Most of us have “those days,” the type of days where you’re just not in the mood to put up with all the crap everyone seems to want to dump on you.
Well, yesterday was one of those days for me, and I wish that I could tell you that I handled it with my usual aplomb, but that didn’t happen.
I didn’t choke anyone out or eviscerate anyone with my superior lexical skills, I simply allowed a severely irked person to get a rise out of me. I know that I should be able to stand there and take it on the chin like a good peon, but sometimes you reach your breaking point.
In my job, we typically start the day off with a pleasant daily briefing that consists of the supervisor telling us how much we suck for one reason or another and what we need to do to improve.
Yesterday was no different and the day progressed as usual with all the surly comments and eye rolls that I’m sure most people working in a service industry receives daily. Most of this we just let go and let roll off our backs. Occaissionally, we’ll get a reak gem of a person that really wants to let you know what they think.
Again, most of the time we just let it slide. Yesterday, not so much, I had a guy step into the millimeter wave body scanner (not x-ray) cussing up a storm. He didn’t want to opt out, but he sure wanted to bitch about it. I told him complaining to a peon like me wouldn’t effect change, that change would take an act of Congress. He kept pissing and moaning and I finally had had enough.
I told him, “We hate these machines too, sir, because we have to hear complaints like yours all day.”
Nothing too outlandish I thought and his complaining seemed to lessen at least. At that point, his wife, I suppose, told my female counterpart that his mother had just died and she relayed that to me.
I didn’t apologize and I wouldn’t now.
This man was in his mid-fifties and had his mother a good long while longer than a lot of people. I know that everyone handles things differently and his mother’s passing may have come suddenly.
I respect that. I don’t respect the fact that some people use events in their life as a license to treat other people like pieces of garbage.
I told my fellow screener, who was pleading his case, my feelings and shared a piece of personal history with her that I will now share with all of you.
When I was 23 years old, I was already married and my father was dying of cancer. On the day that he died, I sat at his bedside in my parents’ home when he took his final breath. My mother wasn’t home and I had to tell her he had passed while she had been out. I’m not sure how I even managed to form the words as I told her, but I can tell you that I never in my hours, days, or weeks following ever used his passing as an opportunity to treat other people like pieces of garbage.
EVERYONE deserves a modicum of civility and humanity regarding the way we treat each other. Unfortunately, the guy I dealt with spent all of my goodwill towards him within a few seconds of meeting him.
For that I am sorry.