I am a very lucky man. I asked the best woman I have ever met to marry me, and she said yes.
Pam and I are so much alike that it sometimes stuns me. We are both introspective, sensitive people who seek harmony with others, and are all too happy to stand alone if no one understands that. In fact, we have both been loners most of our lives. However, she hasn't let the world crush her and turn her bitter. She has a quick laugh, and I'm forever blessed that she sees humor in the same things I do.
She has just finished working at Sally's here in Ft Myers for the past year and a half. She took the job when 99% of the women out there with her college degree and experience wouldn't have even considered a point-of-sale retail job. The job is for women who are knowledgeable in hair care, preferably former hairdressers.
She had many fears about answering all of the customers' myriad of hair treatment questions when she first started. The women she worked with were a mixed bag. They were mostly cool to her, and her manager has been less than professional the entire time she has worked there. Pam is the only dependable person on the staff (only one with a car, who doesn't steal from the register, and doesn't leave the store early or call in sick), and that means even more resentment from her co-workers.
But she has smiled to every customer who walks in Sally's door, listened intently as they described what they wanted to do to their hair, nails, etc, then thoughtfully offered them appropriate product choices. She read up on all things hair coloring, and has turned into the one person on the staff who customers enjoy and trust.
But Sally's has only given her one raise in 18 months, a measely 50-cent bump from a minimum-wage start after working for ten years making twice that as a graphic artist. Sally's management is so unprofessional that they don't even know how to treat someone like Pam when they are lucky enough to find her.
So we are finally leaving Ft Myers.
Don't get me wrong-I am motivated to leave for my own reasons as well, but what this town has to offer professional, caring people like Pam has left me cold.
We are leaving in ten days to Omaha, NE, after many months of diligent research. It is a midwestern state with the best economy in the nation right now. Omaha is a hub city, where many large companies seek to build because shipping and distribution is more cost-effective. Besides being the home of the world's most wealthy man, Warren Buffet, it is home to five Fortune 500 companies' headquarters, and many more solid, time-tested businesses have called it home for a long time.
Florida has suffered from a climate of here-today-gone-tomorrow type of businesses, which attracts the kind of scurilous merchants she and I both are tired of. I am anxious to take her to a better place, and she is more than ready for the change.
And that is the kind of thing that makes me realize just how lucky I am to have her: she and I have the same kind of value system. It is why I asked her to marry me on Stone Mountain, Georgia a few months ago: I didn't want to let her get away. My life has been spent with too many women who didn't share my worldview, my sensibilities, and I honestly began to think that I was the one who was wrong to feel the way I did.
Finding Pam was like finding myself. After being with her, I began to feel more acceptance in myself, the way I view things, and how I feel about people, events, and life. Needless to say, I have a much better outlook about life than I have ever had. For the first time in my 43 years, I can now say I have found someone I want to have a family with.
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