Monday, November 16, 2009


It’s the last of the really tough weeks (for this year; in January, a fresh set of challenging schedules clicks in). I’m sure, we, down on campus, all need a break. Between workload increases, budget cuts, furloughs, swine flu threats – it’s been quite the semester.

Last night at the shop where I moonlight, a most cheerful type came in to pick up a few items for himself. I pegged him as having had a good year. He seemed positively buoyant. Only when I took his credit card information did I realize that he was a top level UW administrator – not likely to be without work anxieties. Some people handle stress well.

And I do too. The previous night, when I had locked the shop and was counting change, a young man with pants halfway down his buttocks tried hard to get me to open up. He looked like he was running from someone. I didn’t let him in, but it didn’t strike me then that he may have been dangerously ill-disposed toward me (and less ill-disposed toward the momentarily opened cash register).

It is true that, for the most part, I stay level at times of crisis.

Of course, these days, I am spending time with a person whose stress levels are at his usual low. Ed, my occasional traveling companion, is unfazed by the cold weather (Brisk! Wonderful!), by the darkness of the night and the darkness of the day (turn off the lights! I like the dark..), by the onset of age (if you make it to 60, you shouldn’t complain), by too much work (retired; what more can I say). Sometimes I think the big decision for Ed is whether to read lying down or sitting up. In any case, I am around a guy who is very very calm.

We pick up bagels for a late (post moonlighting) supper of egg sandwiches and home-made broccoli soup.


In years past, I used to buy bagels at this place quite often. I remember those years: life moved rapidly in shocking ways and nothing was certain. Maybe I learned to shrug off stress then. Over a cup of coffee and a toasted bagel.


Tonight I’ll shrug off ominous threats of stress over a bagel again.

Good thing bagels are forever.