Friday, November 14

My special power: invisibility

You know, a couple of months ago I made a commitment to myself to stop complaining, but sometimes complaining exorcises ideas that bother me and I am never bothered by them again. I hope that is the case right now. Also, I am a bit on the passive aggressive side and sometimes tend to complain to the wrong audience, rather than the one with whom I have my grievance. This is something I'm working on.

Mikela and I went to dinner tonight at a local pizza place and our conversation eventually came around to one of the seeming paradoxes of dealing with service industry people: the fact that if you are patient, polite, and understanding of how busy servers/bartenders/baristas are, they sometimes ignore you; while rude, pushy, demanding people (who often seem to be stingy tippers) get all the attention in the world.

At dinner, I stood at the bar forever and couldn't get a refill on my beer because I wasn't rude enough to elbow between people eating at the bar and get in the bartender's face (Not that I actually needed any more beer. What I did drink led to the crankiness you are now witnessing). The bartender couldn't be bothered to notice me even though two of her friends were standing right next to me. I always err on the side of being too timid in this type of situation, never saying "Excuse me!" when I need to, so the frustration I feel is ultimately at myself. I don't want to come off as an obnoxious asshole. Why should it matter, anyway? Do I care if the bartender thinks I'm a bitch? What's she going to do to me? How does she know I need something if I don't speak up? She's fucking busy. So what do I do? Why, complain to Mikela, hapless bystander, of course. And be a bad listener. Boo!

I'm afraid of acting like one of those people you're embarrassed to go out with: I used to have a roommate who was so demanding and rude that she would tip horribly if the server didn't banter and coddle her in a specific way. After the laundry list of special things said roommate asked for when ordering, I was lucky if a server even remembered to bring me water.

Conversely, when I want to be invisible it never happens. At work I can't have five minutes in a row without one of my coworkers walking by my desk and commenting on something totally stupid--usually it involves the look on my face. I'll be working quietly and someone will walk by my desk, stop, turn around, and come back to ask me if anything is wrong or why I look confused, bored, or annoyed. My all-time favorite has to be the time a guy came over, crouched down, looked up at the ceiling, and asked me "Is there something interesting up there?" I was in the middle of figuring out some really complicated problem when he interrupted me with his stupid question.

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