I’ll admit it. It’s a work day, and I am goofing off. It’s one of those days where every task looks either insurmountably difficult or just too eye-rollingly boring. I pick things up and put them down again and again. Do you ever have days like that, or is it just me?
Super frustrated, I wander down the street for some caffeine. Maybe a reset will help.
Coffee in hand, and still not convinced I have it in me to get a single useful thing done, I follow a delivery guy back into my building. He holds the elevator door for me.
I study the four boxes on his handcart. They’re for us! Inside squeal. I know what these are. Things are definitely looking up now.
I start talking with the guy. I talk to everyone. This works exceptionally well for me because I have no children to embarrass.
So while I’m yammering with the delivery dude, I unlock and hold open the door. He hands me the electronic thingie to sign and he says, “So what do you guys do here anyway?”
Me: (blah blah blah my brief and generic answer about what one would do at a domestic violence coalition if one were not goofing off.)
Him: “I ask ‘cause I’m the victim.”
Me: (nonverbal tell me more signals)
Him: “Well, I’m really kind of on both sides.”
Me: (more nonverbal now-we’re-on-the-right-track signals)
Him: “Do you have places to send people? Like counselors? I mean I’m willing to be accountable for what happened. She’s not, but I am.”
Me: (Wow, he actually said the word accountable. I wonder where he learned that word and what he means by it?) “Well, you can only be responsible for yourself. You can’t control other people.”
Him: (Surprisingly knowing nod.)
Me: “SafePlace knows a lot more than me about who the good counselor folks are in town. Give them a call.”
Him: “It was my drinking.”
Me: (more sympathetic signals) “Yup, all those things get tangled up with each other.”
Him: “Yeah, I got 90 days.” (From the context, I assume he means sober, not jail time.)
Me: “That’s great! You have kids?”
Him: “Four. They’re proud of me. 90 days.” (I’m right, sober.)
Me: “Yeah, grownups need to get their acts together for their kids.”
Him: “Yeah.” (Gathering up his stuff.)
Me: “Really, call SafePlace. They’ll be able to help you. Good luck and hang in there.”
Him: (Friendly departure.)
Still wondering what was in the boxes that I was so excited about? Irony of ironies, and honest for real. Here’s what he was delivering: How’s Your Relationship? Conversations with someone about their abusive behavior.
This weekend, we gave 1,500 sets of these cards out to the crowd of people who showed up to run or walk or volunteer at the Goodwill Refuse To Abuse® 5K at Safeco Field.
My fondest wish is that you hear my story of the delivery dude and imagine that you can have a conversation this casual and kind. Support your friends, brothers, or delivery guys to take tiny steps. Help them because you can. Talk so they’ll figure out what they are doing that hurts themselves and others and how to turn it around. You can do it!
P.S. Feeling inspired to donate some money to this prevention campaign? Here’s a link to the fundraising page I set up for the Goodwill Refuse To Abuse® 5K. Donate today!