My Clark Kent job is front desk at a dental office. It’s not what I dreamed of doing with my life but it allows me to work 3 days a week, it pays my bills and gives me the opportunity to babysit my nephews, keeping my sister and I from getting raped by the childcare system. As part of my job I ask patients to update certain forms. I don’t do it because I have a paper fetish or a sick desire to steal 30 seconds out of your day or because it gives me some unexplainable joy. I do it because it’s part of my job and I have to. So, when someone yells at me or looks at me like they want to stab me with a prison shank when I ask them to fill one out I take that personally. I don’t want to ruin your day with my form, I just want to not get bitched at by my boss. I don’t want to get fired because we got fined by the State Dental Board since I didn’t have you fill out your form. I just want to get paid and go home.
I recently had the pleasure of getting verbally bitch slapped by a patient who didn’t want to fill out a form. I knew this particular patient was undergoing radiation therapy, he had changed so much since the last time I saw him that I didn’t recognize him when he came in. So instead of taking offense and letting his tirade and icy glare upset me for half the day I let it go. I know it seems like a simple concept but for everyone who has worked in customer service and been bitched at by random people for no reason they know it has a way to drag you down like no other. There is something about a total stranger being mean to you that can cut deeper than someone you know because you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have done nothing to earn this person’t anger. Not only did I let it go, I was ok with it and wished him well. If yelling at me was what he needed to get himself through the day, if that made him feel better I was not going to begrudge him that. I would open my arms and let him drive his word sword in my gut because other than a momentary flush of my cheeks I was ok. Perhaps every rude person I encounter is in a similar situation. Not likely, but if I could shift my context each time someone hurts my feelings I would save myself a ton of aggravation every day and ultimately improve my own life and maybe even someone else’s. Isn’t that what we’re all really after at the end of the day? So go ahead, release your fury, I can take it. If my accepting your death by eyeball is going to make you feel better because of whatever you’re going through right now I can take it and I will.
That being said, this post doesn’t apply to people who are mean to others on a regular basis. I mean at some point enough is enough, stop being a drain on humanity and practice some freaking kindness.