Unwittingly, my last two blogs addressed putting certain challenges into perspective—the first surrounding stress, and the second regarding life’s general hiccups. Since I seem to be on a roll with that, I will add one more and make it a “perspective hat-trick.” (Psst… that’s a sports reference BTW.)
Last Friday, I had to attend my pre-op appointment at a local hospital—nothing serious, just finally getting my pesky deviated septum dealt with. No, I’m not abandoning the prominent profile of my Jewish schnozz, I’m just getting the cracks in its foundation repaired. My poor nose has taken three good shots to it—a football to the right side, a Tae Kwon Do kick to the front, and a lost battle with my pantry door to the right side again.
Thankfully, my husband is a very deep sleeper and is rarely disturbed by my regular sound effects. I must admit though, I am starting to feel guilty about the fact that he must constantly shoo Cariboo out of our backyard after they hear the distant trumpeting of my snoring and confuse it with a mating call.
I am also tired of paying the salary of hundreds of facial tissue factory workers because of the constant drip in my nasal plumbing over the past 20+ years. My apologies, in advance, to those workers though… I’m sure there are going to be a lot of lay-offs once I stop buying in bulk.
I feel a sense of some folks rolling their eyes and saying, “Yeah right Veronica. A ‘deviated septum.’”
Really, I swear, this is not a “deviated septum” like celebrities claim to have corrected. I will not come out of it with a flatter tummy, larger breasts, perkier buttocks, and an incapability of showing emotion. Despite what you may have read in Hollywood gossip mags, those are not actually side effects related to fixing your horn.
Anyhoo, back to perspective.
I was told by the appointment-booking-lady that I would be there for 1-2 hours. It wasn’t until I got there that I saw the note on the info pack that stated 2-4 hours. “Oh crap! I have a telecon in three-and-a-half hours, and I need to be in front of my computer for it.” I went into a mini panic, but I did my best to stay positive.
The first hour went by and I still hadn’t budged from my seat. I continued to remain in my fog of optimism, and played a few more games of Solitaire on my phone. The only book I had downloaded to my phone was one recommended to me by a colleague, and I abandoned it after five pages. If I was going to remain upbeat and positive, it was not going to help my cause. Absolute literary rubbish, if you ask me.
At the two-hour mark, they called my name. I literally jumped up from my seat. I had been chatting with the two women beside me and said, “Oh my goodness! I feel like I’ve won the lottery!” I had been doing my best to make light of our respective wait times each time they began to get a little negative.
The nurse informed me that they were “one and a half” people short. “One and a half.” I tried to do the math on that, but unless one of her missing colleagues was 2’7” tall, I really didn’t get it, nor did I think it was the time to make a joke about her declaration.
Once again, I did my best to keep our conversation light and uplifting. It’s who I am. I always want to leave a stranger with a feeling of happiness for having spent time with me. I wouldn’t want to be the one to add a burden on someone’s spirit because, I’m sure, their own life isn’t always a bed of roses.
During my brief time with the nurse, she thanked me for having such a great attitude. She informed me that the previous patient had been horribly abusive towards her. I’m sure, at that point, she wished she had the authority to add a colonoscopy and mammogram to that woman’s pre-op procedure. I know I would. I’d really give her something to remember.
I just painted myself in a very interesting light, didn’t I? Miss I’m-So-Positive, might actually be Miss I-Just-Spat-In-Your-Soup-When-You-Weren’t-Looking in disguise.
Two and a half hours later, I was on the road to freedom, and realized that I had just experienced another form of perspective in my life. (I also made it to my meeting with twenty minutes to spare. Enough time to pee and make a cup of tea. Yes… tea and pee… a vicious circle in my life.)
I have always lived with the belief that every person should have to do the following in their lifetime:
- Work in retail or hospitality industries.
- Live in a third-world country.
My opinion is that, if we all had to spend a considerable amount of time experiencing both things, there would be no war, and people would be far more civilized to one another.
Those of you who have done one or the other, are probably standing up and shouting, “Amen, sister!”
You folks know exactly what I’m referring to.
When I lived in Central America with my first husband, I was humbled. I was humbled by the purity of the people (no, not all of them—but it’s a good generalization), and the non-materialistic way they lived their lives. I came back after three years with a new outlook on what was truly important in life.
I worked in both retail and hospitality industries from the age of fourteen and experienced an ugly side of people. Since I respect how hard people work for their money, I have always put a focus on ensuring that I give them the best service possible. Not selling them the most articles of clothing to increase my commission, or upselling the booze at their meal—I wanted them to walk away feeling as though they got their money’s worth for their experience. And also, selfishly, I wanted them to remember me as one of the positive things from their day.
One day, a man was berating a server at a restaurant I managed. She was close to tears, and it was obvious that his “manly” display was making his friends very uncomfortable. When I approached the table, he launched into me about how she had “screwed up” on his burger order. I looked at him with compassionate eyes, gently put my hand on his shoulder, cocked my head to the side, and said sweetly, “I sincerely apologize for the error, and a fresh burger will be up momentarily. Unfortunately, Daphne is only human… and humans do make mistakes. I just hope that you can look at this situation and be grateful that she’s not a brain surgeon.” I held his gaze and gave him a big, toothy grin… as the guests at his table burst into laughter.
Did I give him a free burger? Nope. I gave him a free dose of perspective—a slice of humble pie. Did Daphne get “screwed” on her tip? No, actually, she got a damn good one. I made sure of that. I approached the table after she delivered the bill and engaged the rest of the group and ensured that they all sang her praises in the face of the angry Burgermeister. (A very sneaky form of mind manipulation based on peer pressure.)
Yes, it could have backfired, but when it comes to standing up for people’s rights and integrity, I’m willing to throw some punches.
Did the angry lady at the hospital think that the nurses sat behind the desk saying, “Let’s make everyone wait an extra hour today, just to piss them off”? Those nurses know that they are going to get beaten down verbally, so why would they do it purposely? They, unfortunately, are the victims of circumstance.
In this week’s perspective, I ask that you take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and treat them with the respect and understanding you would hope to be treated with. As for me, I’ll just make sure to book meetings on a different day, download more interesting books on my phone, and not frequent a certain chain retail store at noon anymore. (The one that has line-ups that will make even Mother Teresa’s blood boil.)
Bottom line, remember the good ole saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Also pray that I’m not within earshot of you treating someone with disrespect.