The year I became a bright-eyed neophyte Philangelus was also the summer I got my first job. It’s one of the nicest summers ever.
Why? Because I had a guardian angel, and I was talking to him. All the time. (See the above link.) It didn’t matter that I didn’t get replies I could hear — it was enough to just know he was there, and talking to him was fun, and the books said to talk to him, so…I did.
So there I’d be, taking the A train to lower Manhattan, chattering in my head or listening to my dumb music (even by my standards, I had a few guilty pleasures in rotation that summer) and at lunch I’d explore the used book stores or the Weird Food Buffets and find Strange Things I Couldn’t Identify At All, all the time training myself to pay attention to what an angel might be doing, and then I’d go back to a job which consisted mostly of filing.
Back then, filing was done with paper. No, really: actual paper. Folders. Index cards. It was a blast.
I was sent upstairs three or four times a day on errands to the other department offices or downstairs to the Scary Storage Department. Sometimes, laden with files, I’d think to the angel, “Hey, you want to push the button?” (but then of course I’d push it.)
The files cards (and each drawer contained hundreds) were often out of order. One time, when the index card for a specific file wasn’t in its place, I shut the drawer and wondered what I should do. I felt a strong impulse to open the drawer again, and when I did, I just put out my hand and pulled a card. Exactly the right card. Misfiled by two hundred names or so. Grinning, I thought, “Did you have your hand on it?”
And later that summer, when I went to the elevators and thought, “Hey, want to push the button?” I rounded the corner to find the button already pushed. And no one in sight.
I giggled like crazy. (Meanwhile the angel was probably thinking, “I could give her the moon, but she asked for this button.”)
I always remembered the button-push, even though it could have been that someone else pushed the button and left, or someone pushed down but meant up, then got on an up elevator and the down button was still lit up. But I liked thinking it was him.
Twenty years later, I was having a crappy day in Angeltown, trudging back to my metered parking space. We had cool meters there, where you’d insert a card and it would pay, and when you were done, insert it again and refund whatever was left. To see the time remaining, you had to push a button, and it would flash for five seconds.
Like I said, having a lousy day.
I got to the car, and the time remaining was showing.
I looked up and down the block. No one. No one at all, anywhere.
And then it turned back to the clock.
I was having a lousy day. I think he pushed the button to make me smile again.