Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't know if it is like this on all college campuses, but here you cannot spend time on campus without having at least one story about our housekeeping staff. The housekeepers LOVE to talk. Perhaps that's an understatement. They will start up conversation with anyone and everyone. Last year, a trip to the bathroom that should have taken eight steps took forty-five minutes because Miss Jessie caught me and I was without a good exit excuse.

Now that I no longer live in the dorms, I am no longer forced to interact with them as frequently as I once did. However, I still see them around campus. Just yesterday, Miss Anna had no problem interpreting my prayer to tell me about how she working double shift in order to attend the funeral of former housekeeper the next day. I figure God wouldn't mind if I spent five minutes talking to her while she changed the garbage bag in the prayer room.

Except that they're long winded, Miss Jessie and Miss Patty never have bothered me because I can understand them. It's the older women like Miss Rose and Miss Joy that make me nervous because they have the thickest accents I have ever heard. With Miss Rose, my motto has always been smile and nod politely as she tells me all of the gossip for the week.

With Miss Joy, smile and nod doesn't work. In the words of one of my professors, "Miss Joy was a housekeeper for almost a million years, so when she retired they invited her to audit any classes she wants. As I'm sure you've noticed, that means she sleeps through them all."

When she'd speak up in class, all eight of us (including the professor) would listen intently trying to hack through her deep drawl and old age to formulate some comprehensible statement and interpret it for the rest of the class. I could understand maybe three words every fifteen.

Since then, she's gotten older and her health has deteriorated taking some of her verbal skills with it. This means if I could understand one word before I can't understand anything now. That's a problem because like all of our other housekeepers, Miss Joy loves to talk. I knew I was in trouble when I spotted her sitting outside the cafeteria after dinner tonight.

"Good evening, Miss Joy," I said. There was no way around it; I had to acknowledge her presence.

"Hello. Slkjadansdmasd," she responded.

"Excuse me?"

"I like your blue coat."

"Thank you," I said. It's purple, I thought to myself. Everything I own is purple; Wonder Jacket is no exception. Poor Wonder Jacket is often confused to be blue and now she's feeling blue because of it (I just decided that if my coat has a name it should have feelings, too). Instead of correcting Miss Joy, I let it go.

"Yes, I think blue is your color."

"Thank you very much," I said trying to appear flattered as I walked away insulted.

BLUE?! My color? No you didn't! Purple is my color! A quick glance around my room confirms this. From my desk I see the following purple items: two backpacks, two Nalgenes, two blankets, four pens, my watch, post-it notes, tennis shoes, slippers, a purse, a hammock... Today even my sweater and socks are purple! My world is purple.

Blue is not my color.

See the blue? There's not much of it: blue books, blue pen (professors prefer blue to purple; why is that?), blue jump drive, blue tissue box (only because Wal-mart was out of purple), blue jeans, blue hand... No, not mine. Well, yes mine. It's made from paper and hanging on the wall above my desk. It's my reminder to see the blue.

In 2008, Peder Eide released a CD entitled See the Blue. The whole idea is that blue is everywhere around us but if we're not looking for it we don't see it. Likewise, God is everywhere around us but if we're not looking for Him we don't see Him.

Even though she insulted my jacket and me, Miss Joy reminded me to see the blue, to open my eyes and see God. Thank you! Maybe I will hold the door for you again.

View the Blue,
<>< Katie

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