This story is true. Names have been altered to protect the identities of the subjects.
Lucy..oh! Lucy. Your story is all too common, and frankly perplexing and maybe even inspirational. What I know about Lucy and all the Lucys in our country is growing. See Lucy is by day a dedicated employee, and by other hours of the day a dedicated street pharmacist. Sort of like Weeds without the full time job.
When I met Lucy, I had a very common first impression, this is the typical angry at the world mad black woman aka let nothing in, let everything out, aka show strength by being abrasive aka never show any perception of weakness. Obviously even the angriest of people have moments of joy and elation, but with the mad black woman, it’s hard to imagine that and humanize them. For months, I had the most shallow and substance less interactions with Lucy. If I can get past a cold don’t look or talk to me expression on her face, I might get a ‘Hey, how are you?’ in and luckily a response. Our interactions were based on the proximity of our workplace, an office building where she works as an employee and I work as a small business owner. The relevance of our roles in the building is based on how I first met and interacted with Lucy.
A couple of days after I signed my lease, I get one of my first calls from the millions of solicitors I would eventually get, explaining what their company does and how they are the absolute best option for me…yada yada yada. I truly was interested, and she had me at hello with her unique accent; I could hear the fire in her voice and it was captivating. A few days later, I ran into her and her boss accidentally while leaving, although I didn’t know it was her at first. After a few customary introductions, I realized who I was speaking to. She wasn’t the least bit talkative, cold and giving off the impression I alluded to earlier, so I mostly interacted with her boss. Her boss seemed to get it, anywhere you are and go is an opportunity to network.
For reasons unknown, Lucy didn’t leave my mind though. Either the accent stuck, or her style, or a certain je ne sais quoi, regardless I couldn’t look past the attitude. I know not to judge a book by its cover(s), but how can you reveal the inside without a cover being slightly pried open? Fast-forward through the substance less interactions to a chance meeting as I’m leaving the elevator and she’s entering. Eyes connect, postures adjust to face each other and the attention we were paying to the world was directed towards each other. I engage her, as if I somewhat felt the human in her was coming out. There was a legitimate premise of conversation because she had been missing in the building for a short while.. It seemed as if we were small talking and not small talking simultaneously. Numbers exchange, couple of days go by and we meet for a casual drink, after all, I still was interested in the product her company was offering.
Lucy on the phone and in the initial phases of our interaction was this character that can use words to lure you in and offer you customer service whenever you need, but in person, a closed book that seeks to be opened. The hours and days go by and more information is revealed, and pretty soon, a clearer albeit still murky picture is developing.
Things I garnered from Lucy
1. She knows what good and sustainability is.
2. She is stuck in a vicious cycle.
3. Her surroundings are a problem.
4. It seems as if she’s always ready and able to be angry, and umm, explode, regardless of the justification.
5. She wants to be better.
I will cover everyone if the 5 things I learned from Lucy individually.
Stay tuned for Part 2.