dispatch from the mall on Christmas eve
oh the times
When I was in high school, I worked at the restaurant at the mall in our town. It wasn’t just any mall. It was the biggest mall east of Montreal.
That’s quite a mall.
Not a super mall, nor a super store.
But a mall of remarkable mediocrity.
I was a dishwasher. At it’s best, I would sing and horse around and have a great time with my coworkers.
Other times, people were frantic, flailing and run off their feet.
Then there were the times when the manager was cranky. We couldn’t play. We couldn’t laugh. If I ate a french fry from the stainless steel bowl under the heat lamps, I would get ‘written up’. (not sure what ever happened to those letters but they seem laughable now)
At its worst, I would drift off in my imagination. I don’t remember the dishes I washed. I do remember imagining what I would buy with my earning. I remember calculating, down to the minute, how long it would take, how many hours, shifts, ramekins, and slotted spoons would pass by until I reached my goal.
Those times were brutally boring.
On Christmas eve, we had a party while we worked.
It began when we arrived at ten in the morning.
It ended when the mall closed for Christmas at 4pm.
The managers looked away.
The usual rules didn’t apply.
All around, there was a celebratory glow.
It’s over. Our work here is done. The most trying time of the work year was through. Now we can relax.
The subtext? We did this together.
People seemed loose. People seemed close.
People seemed satisfied with a job well done.
That satisfaction went a long way in terms of how we related to each other the rest of the year.
Satisfaction, and the pleasure it brings is something to be savored. When we skip past satisfaction, things rarely feel complete. We rarely feel whole. From there we end up driven from one thing to the next, seeking more, seeking optimization. Without satisfaction success isn’t just a moving target, it’s empty.
And we spend so much of our lives attempting to fill this emptiness with more things, more achievements, more stuff.
And that’s killing us and the planet.
Whatever you do on this 24th day of December, whether it’s celebrate with family or tolerate the inconvenience of the shops being closed, take a moment and let out a sigh of satisfaction.
It might not be real, but I know that you’re able to fake it till ya make it.
You know how the old saying goes:
If you’re crushing peppercorns, you’ll probably end up sneezing sometime.