Maybe it’s just around these parts, but it seems like this week, everyone is crabby. Whenever I talk to anyone, they’re at their limit, stressed and frustrated and about to pop. Is it February? Or just winter in general? It’s hard to say. I include myself in this group, if only because yesterday, in a fit of pique (circumstances too complicated to go into) I heard myself uttering the three words that always signify I have gone over the edge: “I hate people!”
And I thought: Whoa. Because this is my signal, and when I hear myself say it I know it’s time for a serious emotional gut check. I mean, first, it’s vague. How can you hate all people? You don’t even know everyone! But more than anything, it reminds me of this guy I worked with, years ago, at the Burrito. I’ll call him Brad. (That was NOT his name, just like Billecht’s, from yesterday, is not a real place. And kudos to the anonymous poster who figured out my tricky Belk’s+Dillard’s+Hecht’s code. I worked hard on that! But anyway, back to Brad. Not his real name.)
So at the time Brad got hired, he was the only male wait working with us: we were an all-estrogen, all the time crew. And while Brad was very nice, he was a little…fragile. He just seemed a bit out of it, if I’m to be totally honest. Kind of like a leaf, blown sideways by the wind. Anyway, so one day early on in his Burrito career, it was my day to train Brad, so he was following me around as I waited tables, learning the ropes. I can’t remember the circumstances exactly, but at some point, something happened that made me snap. What I do remember was that we were in the walk-in cooler, so perhaps it had to do with salads. Who knows? Anyway, I was freaking, and I said, “God! I hate people!” And Brad, bless his heart, gasped. His face was shocked. There, in the walk-in, he was genuinely upset, disturbed even, as he said, “Sarah. That’s a horrible thing to say!” He was so bothered by it, it made me realize maybe I should be bothered as well.
Because I realized: he was right. It was a bad thing to say, because while you can be frustrated with various folks, or the world at large, you get what you give, and hating everyone ain’t giving much. So since then, when I hear these three words leave my mouth, I think of Brad—who left the Burrito soon after—and wherever he might be blowing around these days. And then I take a deep breath, and tell myself to calm down, lighten up, and get over myself. It doesn’t always happen right away. But it helps.
I hope, if any of you are crabby today, that things improve. Just think of Brad! Which, again, is not his real name.