Dear Lily June,
I was once employed at a Call Center, handling complaints from parents about their childrens’ school photos. That job met every definition of a nightmare. It triggered my social anxiety, the computer system they used was unnecessarily convoluted and in no way user friendly, the management timed your bathroom breaks, and if you couldn’t average getting the customers (who were often livid and sometimes downright cruel) off the phone in a certain number of minutes, you could be given the axe pretty quickly. I would come home and stress vomit, hoping I was pregnant but realizing I was more likely nursing an ulcer than a child. It was a hell I’m thrilled to never again have to live through (unless you need an organ transplant or something, and then I’d crawl through burning broken glass for you).
Before we’d moved to this town, back on April 27, 2011, we lived through a major tornado. I’ve written about it elsewhere, only touching down (pun!) on how it shook me up (pun!) and spun me into a destructive case of PTSD. As part and parcel of that, I found I couldn’t hear a tornado siren go off anymore (a sound I’d once grown callous enough to mostly ignore) without breaking into a case of the shudders. When we moved from the South, in part to escape the haunting memories of having been poked by the kind of storm they call “the finger of God,” we moved smack dab into Irony. Our new apartment complex was right down the road from a very new, very, shall I say, functional tornado siren. In fact, its exact location was right out the window from that Call Center.
Every Friday, the siren would go off, alerting the entire town and testing whether it could still rattle me to my bony core. (It could.) But something strange happened. The dictators I worked for demanded that, when we heard it, regardless of whatever call we might be on, we stand up from our desks and shake our hands in the air. They called the siren’s song, Lily, our “weekend warning.” And slowly but surely, I got conditioned into looking forward to that sound that had once terrified me.
It’s been a couple years since I blissfully quit that job (in the most immature of ways, too; I never showed, never wrote, never called–something I have never done before and can’t see myself ever again doing). But I’m still not too many miles down the road from that office building, and thus its tornado siren. And now, every Friday when I hear it ring, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I immediately start salivating for the weekend coming. I say all this to say that it’s only Monday, and I’m already sitting at my desk and daydreaming of this sound.
I am sincerely hoping the rest of the week doesn’t go this way. Give me some hugs when I get home, okay, Lily?
- “Dszpics1” by Daphne Zaras. Original uploader was Runningonbrains at en.wikipedia – http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/headlines/dszpics.htmlOriginally uploaded at en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dszpics1.jpg#/media/File:Dszpics1.jpg