It was one of those days. My boss was in a foul mood from the moment he walked in the door. That’s not compatible with hosting three hours of live TV. My director couldn’t see or hear clearly for the first ten minutes of the show, which resulted in several on-air errors. Those are uncorrectable when you’re live.
I was sitting in the control room on the opening Sunday of football season – a fact that’s been frustrating for the last six years of my life. But to make matters worse, both teams that matter most to me didn’t just lose, they embarrassed themselves.
I took a cab ride home from the train station with a driver who kept swearing he knew where my street was but still asked me at every red light if he was going the right way. By the time I started chopping an onion for dinner prep, I was glad the powers of the universe had saved the worst day of the working weekend for last.
My working weekend actually began right after leaving the office on Friday. The first of my long-scheduled demo classes was waiting for me at the gym. In it were two children with moms along for the ride. By the end of the hour, everyone was sweating, rubbing their legs… and smiling.
“This was fun,” the seven-year-old girl whispered to her mother. Her mom looked like she didn’t agree with the word choice.
“This is a real workout,” the other parent said rubbing her legs. “I didn’t expect that.”
“Yes, it is.” Playdate with punches this ain’t! I thought. The mother-and-six-year-old son duo said they’d be signing up; the mom and daughter left without sharing a decision.
Fast-forward to Saturday. An hour after inhaling a plate of pancakes to quell the hunger caused by intensive classes at the guan, I was back at the gym for the second of the demo classes. This one introduced me to a five-year-old who approaches martial arts the same way my daughter did when she started tae kwon do at four: with a non-stop smile. (I’m not sure if there’s anything cuter than a kindergartener doing double-straight-punch-snap-kick combinations to the chin with an ear-to-ear grin on his face!)
At the end of the class, he was still smiling but not as broadly. So I asked, “Are your legs hurting? Was that too much for you?”
“No,” he said without pause, sounding slightly insulted. When he turned to his dad, I could tell it was decided.
“So what do you think? Should we put kung fu before pizza on Friday nights now?” his dad asked.
“Yes!” he shouted, showing almost all of the pearly whites.
It looks like I’ll have a class of at least four people this session who know what they’re getting into. That knowledge and the joy of future students’ smiles enabled me to handle a difficult time on the day job today with a healthy measure of grace.