On the sign-in sheet outside of my office, people can sign up for assistance with whatever they want. There is a previous post on this blog about particularly creative and bizarre requests, but today I got a new one worth noting:
Joann --- Needs a Life
She was the last one on the list, and I only had 5 minutes before we close. I wanted to make it good, and against her expectations, take it seriously.
"Sit down, Joann."
I got out a piece of paper--she stared at me in amused disbelief, but her face was still overwhelmed with sad, hopeless boredom.
"Number One: You need a hobby. What are your hobbies?"
"I don't have a hobby! I'm homeless! I don't have any money!"
"Hobbies don't have to cost money. Do you like to write?"
"Yes, but my bag was stolen, and it had my paper in it."
"Well, if this is going to be your hobby, you need a notebook, and you need a really nice pen." (I'm passionate about journaling with nice pens.) I found a notebook, a rockin pen, and put them both in a bag, on the desk between us.
"Number Two: You need some people. Who are your people?"
"Got no people."
"Family in the area?"
"Well.... I have three children."
"Are you on speaking terms?"
"Speak to them more often." (I noted this on the piece of paper next to '#2')
"Number Three: Do you have a library card?"
"Learn something new. Think about a new thing each day. Journal about it."
I wrote this next to '#3', and handed Joann the bag.
"There it is, Joann. That's a really good start."
"But... I need that paper. My list."
"Right!" I wrote JOANN'S LIFE at the top of it, and put it in her hand. She looked at me again, with a few layers of her hopeless boredom melting away, revealing just a little bit more of that amused disbelief. Then she walked out of my office.
Our office just closed: Joann walks out with a life.