When it comes to anger, I really don’t have a short fuse. At least, I like to think that I don’t. I’m not the guy that is going to make a big deal out of something inconsequential in the total scheme of things. Mine is more of a “live and let live” mentality most of the time. At least, that is the way I like to think of myself.
If I order prime rib in a restaurant rare, I expect to get what I ordered. However, if the server sets a plate of well-done prime rib in front of me, I’m not the guy that is going to throw a walleyed fit. I’m not going to talk to the waiter like he is a stepchild that I really detest and demand that I settle for no less than what I ordered. Actually, I’m not going to call attention to the fact that the order is unacceptable. I simply will choose not to go back to that restaurant.
It is not the end of the world if someone gets the order wrong. I’ve been to dinner with folks who see it differently. Embarrassing is he only way I can describe the experience. The guy who ordered the prime rib rare was not willing to settle for medium rare. It was as if he personalized the error of the chief’s ways and was verbally assaultive to the waiter. I felt sorry for the poor kid! He was a college student working his way through school by waiting tables and dealing with inordinately rude people.
Okay, so I’ve set the groundwork to pass myself off as “laid back and easy going”. Yet when I took the General’s car to the car dealer at the end of last week for service, the experience proved frustrating. The frustrating part happened before I even got out of the car. There were two very long lines of vehicles waiting for service.
I am not used to waiting in line for service. I always schedule the first appointment of the day. Having a 9:00 a.m. appointment was unusual for me, but that was the only time available. Never again! It is a zoo that time of day. So I was parked behind an unoccupied vehicle and the service personnel had failed to pull the car up causing a fairly large gap between the car in front of me and the next car in line.
I’m not making this up. It happened. Three cars that arrived after I did pulled out of the line to the right of me and forged themselves in front of the car blocking me from being able to pull up. My frustration didn’t reach the point of anger, but it really didn’t set well with me.
Fortunately, all it took was an apple muffin and a steaming cup of chai tea to totally erase the experience from my mind. Why let something so inconsequential mess up the quality of one’s day? It wasn’t worth it.
Yesterday, I had a frustrating experience of long duration. I needed to talk to someone at a state agency in another state. I dialed the number and was greeted by an automated attendant. Did I mention I don’t like automated attendants? For one thing, I usually never know the extension of the person I’m calling. I also didn’t know their name. Consequently, don’t offer me the opportunity to spell it on the keypad on my phone. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve had that same experience. I expected it. I anticipated it. I knew it was going to happen. Guess what? It didn’t.
Instead I was greeted with something close akin to: “Thank you for your call. Your call is important to us. Currently all of our assistants are on other lines. Consequently, you will need to call back at another time. Thank your for your patience and understanding.” After that brief message, the line went dead.
Put my call on hold until you can answer it, but don’t hang up on me! I really don’t like that. Did I mention that I called back repeatedly for over two hours? I have set a new record of having been hung-up on. It was enough to try my patience and I found the experience extremely frustrating.
Of course, there is a method to their madness, once you finally get through and hear the instructions, “We are temporarily putting your call on hold. An attendant will be with you shortly”, you are so relieved that your forget you’ve just wasted two hours of your time. Of course, even then you are in for another fifteen minute wait. At least there was elevator music on the line. The line wasn’t dead.
When I finally talked to real person, she had a kind “grandmotherly voice.” I didn’t even explain that I waited half a day to talk with her. I almost asked if I could put her on my Christmas card list, but I don’t have a Christmas card list. In addition, she had not received the form that I had mailed to her office two-and-a half weeks ago. She explained, “If you mailed it to the post office box instead of the street address, it usually takes three or four weeks to get to us.” Okay, according to the instructions on the form, unless you were sending the form certified mail – return receipt requested, you were to mail it to the post office box.
Like I said, “She had a kind grandmotherly voice”. When she told me to call back at the end of the week, I didn’t go into a rage. What was I thinking? Actually, I was thinking the only person who loses when I go into a rage is myself. Suggesting that two hours wasted waiting to talk with a real person leads one to question the efficacy of state government, doesn’t serve me well. It also doesn’t put me high on her order of folks she wants to help. I needed her help, otherwise I wouldn’t have called. I know her name and she kindly gave me her number. Only time will tell.
Actually, the point I need to make is that I have the capacity to have a walleyed fit. However, I’ve learned that it doesn’t serve me well when I choose to do so.
All My Best!