, probably ten years ago, I used to get all these calls asking for Pat. They slowed down over time and I hadn’t gotten one in years. I had forgotten all about Pat, until last week, out of the blue, I got another call. It was some company calling for him, I don’t remember what exactly they were calling about, but they used his last name. It takes so little to find a person these days.

A quick Pipl search later and I had his new phone number. I was curious who this person was, yes, but I probably wouldn’t have called except that the number (my number) is still associated with his REI account. I’ve tried several times to start an REI account (so I can stop borrowing Partner’s account) but they keep telling me my phone number is on someone else’s account. So, why not?

Ten years later and I am on the phone with Pat, chatting about REI. He’s joking that I’d better not steal his safeway gas rewards (he still uses my number for it). He is saying he still stops by REI on occasion and he’ll change the phone number. I am telling him that I found his number online, that I work for the Public Defender’s office , and so I’m practiced at finding people.

There is a real, living, breathing person behind a tiny little moment in my life. All I experience is a brief moment, a phone call for someone I don’t know. But there is a whole person, an entire life behind that little moment. There is a Pat behind those phone calls and he has a story all his own.

It’s a funny little reminder that the world is big and full of stories. That I need to keep seeking them out even when I am tired and feeling like a bashed flamingo. My feather’s are all bent out of shape but my ears, my eyes, and my heart are still working. I’m lucky. Life is beautiful.