Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Job has a lot to answer for.

Take your time - really !
When you lose interest in lunch, then you know it’s time to seriously look at your lifestyle.

Today I took a slogan from Jacie’s blog. Simply printed on a sheet of A4 paper, it sits pride of place on my divider at work. “Sometimes you drink the milk, sometimes the milk drinks you.” I fully expect it will keep people at a safe distance – as well they should.
My mum said a while back that I had the patience of Job. Those words have been marinating in my subconscious ever since. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s about context.

Take Sunday.
I was waiting to be served for lunch. The lady customer front of me seemed totally engrossed in conversation with the serving girl behind the counter. Chatting away, she was (hopefully) oblivious to the people waiting. Just when you thought she would stop and move on, she’d delve into her large handbag, pull out her fluffy round purse and arrange to buy something additional for her lunch; all this while my blood sugar dipped and boiled at the same time.
I, on the other hand pride myself on getting my lunch order down pat – A cheery hello, order, pay, thank you. I know what I want before I get to the counter, and I’m aware of my fellow shoppers waiting for their turn to order.
After I ordered, I went to sit down to wait for my lunch, only to find the aforementioned lady was arranging the chairs in the coffee shop. “Don’t mind me”, she said. “I’m only moving the chairs around”. Perhaps this was supposed to be some kind of grand revelation designed in some way, to make me feel better: it didn’t. She was seriously ‘fucking with my Chi’. I said nothing – there was no point, she was apparently some kind of professional chair arranger, and I obviously had no understanding of her part to play in this world – to complain would obviously point to a problem with my ignorance of the situation.

I’m pretty big on etiquette. I was always brought up to say please and thank you. Just the other day I apologised to a checkout operator when my phone rang whilst paying my bill. I’ll always answer the call if it's urgent, but I always ask the caller to ring me back. You should say sorry, because face it, talking to someone on a phone when you have a real person in from of you is just plain rude.

Finally, take last week.
Last Friday I arranged to go out for lunch with a someone. Just as the menus were delivered his phone rang. What followed was a 10 minute conversation that’s seemed to me, more like 5 years. Every time the conversation seemed to end, it would continue. Twice the waiter moved past our table, and seeing we were not ready, moved on to others. I can’t explain to you the extreme frustration I experienced while he was on the phone, yet I realised I was applying my own values to his situation. He was obviously an ignorant prick, and that just couldn’t be helped. Context had its part to play yet again.

When I see a young child play with a family pet I’m reminded how the animals always seem to cut the child slack, especially when they are toddlers – like the cat understands the kid doesn’t know the rules yet. Later, when the kid gets older the scratches start; the cat teaches the kid about boundaries. Just a pity we don’t allow Taser's in this country. The patience of Job be damned – I’d love to set some boundaries myself.

[Disclaimer: This post was written during a period of low blood sugar]


Jacie said...

that was really funny Mark - especially the 'professional chair arranger'. I think I'll type out 'you are seriously fucking with my chi' and stick it on my desk! Incidentally that's the 2nd time in 2 days that someone I know has mentioned the movie Swordfish - weird

Mark J said...

Thanks Jacie. I wondered where i remembered that quote from. :)

In case anyone was wondering - all is well here. The seasonal change to winter aside, I tend to write about the things most pressing, and of late these posts may have lacked balance somewhat. Look for lighter posts soon - I promise to relax a little :)