Article was written by Guest Blogger ~SchizoMom101
Have you ever contemplated your answer to the classic interview question–
“What are three words that describe you?”
My preferred descriptors have changed over time, but usually involved the concepts of being creative, energetic, and persistent. Early on I was extremely “idealistic”, while at this stage I guard against cynicism that comes from becoming increasingly realistic. Others usually describe me as intelligent, thoughtful, and kind— thank you; but I do know my shortcomings in these categories.
C-Bear — living with me day-to-day– may be the only one that knows I can be hilariously funny— at least when I am together with her.
An experience this last Monday brought 3 other descriptors to mind. The day started out really sh#*ty — literally. The toilet backed up and I didn’t have a plunger.
After I dropped C-Bear off at school, I drove to one of the few nearby stores that were open that early, likely to sell plungers. The necessity of the trip took me down a road I would have not otherwise traveled that morning. It all felt like a huge inconvenience. I was on a time schedule to get some things done before my brother and his wife would arrive in town later this week. OMG! What if this turned into a serious plumbing problem while *Company* is in town?I was filled with dread.
I was already embarrassed that the out-of-town guests would find my dining room table was propped up on books to keep it level, and that I still didn’t have sturdy chairs, but instead had been making do with some dining chairs I had acquired from my parents’ basement, that still need repair work too. Ugh. The wood glue probably wouldn’t dry and set-up properly before they would arrive.
“Tackle one problem at a time,” I reminded myself as I looked over the very limited selection of plungers at the store. They had one, and only one. But the design was sturdy and powerful, so I got it and headed home.
Traveling back down that road — the one I wouldn’t have been on if I had not needed a plunger. I spotted something on the side of the road. Chairs!
Five really pretty, wooden, dining chairs. I pulled over. Four of them were sturdy. One needed a little work. And the table was there too, flipped so it was less visible from the road. I inspected the set thoroughly, finding it so clean a meal could have been served on it right there. It looked like it had come straight out of the dining room of a tidy housekeeper.
It was heavy trash day. These had been placed at the curb for pick up. No sign designating a donation group. The house they were in front of was empty; there was no one there to ask. A neighbor walking his dog confirmed the items were free to go … “but good luck fitting them in your car” — he added.”I live nearby,” I told him. “You don’t happen to have a truck to help me get the table home, do you?” I asked. I gave a confident, friendly smile, trying to overcome my disheveled appearance. I looked like I had been battling a toilet that morning, … and had lost.
With his gray hoodie drawn up, hunched shoulders, persimmon pursed lips, and dark, tired eyes, the graying man looked like a bitter, laid-off auto worker. He let out a sneering chuckle. Even if he had a truck, he wasn’t in a mood to be helpful. “Hurmpf,” he sounded, “you should have bought an American-made truck. Good luck fitting that in your Volkswagen.”I wasn’t in the mood to debate economics. Nor could I tell him I had owned an American made truck—but no longer felt I could drive it after taking my late husband on our last drive together (to the hospital). I wanted to cry. The sound of the heavy trash truck on nearby side streets snapped me out of it. I shook my head and began loading chairs into my small sedan. There was no way I could fit the table too. Even without the chairs, it looked impossible to haul the table.
The man watched, now from across the street, amused by my struggles.
It was just a dash to get home. Less than a mile, on two lane roads, still needing winter potholes repaired. One traffic signal along the way, but it was green for me. I uttered a short thank you to the Almighty. Unloaded the chairs quickly onto the driveway. Ran with the plunger to check the commode. Found that the water had since gone down on its own. Left the powerful plunger there for later, and returned to the dining room with its tilting table, and my Pink Tool Box standing in the corner (until the new garage is built). Rummaged to find a handful of tools, then back out to the car, hoping to beat the trash team to the table.
“Whew.” As I drew near, I saw it was still there. I puzzled over the challenge I had been given, as I pulled in and parked. How would I fit it into the Volkswagen?I began by removing the legs. The trash truck rolled by while I worked. The driver waved, smiled, and pointed to the three words on the side of his overflowing truck — Renew, Reuse, Recycle. “There’s memorable words,” I thought, and it triggered me to thinking – “What three words would describe what I was doing?” I mulled it over a little and kept working.
Taking off the legs was the easy part. Using blankets, I keep in the car for possible breakdowns in a blizzard, I slid the heavy table top over to the car. It was just inches too wide to fit in thru the trunk. I slid it through the rear passenger door and found it could fit!The neighbor man returned and again watched from across the street, while his Pekingese pulled on the leash to go home. His presence strengthened my resolve. It wasn’t easy, but I got the heavy table top in, propped up against the back seat.
Problem was, the door would not close. The table stuck out of the door, no matter the variation of arrangements I tried. It had a sliding lock, but if I took it apart, I didn’t think I could get it back together in smooth working order. The man across the street laughed at my predicament.Traffic was at a lull. The school rush was over. I had a stupid idea. “I’ll just drive with the car door open.
It’s not far.”I strapped the table top in with seatbelts. Secured it further with the dog leash that’s always in the car. Packed blankets, and boxes that always seem to be in the car during this transition time in our lives, tightly into spaces so the top wouldn’t jiggle or slid out – hopefully. I tried to lash the door too, but couldn’t. I climbed into the driver seat, mentally picturing the route home; all the obstacles I would need to avoid while driving with a door open; how I might avoid breaking the door; and what I could do to make this idiotic move safer.
I turned on the hazard lights. Waited for another lull in traffic, and silently prayed for safety for the very short drive.The door stayed steady. It didn’t swing as the car shifted gears and directions. I drove slowly, carefully avoiding the trash cans, street signs, and vehicles that brushed by the open, back passenger door. The man across the street shook his head in disbelieve. He smiled and gave an approving nod as I cruised by, perhaps a little more inspired by the spectacle of a spunky, won’t give up, American-made spirit.I stayed fully focused on driving until I made it safely back to the house.
Once again, I had been fool-hardy in my life, and it had worked out okay.Fool-hardy. There’s a word to describe me. Impulsive could be another. But after I finish piecing our new home together—and I attempt to re-enter the work world—those words aren’t likely to open any doors. As I now compose this “lesson,” the expressions “blistering honest” and “uncomfortably frank” come to mind too. Probably not good to share in an interview either. I can honestly say I work at being discreet.I sat in the driver’s seat a little bit longer. I had no idea how I was going to lift that heavy table top into the house all by myself.
Before I could move any further, I knew I had to provide the three words to the *describe yourself* interview question. had just gotten through yet another occasion, that looked like a potential disaster at the start but turned into something fortuitous. As a result, I felt my descriptors– creative, energetic, and persistent–had evolved again. I had grown.
My new three words are:
New variants of what lies at my core. “Yes,” I concluded. “I could share these words in an interview.” But I will need a better example to back it up. In an interview situation, I would be too discreet to share a story about salvaging a table from the trash. But you’re my friends (as well as family, in some cases). I like to be completely honest with you.
Now you want to know—
How did I get the heavy table top into the house?
Well, God, of course, provided everything I needed, right on time again. As I opened my car door, a truck pulled up across the street, with two strong men. They willingly helped me, even though I still looked like I had lost a battle with a toilet bowl, wrestled a tree trunk into submission, and had just driven a perilous road.
Now I want to know–
When your “ bowl runneth over,” how do you react? And,
What three words describe you?