This topic, prompted by WordPress, intrigued me immediately. As I shared with my husband last night at dinner, I probably censor and decide against verbalizing 40-60% of the things that come into my mind. What’s amusing to me is that I’m still consistently described as a straight-forward (or, negatively, a brash) person. You don’t have to worry about me skirting around the truth–I’ll tell you like it is. I have the personality of a lion, according to a self-assessment we take at work. Not surprisingly, the majority of my elementary education co-workers are golden retrievers; so, basically, I have the potential to eat them alive. Although the lioness in me was extremely annoyed at wasting half an hour of a staff meeting choosing words that most described me to determine my animal personality, I have to admit that picturing myself as a lion in a cage full of golden retrievers has helped me to empathize with and better understand relationships with my co-workers. While I may just walk into another teacher’s classroom and ask a blunt question, the golden retriever in them needs me to first say “Hi” and ask how their day’s going. Then, when we’ve got those pleasantries out of the way, we can get down to work.
This came up last night at dinner when B and I visited our favorite pizza place. We sat down with our bottle of wine (you can bring your own wine at Spin!), and started in on our first glass. However, after 25 minutes we’d yet to have a server check in with us. I began getting anxious that our salads were going to come at the same time as our pizza–one of my biggest pet peeves when you’re trying to make a date night out of dinner. When our waitress finally did appear (after asking two different servers and a manager to find out who was assigned to take care of us), she brought our salads and within one minute our pizza, as well. Grr. Well, it turned out our pizza was not on the whole-wheat crust that we’d asked for, so they took it back to make us another one. The manager brought us a $10 gift certificate for compensation. Of course, the whole situation had actually worked in our favor since we had been hoping to linger over our meal in the first place. Twenty-five minutes later, however, we still hadn’t seen our pizza, and the manager brought a free bottle of wine to our table, apologizing yet again because they’d burnt the remake of our pizza. Again, we didn’t mind (especially since we were now about to break into our second bottle of wine). The intriguing conversation, however, started when B confessed that he feels guilty taking gift certificates and free bottles of wine as repentance for poor service. “I could never be a jerk when someone is clearly trying to smooth things over. I mean, they’re just doing their job the best they can,” he explained.
I was floored by the fact that my husband is clearly such a better person than I am. You see, when I’m paying someone for a service that they fail to perform to my standards, my impulse is to let them know exactly where they’ve failed. As a matter of fact, I’d wanted to walk over to the manager as soon as that server had failed to appear at the beginning of the evening and explain that we had ordered multiple courses, yadda yadda yadda. When I pay $35 for a meal, I expect it to be served properly. But, not wanting to embarrass my date, I’d contained myself.
You see, I feel as though I have to make a conscious effort not to be a total… well, you know…
So, if I could say anything to anyone without consequence, what would I say and to whom? Well, a lot of stuff to a lot of people, let me tell you. I may start with the guy who lets his motorcycle idle in our apartment complex’s parking lot at 3:30am. Then I may move on to the woman in the office who keeps writing up a maintenance report for our clogged toilet–when it’s not clogged, it doesn’t flush. There’s a big difference!!!! Next would probably be the high-school bagger at the grocery store who placed a twelve-pack of soda cans on top of my meat and cheese bag today. Grr. For that fact, it may have been the grocery store manager for putting black olives with condiments instead of canned vegetables and beans, losing me 10 minutes of precious errand-time as I endlessly searched every aisle. Subsequently, I might just call up the cable company and let them know that the WiFi in our apartment hasn’t been working for over 24 hours and that is completely unacceptable. Are they planning to deduct a day’s worth of payment from my next bill? I sincerely doubt it, yet I’m not receiving the service I’m paying for… And that is just today!
I know, I know. Patience is a virtue. Love your neighbor as yourself. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I get it! And I follow it the best I can–at least outright. However, on the inside? Geesh!