Monday, May 18, 2020

Goodbye My Friend

 As best I can recall, I met Chantell about twenty years ago.  We were working in a call center in Silver Spring.  We were on different teams, but then a third team had a huge event that spiked their call volume through the roof and suddenly all of us were taking calls for that.  At the time, when Chantell left for the day, she went to a second job where she handled a late night shift at another call center.  Even at the time the idea exhausted me.  I was impressed that she managed to ever be a functional human being in that situation. 

Call center life is tough.  Lots of folks cycled in and out.  Eventually I moved into a role where taking two hundred calls a day would be unheard of.  Chantell lasted longer than I did in the call center, although we ended up reunited on a client team later where we worked together for several years.  After that team was eliminated I moved into a different role and Chantell moved to a different company where some of our other co-workers had gone.  

We talked about TV shows, roommates, and religion. Our faiths were different and yet the questions she asked were respectful and came from a place of genuine interest. 

Chantell and I joked about having fake kids, when co workers wanted to leave early when there was bad weather.  (To be clear, we were both in favor of folks being safe. We just had some coworkers who were pretty sure we should hold down the fort while they went home.) 

She never showed up at the unofficial workplace reunions we put together to gather folks up.  So most of our contact after that was through social media.  She was quiet at work, and she wasn't a big believer in being nice to people just for the sake of being nice.  Polite yes, nice no.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and an incredible moral center.  

Chantell passed away last week as a result of COVID 19.  Chantell had moved back to New Jersey to be closer to her family, so the logistics of attending her funeral would have been tough even in non-pandemic times.  I say this to remind myself I would have had to find closure without that anyway. But the world was brighter with her in it.