Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gratitude Schmatitude by Angie Ledbetter

Yeah, today I’m grouchier than the average bear, and I’m not even sure why. It’s probably a combination of several factors – constant interruptions when I’m trying to write, people who don’t come through for you when you think they will, frustration over sidetracked goals, teenage angst times three in my household, and even traffic woes (I could write a book on the traffic situation here since we almost doubled our population with New Orleans evacuees after Hurricane Katrina).

I can usually get myself out of a blue funk quickly by counting my blessings or trying to gain perspective by seeing the bigger picture, both hackneyed aphorisms, but effective nonetheless. But something’s off kilter today because even the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the house isn't doing the trick. What to do now?

Well, I could “wallow in it” for a while and see if that improves my attitude, or I could vent to a friend – usually a good way to drain the poisons – or I could just press on in my daily routine and “fuggetaboutit,” as Stephen King says in his book on writing. But, wait! I say to myself. You forgot your secret weapon for getting outside of and over yourself. Do something unexpected for someone else (even and especially a stranger). My favorite of these gorilla random acts of kindness is paying someone’s restaurant or coffee shop tab. The confused-turned-delight look on the stranger’s face is always good for a jolt to my outlook. I bet that Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, who anonymously gave out hundred dollar bills every Christmas felt like a king all year round. His generosity will be missed.,2933,243578,00.html

Okay, now that I have a game plan, I feel better. I’m looking forward to surprising someone in the bookstore cafe to ambush at the cash register.


Kathryn Magendie said...

I'll be at Joey's Pancake house on Soco Road at 10:00 a.m. - be there with your checkbook *LAUGH*

I never think to do that - I always worry someone will feel insulted or think I'm a shmeirdo, but that's because I am a suspicious person, so I direct that onto everyone else -

How do I get out of a bad mood? Ketel one vodka that's how! Okay, kidding, but I've had my moments of wallowing on the couch after a rejection, Ketel one in hand, chocolate bon bon at the ready, slobbering in my glass at the injustice of it all! *snort* I give myself 2 days, 3 days TOPS of feeling sorry for myself, then it's back to it woman!

Barbara Quinn said...

After you find Kat, I'll be at Panera Bread at 10 so surprise me there. ;-) What a great idea to lift yourself from funkland. Once, when I was newly married, and my hubby and I went to dinner, when the check came the waiter told us dinner was paid for. Wow...we were incredulous. The staff would not reveal who had paid. I still remember that night. We never found out who our benefactor was, but it did affirm my belief in humanity.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Okay, gals, the post CLEARLY talks about surprising STRANGERS! LOL.

Barb, the affirmation you got after being treated to supper is a confirmation to me to keep on keeping on. ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Dang....well, I can act strange....

Nannette Croce said...

Hi Angie,

What a unique idea. As long as it's coffee and not someone's bar tab. That might, um, be taken the wrong way?


Mary Ann said...

You've rescued this simpleton from descending droopy-whoopies. I've been on the couch, vertical, that is, allowing that lovely inscription I found in a class textbook to play and re-play in my head. What if the kid's right, and I am "one ugly hoe"? Er, re-playing, both recent "incidents," since there was also that beautiful verbal appreciation of my competence or "terrible" lack there-of? Spouted loudly. Before the entire class.

Let's go somewhere and do a "guerilla act of kindness," as you put it. Love that.

The best judgment of a good man's life is the random acts of kindness and of love . . .Wordsworth (just slightly paraphrased from "Tintern Abbey) Leave it to a Romantic poet from the hippie paradise of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth hundreds.

"All you need is love." The Beatles

Good for you, randomly sowing seeds of love.

As always, a finely written column with an "Angie" solution to a problem.


Elaine said...

Sometimes the "funk" just hangs in there! It usually happens when the weather is cold, damp, rainy and truly depressing. I was very happy to see the sunshine finally peek through today...but then I was wishing for warmer weather, the surf sound of the beach, and for it not to be Sunday already! Your idea is the best though...doing something for someone else does take you away from the "funk" and helps put things back in perspective! I just start cooking like crazy and calling everyone I know to come eat. At the end of the day, I feel a little better and find that then I'm too tired (or maybe too old to remember) and forget that I was in the "funk" at the start of the day.

Helene Wall said...

What a great blog! Thanks for letting me in Angie.

For those who don't know me, I'm Angie and Elaine's goofy cousin Helene who was REALLY in the dumps today when I went to the WRONG CHURCH for family mass. Ahh yes, blonde is beautiful.

Have a wonderful week ladies!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Elaine & Helene:

Thanks for stopping by! I got to surprise a little old gentleman behind me in line last night at the bookstore. He couldn't believe he was getting a "free coffee." And I got several, "Well, bless your heart!" thanks.

Elaine, cooking's one of my therapies too. Nothing like chopping veggies, is there? (Onions are nice for a good cry too.) ;)

Helene: Yes, dear, blonde truly is beautiful! See you soon.

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