Tag Archives: challenges

How great am I?

“We would love to hear from you!”

                           “Please fill out this brief survey to tell us how we did!”

           “Tell us how we can serve you better.”

 

It seems as if everyone wants to know how great they did before they actually do anything! Now, to be fair not every place I visit on the web bombards me with a request for accolades. Some wait until I’m finished browsing their website. And some let me go on my merry way without accosting me. And I do mean accosted.

When I visit a store online it is usually with a purpose. Sometimes I’m looking for something in particular and sometimes I’m just browsing. But leave me the hell alone! I even hate going into actual stores only to have the sales staff continually assail me with questions and offers of their assistance. Don’t be too far away when I want something but don’t pester me. I know everybody wants to make a buck but that will chase me out of the store faster than a bad smell. I mean that.

Have you ever gone to a good restaurant and had your wait staff continually question the quality of your meal? Sometimes they are fawning over your every mouthful. They will interrupt your conversation just so you can tell them how good they are or how wonderful the meal is. A really good way to lose your tip! A good waiter will anticipate the diners’ needs without interrupting. A good waiter has eyes in the back of their head and can see when their diners require something. I have been served by really good waiters. I have also been served by really bad ones. The former is a pleasure, the later not so much.   The quality of the service can enhance or detract from the experience.

I guess as I get older I am becoming more aware of service, good service. I appreciate what it takes to provide that service and I look for it. Don’t get me wrong I’m not holding people up to a standard from long ago but I am holding them to a standard. Good service, like good manners, should not be a thing of the past.

 

A Blast From the Past

The Domino Effect   (January 2014)

 I want to say something profound and memorable. I wanted my first full post of 2014 to be something people spoke about to each other for days and weeks. And then I realized I had it all wrong. It’s not about the words I use. It’s not about how I feel about what I write. It’s about reaching out from the isolation of my home to the world. We are not alone. We never have been.

I’m a big believer in the importance of chance. You meet a stranger on the street and you smile in an abstract, bored sort of way. The person you smile at doesn’t realize you are bored and his spirits are lifted just a tiny bit and when he gets home to his wife he’s kinder. His wife spends a little longer getting dressed that night because she’s starting to believe she’s beautiful because her husband was kind. She speaks gently to her child that night and he goes to sleep feeling loved. The next day he goes to school and does exceptionally well on a test because he feels good about himself. His teacher is thrilled that her problem student has done well and she feels better about herself thinking she’s the reason. She goes home that night . . . All of this happened because one woman smiled at a stranger. It’s a domino effect.

We live on this little blue world made of dirt and water and people. There are a lot of us. There are wars and hunger, violence and apathy. Every day we deal with our own perceived inadequacies, our own diseases. But there’s one thing we must never forget: somewhere, someone is in much worse shape than we are. Somewhere, someone is watching their life blood seep through a gaping wound, alone and frightened. Somewhere, someone is watching as a loved one slowly succumbs to a painful and deadly disease. A woman is raped and beaten, killed. A man is shot dead by a stranger for his empty wallet. A woman feels the hands of a lover on her throat tightening. Children are shot by children, men and women are tortured, planes crash, people are dying of hunger, disease and greed.

You have a choice. I have a choice. We can give in, be victims and wallow in our own self-pity. Or we can take what quality of life we have, embrace it, relish it, enhance it if we can, and live. Reach out to the stranger next to you and smile. We are all in this together.

One of Those Days

Do you every have one of those days when everything goes wrong? You get out of the wrong side of the bed in the middle of the night and step on to something wet and cold. Perhaps it’s a wet facecloth that escaped from the bathroom in a bid for freedom. It could happen. Couldn’t it? As you stand there trying desperately to ignore your expanding bladder you distinctly remember the retching noises your cat made that you chose to ignore as you were getting into bed. The midnight fairies won’t clean THAT up!

So you hobble into the bathroom trying desperately not to touch the floor, that beautiful hardwood that you spent thousands installing. (You see a hardwood refinisher in your future.) But you make it, curse Mother Nature for fitting your body with a function that no one wants to talk about in polite company. Noxious liquids dealt with, you envision a quick jaunt back to your oh, so comfortable bed. Unless . . . you have pets.

“Free to a good home!” “Unconditional love!” “The best companion anyone could ever want!” “Never be alone again!” Truth in advertising? Absolutely. But I’ll bet you never read the fine print. That’s a whole different truth.

When you have a small child (of the human variety) you expect to get little sleep. It can take months, even years for them to reach a point where they sleep through the night to allow you to sleep through yours. A few years of midnight bliss and then they’re teenagers and it starts all over again.

 

So instead of a human child you decide to get one of a feline or canine variety. Did you not read the fine print? When they are very young they often have trouble sleeping alone. Curled up in your armpit, hair or chest is often preferable. Which means you don’t sleep terribly well either. You’re midnight forays will now provide you with a traveling companion. You will never be alone again. Oh and that afternoon nap you love to take. They don’t. You are fair game. Fine print!

So finally you rethink this companion thing. You’re young, strong, intelligent. You don’t need to be cuddled by a non-sentient fleabag. You want to eat when you want to eat! You want to stay out as long as you want! You don’t need to be needed! And then it happens.

You come home from a rough day. You’re sad and you don’t know why. You sit down on the couch wondering why you ever took this job and your cat jumps onto your lap. You look down at this intrusion and a stray paw taps your hand, big brown eyes turn to look into yours with such . . .

And there my friend is why you will move mountains to accommodate your animal companion. They are gentle souls who need you. I think.