Not too long ago a co-worker on her break waved me over to where she was sitting in the café. The store’s café is a small cluster of tables and a sometimes working coffee machine that demands $1.50 for a cup of the lousiest coffee outside of an interstate rest area’s volunteer-run ‘refreshment stop/local fundraiser’. Adjacent to the produce section, the customer service counter, and the time clock the café is a handy place to take your 15 minute break. (A wildly generous rest period demanded by labor law and our union if you’re working a 4-6 hour shift. Personally I’ve found 15 minutes is just enough time to eat a tangerine, drink 16 oz of water, and for my knees to stiffen up, but whatever. 15 minutes is better than none at all.) Anyway, my co-worker knew I’d been off for a couple days thus missed the latest edict and she wanted to save me some grief. Berries- straw, blue, black, and rasp must now be bagged in those flimsy but convenient plastic bags from the produce department. Seems the berry packages regularly sprang open spilling gushy wayward berries everywhere and were a pain in the patootie to clean up, to say nothing of the financial loss to our already microscopically slim profit margin. I already bagged berries for just that reason but thanked my co-worker nicely for the head’s up. She stuttered and stumbled and apologized and wanted me to know that she had NOT been criticizing or bossing, also that she hadn’t been trying to get over on me or was out to make me feel bad about how I do my job.
What the heck?
When I was finally able to get a word into her torrent of apologies and explanations I basically shouted her name to get her attention. Startled by my volume she quieted.
“Sweetie, be easy! You are one of the kindest people I know. I would never assume you were being ugly or were out to make me feel bad! Sha, okay? Thank you for the help. For true. You are just being a good friend! Why would you think I’d take your advice any other way?”
Stunned, she blinked rapidly and tried to adjust to the idea she had NOT been found at fault nor did I hate her.
This scenario above all others has cost me so much trouble.
Listen up….I am NOT judging you!
Call me naïve. Call me simple. But I’m not sitting back assigning ulterior motives and harsh assessments about what you say and do. Perhaps it’s foolish (and sometimes it has been, much to my chagrin) but I take you at your word and I always go with the assumption that you’re doing your best with the kindest intention and the most generosity of spirit and heart.
To think and act otherwise hurts ME. And this I will not do. I’ve had quite enough pain in my life, thankyouverymuch, and I don’t ever voluntarily sign up for more. I also spent much of my life being beautiful and Lord almighty does the world love to believe all beautiful women are selfish assholes. HA! For one thing I didn’t even know I was beautiful until I wasn’t anymore. And for another forever being misunderstood and misinterpreted has made me acutely aware exactly how much that sucks, so I’m willing to step into a briar patch sometimes. A few, not very many, but a few people DO mean to hurt, to cheat, to sucker the gullible, and to claw out their shoddy ‘advantages’ by making others their dupes and stupes. But most folks are okay. Trying hard and are generally decent. The shitty people are rare enough for me to ignore and feel sorry for when I do stumble across one.
I am NOT saying, “Oh look at me and my saintly attitude!” Bottom line is that being suspicious and sour is exhausting. Frankly? I simply don’t have the energy. I’m not selfish in that I seek to maneuver advantage over you so I get the goodies, but I AM selfish with my time, with how much brainpower and energy I’ll devote to you and your motives. Just not up for Machiavellian intrigues and have zero patience for those who do operate that way.
I am willing to extend out what I expect back.
It’s just that simple, ~LA