I’ve always had a vivid imagination. It’s part of the reason I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Once I realized that not everybody sees things the way I do, it made me want it even more. Of course, my low self-esteem has always been detrimental to my aspiration to publish, so…
Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about The Bus. Several years ago, when I worked in the legal field, I had to deal with a lot of difficult people. I was a supervisor in the word processing department of a fairly large firm (by Rhode Island standards anyway), and my staff was responsible for doing all the overflow work from the “real” secretaries, as well as providing coverage when someone was out sick or on vacation.
I loved that job, despite its difficulties. I didn’t have to sit at the same desk every day and do the same old work day after day for the same people. I got to work with nearly everyone in the firm, and I loved the challenge of knowing exactly how they liked their documents prepared, their phones answered, etc. I loved solving problems and gaining the reputation of being able to make Microsoft Word do things people didn’t think it could do.
But along with all the good stuff came the constant complainers, the people who were never satisfied and always found something wrong with something no matter how you prepared it. One day while I was sitting at my desk, stressing over a particularly difficult encounter with one of the lawyers, I imagined him on a bus careening down a steep incline toward a dangerous cliff. I giggled. My anger and stress dissipated a little bit.
So from then on, whenever someone upset me, rather than let it get to me, I just added them to The Bus. My friend down in accounts payable emailed me one day, upset over being hassled by her boss. I told her about The Bus, and before we knew it, we had back-and-forth emails about The Bus. We had people clinging to the roof, and if we were especially upset or angry, people desperately grasping the grill on the front of the bus, barely able to hold on, and the speed of The Bus would increase, the incline would become steeper, cliffs would appear on either side of the road, the weather would get rainy or icy.
I’ve used The Bus a lot over the years, and it never ceases to help me deal with the every day stresses of working in an office with various personalities.
So the next time someone pisses you off at work, just close your eyes for a moment and imagine The Bus, swerving and bouncing along a high mountain road, cliffs on either side, lots of twists and turns, and picture the people who pissed you off in various areas of The Bus–their eyes wide with fear, their knuckles white as they cling to the back of the seat in front of them…or the edge of the window they’re hanging out of…or the back door flapping wildly as they hang on for dear life. I usually picture an old, decrepit school bus, but you can make it look however you want.
And don’t be afraid to let people fall off–or to let The Bus crash–it’s a magic bus…it will be there the next time you need it!