Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Things can change instantly.
For the better or for the worst.
With one phone call.
With a single decision.
Out of the blue.
A second ago you were headed left and suddenly you find you are going right.

I complained recently about the woes of small town living in an obscure tweet. I was passed over for an opportunity because (I believe) of a previous incident I had with another mother. She helped my child do something I had forbidden (and was incidentally illegal). It wasn't an ugly encounter but nonetheless I had approached her and asked her not to "help" my kid like that again.

Unbeknownst to me, this was the same woman sat on the decision making committee. It was decided I was not to be included.

Like I said, small town.

However, later that same day I was thankful for the small town bubble.

I had literally just walked in the door. I had been gone all day. I spent my day working at school only to  come home long enough to change my clothes, grab a jacket and head off to my son's game. When we arrived home near bed time I was beat. I still had my shoes on and hadn't even set down my bag when the phone rang.

Does it ever ring at a convenient time?

The caller ID was from a local number with a name I recognized but didn't really know. Because small town living is like that. You can know who someone is but not ever exchange a word with them or even have a relationship. I know who runs the bank, his family and where they live but have never had a genuine interaction with him. I know a lot of things about a lot of people because that's the way it is in a small town. People probably know a lot about me and my family too. It's the price we all pay for choosing to live here. Some locals enjoy knowing the gossip and thrive on it. Others take it with a grain of salt. While some never get used to the crushing weight of 'being known' and usually those types don't last long in this environment.

All that to say, I knew the name of who was calling me but I couldn't fathom why. I answered the phone as I set down my bag and kicked off my shoes fully expecting the voice on the other end to apologize for dialing the wrong number.

Instead he said, "Stephanie?"
"Speaking" I answered.
"Are you sitting down?" he said.
"Um ... no" I replied with great hesitation. My mind was trying to process whether I was about to receive bad news. I remember thinking no one tells you to sit down unless they have something bad to tell you. I didn't sit down. I didn't want to. I didn't want bad news. I thought if I didn't sit down then he couldn't tell me anything bad.
"Why are you calling me Mr. Blackman?" I asked with great hesitancy.
"I want you to write a book for me" he answered.

In one day I both cursed my small town and thanked heaven for it. In the same day I was rejected because someone knew me and within hours of feeling defeated I was chosen because someone knew me.

Small town living.

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