It had been a long day. I was worn down to the frazzle. All I wanted was to catch my bus and head home. The Metro street bus came pulling up. Just as it came to a stop, several people got off. I looked through the window as they disembarked and saw that it had been standing room only. I stepped up as the last person got off of the front of the bus. I looked around and it didn’t seem that there was anywhere to sit. I thought to myself, great now I have to stand up, my feet ache and I am weary. Just as I was about to give up hope, a person near the front of the bus jumped and cried oh shit, my stop. Well not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I slid into the seat just as the other person jumped past me to get off. Finally I thought , I could at least relax on my way home. The bus driver closed the door and proceeded down the block. I was just getting comfortable when the bus came to a stop on the next block. I forgot that there was a stop there, but then no one ever got on or off at that stop, well today was not to be my lucky day. Just as the doors opened, I heard steps coming from the middle of the bus. Up the stairs came my worst nightmare, an old woman with a shopping bag and a walking cane. I thought to myself, maybe there is a seat in back. Oh please let there be one in back, but as luck would have it, there was no seat and no one else seemed to even notice her. The woman was of small stature, she wasn’t even tall enough to reach the hand straps that most people would hold on to as the bus was moving. The driver looked back in his mirror as if to say, will someone give this woman a seat so we can move on. Well I was dog tired, but in the back of my mind, I remembered my own Grey headed grandmother and if she had to ride a bus, I wouldn’t her to be put in this situation. So despite being worn out, I stood up and said excuse me miss, would you like to sit down. The old woman stumbled over to the seat and sat down. She looked up at me with doe eyes and said thank you so much young man. Young man I thought, I am 28 and an attorney for a public action group. I am exhausted because I spend all day going to meetings and running to appoints with people who are deaf and preoccupied with other things, so I don’t get anywhere. I came back to myself and told the old woman don’t mention it. She settled in, I held on to the overhead strap and gritted my teeth each time the bus hit a pothole. So on we went, with grandma smiling at me and commenting on what a nice young man I was. This went on until we reached my stop. I then grinned at the old woman and wished her a good evening . I got off still exhausted not giving what had transpired a second thought. I had no idea how one simple choice would affect me so profoundly.
I got home poured myself a drink and collapsed on the couch. I dozed off because it was past 10 pm when I woke up. I crawled into bed and forgot to set my alarm. I wasn’t really concerned with it as I was exhausted, a little drunk and usually get up early anyway. So in true form of me, I was awake at 6:30 am, still tired and a little hung over. I got into the shower, got out dried off and some how made it into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. I brought up my laptop and began looking at the local news. I saw a story on a current project that I was assigned to work on. My organization is one of the principals in trying to obtain funding for a new neighborhood development for low income housing and a recreation center for an inner city neighborhood. The story said that the state legislature budget committee was looking to trim funds from certain public programs in order to balance the budge and offset other cuts that they had to make. I thought to myself as I drank a cup of hot coffee, great as if my job couldn’t get any harder? Now the state is talking about cutting budgets when we need them to spend money. Well there was no need for me to get frustrated, I just had to pull myself together and find another legal angle to get the project moving, not that it was going anywhere now. So I cut my computer off and pulled my clothes out of the closet. I got dressed and hopped the bus back downtown to the office. 45 minutes later I step off and walk into the Lions den. My boss is fuming about the news story about the budget cuts. He has already torn into everyone in the office, so I get my five minutes of bludgeoning, not that is anyone persons fault. Our lobbyist, the public relations people and our legal arm, meaning me have been twisting arms and glad handing until we are all exhausted. So I spend the rest of the day with a boss who is on the phone with local advocacy groups as I comb over reams of court cases and state regulations looking for any loophole that I can exploit. I worked through lunch and almost through 5 o’clock. Which would not normally be a thing, but I had to get to the drycleaner before it closed at 6 pm. So I put my legal Snipe hunt on hold and rush out . I don’t have time to wait for a bus, so I catch a ride share. I normally don’t like to spend the money, but I am so in a hurry. I get to the cleaners at 10 until 6 pm. They have my Tuxedo ready. I thank God for small miracles and exit the building. I am just in time to catch the cross town bus back to my apartment. I am not so physically tired today as I am mentally exhausted. So I mellow out watching the scenery go by as I try not to think too hard, I just want to get home. I get home and hang up my Tux, I didn’t have nearly as horrible a ride as I did the day before. No crowded bus today, no little old ladies with hand bag and walking canes. Funny how she just popped into my head. Well no time for wandering ideas, I get onto my elliptical and for the next hour I work to burn off as much stress as I can. A good brisk workout always clears my head and helps me to focus. Well today of all days it was exactly what I needed. While I was working to exceed my personal best, something just jumped into my head. A crazy idea about something I had seen buried among the piles of state regulations. I finished my work out and pulled a veggie smoothie out of my fridge. I hopped back onto my laptop and began digging. Two hours later, I had the answer now if only. I printed the section on executive regulations out. It was a small two paragraph obscure rule, but it could be the answer to our prayers. It seems that in our state, the governors have a discretionary power to reallocate funds from the special executive budget in matters of great public interest. I wasn’t sure about all of the political implications, but in short, from a legal perspective it meant that the governor could allocate money for our project. I did a happy dance because this meant that there was a way around the budget cuts. Now if we could only get a moment of the governors time. That wasn’t my problem however, I was only the legal Eagle. Getting the governor to listen to this was going to be in the court of our lobbyist and the office supervisor. I didn’t want to be them on this one. So now that I had solved my problem, I needed a shower and some sleep.
