JOSHUA DALLAIRE




PERFECTLY OUT OF MY ELEMENT

 

 

Exhausted from the rough night’s sleep I wished I’d had, I walked down the street at 8:00 a.m. in my grey sweat clothes and looked up to see a grey sky with grey clouds. The black, dark roast, coffee in my hand was doing nothing to rouse me from my half-slumber. The Monday morning frenzy had begun, and all around me were businessmen and businesswomen hustling to get to their respective jobs, but I was not a part of it today. I was merely a spectator. The city smelled of garbage, as Monday was trash pick-up day and the trucks had yet to come to collect the rubbish.

The looks I received without my “once-normal, proper attire,” were full of half-dejected caring; no one wants to see someone out of what is considered their normal element, nor out of their uniform. I was in their territory – not mine anymore – and did not belong there in my current state of dress, despite having recently been “one of them.” A group of men approached me hurriedly from the front; the men looked me over and then continued on their way without giving me, their recently-former colleague, a second glance.

“Excuse me,” a strange voice said, as I snapped out of my trance to see who was distracting me from my day of former-boss-imposed, self-reflection.

“Yes?” I inquired, turning to see a stranger dressed in a freshly-pressed blue, pinstriped suit, carrying the same slumber-ending drink as me.

“Are you looking for work?”

I was stunned, a stranger was candidly asking me about my employment status when I was in no shape or appearance to be made such an offer.

“No,” I replied, “not yet. I am just taking some time off to explore my options and assess my wants, needs, and desires.”  I was lying to a stranger, as well as to myself, in a concerted effort to deny reality.

We both knew it was a lie, but neither one of us called the other out. I must have looked like a recently-let-go employee of one of the several businesses in the area, but not quite a bum. It was a likely-typical scenario to see someone out of their element with so many office buildings around and the turnover rate of entry-level employees in this fast-paced business environment.

“Well,” the still-unidentified stranger continued, “if you’re ever looking for work, give me a call.” He pulled a business card from his pocket and handed it to me.

Still bewildered, I mustered a “Thank you,” and we parted ways.

I was unshaven, a rarity for me, save for my distinguished chinstrap beard, not one of those stereotypical, jock, pencil-thin chinstrap beards, mine was far more meticulous and distinguished. I was in my sweat clothes having taken the day off not by choice, but by the decision of my boss who thought I needed to “reevaluate myself and find my true passion,” not something that could be done in a day, a week, or even a month. So I walked down the street, not caring where I was going, nor how long it would take to get there, aware of my surroundings but giving them no notice.

Walking back to my loft apartment, located just outside of the downtown business district, I decided to finally look at the card that the strange man had handed me. It read, Mr. Holden R. Reveries, Entrepreneur and underneath his name was his number. The card listed no business and he had no alphabet soup after his name, so I had no clue as to his credentials. What I found most puzzling, though, was that there was no address.

The rest of the day passed quickly as I lay in my apartment doing nothing productive, but taking time to reflect on my boss’ suggestion of self-reflection.

I awoke the next morning with a renewed energy and drive and, after my morning ritual of black coffee and the news, pulled out Holden’s business card and gave him a call.

The phone rang once and went right to voicemail, “Hello, you have reached Reverie Enterprises, please leave a message and we will return your call. And remember, whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” 

I proceeded to leave my name and number, saying that we had met the other day in the downtown business district and I looked forward to receiving his call.

Another day of self-evaluation passed with no call from Holden or any of his voicemail-implied associates, so I decided to give him another call on Wednesday morning.

After dialing his number and getting a half ring, it again went to voicemail, “Thank you for calling Reverie Enterprises, we are happy you called and look forward to speaking with you; please leave your name, number, and reason for calling and we will return your call as soon as we are able. And remember, a positive mindset yields positive results all of the time, not just for you, but also for those around you.”  

I was inspired. As much as I wanted to talk with this “Entrepreneur,” I was just as happy to receive these daily pieces of advice and inspiration. It was precisely what I needed to motivate myself to become recharged and go back to work, eventually, with a renewed sense of vigor.

I took the rest of the week for myself and when I walked into what used to be my office the following Monday, I handed my boss my letter of resignation, effective immediately, and walked back out of the office down to where I had first encountered “Mr. Holden R. Reveries” and, lo and behold, he was there, handing out his business cards to recently-let-go businessmen and businesswomen. Only this time he was offering tidbits of advice to each, “Go and follow your dreams, no matter what they might be,” “You have to live today like you’re going to die tomorrow,” “No matter how bad things seem right now, they could always be worse; be thankful for what you do have and, more importantly, who you have in your life.”

I walked home with a smile on my face and as soon as I opened the door, I embraced my partner and told him that I was sorry about the fight we’d had over the last week. We vowed to talk things out from now on and to not react to the situation.

I hadn’t told Tyler anything about Mr. Holden R. Reveries, but I didn’t need to, for he had been in a minor, no injury, fender-bender on Tuesday and instead of handing him an insurance card, the responsible party handed Tyler a business card with the name Mr. Holden R. Reveries on it. However, instead of “Entrepreneur,” as it read on the card Holden had handed to me, it said, “Philanthropist,” and attached to the back was a check for $25,000 with “Pay It Forward” scripted beautifully on the memo line.

 



Copyright  ©  2014 Joshua Dallaire

 
Joshua D. Dallaire is in the final leg of completing his Master’s at Southern New Hampshire University, where he studies English & Creative Writing. He works as an adjunct instructor at Manchester Community College in Manchester, New Hampshire where he teaches a variety of developmental English courses, focusing mainly on expository writing and vocabulary building. In the past, he has taught several public speaking courses. Additionally, he works as a tutor at the same institution, helping students with a variety of English courses, as well as research papers. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, plunking on the piano, or devoting time to his other four jobs, which center, individually, around high school and ESL-focused education and language acquisition.