Torquoise Boots

torquoise boots

For some people, this is the holiest time of the year. A time for reflection, gratitude and family connection. For others, its a time to eat chocolate, color eggs and celebrate spring. So I decided to write something that is both reflective and amusing.

Years ago, in a land far away, I worked as a clinical director for a residential treatment center for women struggling with chemical dependency issues. My boss was very serious and a real pain in my… But, I’m sure she felt the same way about me, so it all worked out. The more painful thing for me to admit is that she taught me the most about working in this industry. It always seems to be the case, that the most challenging situations are often the most rewarding.

Back to our story, we had a client who was particularly demanding and influential in the community. So it was important that her experience went well. Of course, it’s important that everyone’s experience goes well. But, if I may be so bold as to suggest that a successful businesses requires happy influential clients, than you can understand why this one needed to feel good about her experience.

On the day in question, she was not happy…AT ALL! She continued to make everyone miserable and threatened to leave the facility. As one is prone to do, when one is not getting one’s way. So my boss got involved.

Now, I will attempt to paint you a picture of the following scene in question.

Picture a quite residential community with a large house nestled in between other houses and a parking lot (for about 15 cars) in the middle. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, birds are chirping, a soft breeze is blowing…and said client is screeching at the top of her lungs in the middle of the parking lot.

Standing in front of the storming client is my boss, dressed in a white flowing tunic, pants and tall turquoise western boots.

Now, I walk out of the house where my office was located, into this scene. I’m about 50 feet away and I can clearly hear the “conversation” between the client and my boss. It was very tense. I imagined how the staff, other clients and neighbors were responding to this scene.

I’m not sure I saw what I’m about to describe next. I have a tendency to create extreme visual images in times of stress. Things in the scene become almost cartoonish as I process and assess what needs to be managed next.

So, as I access the screeching harpy with sound waves coming out of her mouth and a white flowing entity standing her ground with glowing turquoise boots. I note one significant event.

One of those glowing turquoise boots, stomps the ground. And, we have a new noise on the scene…a hooting laughter!

I, the clinical director, who should be standing in this scene, seeing what I can do to help diffuse the situation, is hooting with laughter at the whole scene… and total confusion breaks out.

I leap back into the house I just exited so I can desperately try to contain the hooting laughter. The staff, who are standing around and any client’s who are also around this scene, vanish back into their own spaces.

The “discussion” comes to a close shortly thereafter. I am desperately trying to pull myself together as the scene continues to replay in my head and cracks me up even further. At the same time, I know this won’t translate and I can’t explain what was so funny to said boss who is now storming into the house where our offices are located. The look on her face helps sober me up dramatically as I realize, for the first time, I could be in real trouble.

She points to me and then her office. Head hung low, I follow her and spend the next fifteen minutes apologizing, explaining and ultimately listening to her feedback.

How did it end?

“Helena, you can have really inappropriate timing and you need to work on that.”

I would love to tell you I have this “inappropriate timing” thing handled but I think this will be a life long venture for me.

The moral to this story?

“Live, Laugh, Love” But, consider the timing because it can make all the difference.

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