I was up early the next morning and into the office. I found my boss as soon as he walked in. I gave him what I had found and he smiled for once instead of scowling at me. I left his office feeling pretty good about myself, but by the end of the day it was a regular shit show again. All of our efforts to meet with the governor had failed. It seemed that he was booked solid and with the big charity event this weekend, which I was supposed to attend, he didn’t have a free moment for any politics. So with my spirit dragging, I packed it in and got ready to head out for the week. My boss stopped me before I left and said that I shouldn’t feel bad. He said that we can’t win them all and that we would just have to find some other way to get at this problem next week. So I went home, ordered Chinese takeout drank something stronger than hot tea and collapsed from another 60 hour week. I woke up Saturday morning late. I didn’t see any point getting out of bed before 11am, but I knew that I needed to go get a hair cut. I didn’t want to look like a homeless person at a big event like a charity ball. So I got cleaned up, went to my favorite barber. I paid 20 dollars to look presentable. I went home and just chilled until it was time to get dressed to go to the party. I put on m Tux and at around six, two of my coworkers showed up in a ride share to pick me up. We really didn’t feel like having a party, our mood was less than cheerful, but the tickets were complimentary. Our bosses expected us to get out and mingle socially. They expected us to press the flesh and make our presence known. Not only for political reasons, but to court donors who might be interested in back one of our cause. So as we pulled up to the front of the building, I could see people going in that had way too much money and more connections and resources than I could ever imagine. As we got into the party past the many levels of security, I though that this was a who’s who of state and local politics and the governor hadn’t arrived yet, but you could tell a lot of wrangling and positioning was going on . Our table was towards the back of the room, so getting close to the governor wasn’t likely. So I had a few drinks and enjoyed some of the free food. My boss finally found me after about an hour. He patted me on the back and ask if I was enjoying the party. We both sort of shrugged at each other, the MC came on stage and asked if we were enjoying the party. He then spoke acknowledging several people who contributed to the party. Then without further ado, he announced the governor. At last I can see the governor I laughed to myself standing beside my boss. I am only 100 ft away which might as well be 100 miles. So I sat quietly and listened to his speech, then the applause and he exited the stage to go to one of the reserve tables up front where all of the VIP’s sat. I decided to go to the bathroom after having another nonalcoholic drink or two. I didn’t want to get too drunk and make a scene. So I went and did my business, the path to the Privy goes past the VIP section. As I was on my way back out, I heard a shrill voice calling out to me. I looked around then down to my right towards the VIP section, and there on a walking cane coming right at me was the little old lady from the bus. OH HELL I thought, how did she get in here? Just as I was about to run, my boss flanked me, I was caught with him at my back and her to my side. I just smiled and motioned to her, she came over and gave me a hug. I returned the gesture in kind. I asked how she was, she said wonderful and she couldn’t stop doting over me. My boss was either humored or concerned, I couldn’t tell which from the expression on his face. I said well miss it is nice to meet you again. She said now hold on a moment, I have been telling people about how nice you were and how I wish they could meet you. So she took me by the hand and began to walk through the security at the VIP rope line, I looked back at my boss and he just gave me the thumbs up and grinned. So there I was with grand maw holding my hand leading me on, past tables filled with some of the states most influential people. Down towards the front row, with me thinking that security was going to come get me and the kindly old crazy lady any moment. Then she stopped at a center table on the very front. With a clear concise voice, she uttered the words, Grand son, with that the people at the table in front of me all turned. Then without a second thought, the governor stood up. He smiled and said yes Nana, with not even a bat of the eye, she said to the most important man in the room, this is the nice young man I have been telling you about all week. I was mortified and elated, speech seemed to escape me. Grandson her grandson was the governor, the man who I so desperately needed to see. With a firm but amicable demeanor, he shook my hand and said why don’t you join us. I would love to hear about the man who helped out my Nana.