Today? Not a win. Not a loss, but not a win. I woke up feeling good. It was gonna be one of those days, ya know? I was fresh off a trip home and ready to tackle the week ahead. I knew it was going to be a good day when I walked into the Starbucks across the street from my apartment and didn’t have to wait in line to order my grande chai latte. (It’s sad that the closest thing to Indian chai — I mean the real stuff, the stuff you drink hot even though it’s 120 degrees outside — is Starbucks. Tried the chai at Tryst a couple months ago and it just didn’t compare. Chain coffee shops: 1, Cute artsy cafes: 0)
Work? Work wasn’t bad. Powered through the morning with no glaring problems. Ah, but lunchtime. That’s when everything goes wrong, doesn’t it? I should have known when there was no e-mail with the day’s lunch specials in my inbox. That should have been a sign. But no, I didn’t realize things were about to get much worse than not knowing that the soup of the day was cream of broccoli.
A few text messages and a couple e-mails later and the day was shot to hell. The rest of the afternoon was, for lack of a more illustrative word, a disappointment. Disappointment seems to be the key phrase of the day, and there’s been plenty of it — in other people, mainly, but also in myself. I’ve allowed my hopes for other people to cloud reality, and wishing people to be anything but who they really are has affected the way I approach my relationships.
But from rock bottom (oh, I might be a bit melodramatic here), you can only go up. I got off a Metro stop early and walked the mile down to my apartment, running into a friend along the way. I played a song that I’ve played over and over on my iPod whenever I was in need of a musical pep talk. It’s a Korean pop song, and it wasn’t even that popular when I lived there. But I saw the group, FT Island, perform it at a concert last summer and it’s been my go-to pick-me-up ever since. And no, because you might be wondering, I don’t know most of what they’re saying. But the song is called “I Hope,” and that’s enough of a reason for me to like it. (Also because it’s part That Thing You Do, part Back to the Future.)
The day got a little better from there. There were conversations with roommates, some wine, the season premiere of “Gossip Girl” and a few phone calls with good friends. Sitting on the balcony, sipping wine from the only unbroken glass in the apartment, talking and listening and listening and talking — that was what was needed to bring the day from a lose to a draw.
So where do we go from here? We hope that tomorrow is better than today, and that the day after that is even better. We hope for the best in people, and understand that sometimes we’ll be let down. We hope to find that perfect cup of chai, but know that not even Starbucks will beat watching that thin layer of milkfat form on the top and pushing it aside to enjoy the steaming warm sweetness on an already blistering-hot day. We hope that we can be better listeners and better friends and that the lessons we take from today will help us in our relationships tomorrow.
That’s what we hope. Or at least, that’s what I hope. That is, when I’m not busy hoping to be the token white lady in a Korean music video (which happens far more often than you might imagine).