Reflection Sunday: Time Made Me Bolder
When I was nineteen, I worked as an account clerk for the City of Henderson, Kentucky. I sat all alone at a big, curved desk in the lobby at city hall. I wore one of those ridiculous headset receivers and answered the switchboard. I took messages for everyone in the building. And when I wasn’t taking money from grumpy taxpayers or putting returned payroll checks in numerical order, I was listening to Muzak and counting and rolling the filthy change collected on city buses.
“Grant,” I called the city manager by his first name one day as he walked through the lobby.* “I have messages for you.” I held up a handful of pink message forms as he made his way over to my desk.
I was waiting for him to take his messages, but instead he condescended. “You should just give those to my secretary.” He tapped the counter in front of me twice with his open palm and he walked toward the elevator. Embarrassed that I had apparently spoken out of turn, my cheeks flushed. I went from 5 feet, six inches to two feet, no inches in a matter of seconds. Grant rode the elevator all the way up to his office on the third floor.
Stevie Nicks was signing in the background, when a middle-aged Henderson resident came around the corner to pay his city wheel tax. Holding his registration in front of him he paused and looked up at the Muzak speaker in the ceiling. He swayed a little and closed his eyes. Opening one eye, he looked at me. “Do you mind?” he asked. “I need a moment with this song.”
I just shrugged.
When he and Stevie were both finished, he said, “One day it’ll mean more.”
*Grant wasn’t actually his name.