Friday, December 14, 2012
Taking Some Time
My wife and I had unexpected time without kids tonight and took ourselves to dinner. We waited for a table, say, ordered and waited for food. The waitress brought me a salad and my wife and I chatted. I was drinking club soda and wondered if they offered free refills and just as I was preparing to ask the waitress, she arrived with a fresh point glass of the stuff.
Then she threw it at me.
Maybe she didn't throw it, but it went flying nonetheless and all of it landed on my lap and legs, the bench seat, my salad, the table, and so on. The waitress, as you can imagine, was horrified. She grabbed wads of napkins and apologized. She cleaned up the table and apologized. She swept ice cubes and apologized.
I had a moment of carbonated shock but then started laughing about it. I felt truly bad for this young woman who said that in weight years of serving she had never once spilled on a customer and tried to get her to feel better about the whole thing. She helped clean things up some more and brought me a new drink without spilling a drop. All the while I found myself growing more and more amused (as well as pretty clammy) about the whole thing and enjoying myself.
My wife told me that I was a good sport, laughing about it and making the waitress feel better. I had that Seinfeld moment, thinking, "I _am_ a good man..." and then another thought came to me.
"How else could I be about it?"
I added that I knew the answer to that. I could have been angry, upset, or hurt by the whole thing. I could have said that the night was ruined and left the restaurant immediately.
"But really," I said, "how else could I be about it?"
I meant that in the moment there was nothing to be gained by fighting the moment. I was wet and that was unlikely to change any time soon. I was still hungry so it made sense to stick around and get our meal. And, for what it's worth, it's the holiday season. Why not laugh about it and be kind?
I'm not trying to be noble here. I'm actually saying that nothing else made sense. And I'm happy that I've come to a point in my life when I assess things and am aware enough of both myself and the situation to know that there is really only one way to go that will make me happy.
Speaking of reactions, but on a very sad note, there was a shooting in a school in Connecticut this morning and children were killed in the attack. My immediate reactions were to get angry about it and want the killer dead. Then I found out he was dead and wanted instead to go after the gun-rights advocates. I'll admit it, I thought it might be just to have some gun-lover's kids get shot. I moved away from that and realized that I needed to turn the radio off and stop listening to the news. I was too raw to deal with it. Anger is a good indication of that for me.
It has been hours now and I'm still not ready to listen to or read the news about this. I have two young girls and I while I can't imagine the pain those families are facing right now, I can begin to imagine and that is more than enough for me. I'm not going to analyze that situation because I know that I'm going to say things that I won't want to have to defend tomorrow. Better to wait. Right now there's nothing that I have to do about any of it. Right now there is nothing that I can do. It is out of my hands.
The club soda spilled on me was beyond my control. My reaction was absolutely within my sphere. I chose well tonight and I'm glad. The shooting in Connecticut is far beyond my understanding right now and even if I did understand it, there is nothing whatsoever that I can do. My decision to wait is a good one and again I'm glad that I have made it. There will be time to make decisions and react. There will be a succession of tomorrows afforded to me to come to terms with this, decide what to do, and write on and on and on.
My thoughts are with everyone who is touched by this tragedy and my hopes are that somehow we will create good from this horror.
Posted by Brian G. Fay