Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Should I Have?

I am a fairly reasonable and level-headed person. I tend to not lean toward the paranoid, conspiracy-theory outlook on life. But there have been a few experiences that I've had in my life where---looking back on them---I wonder if I should have been upset or angry or insulted. You know what I mean? I let things slide, a lot. Mostly, it's because I hate conflict and confrontation. When it comes to "flight or fight," I am outta there! My mantra should be: In case of anything remotely dealing with awkward human interaction, RUN.

Maybe it would have been better if I did get rip-roaring mad; maybe it even would have been justifiable! Maybe my life would have turned out differently, which is a mostly scary thought. I don't know. I've had more than my share of these little experiences but the following three just seem to linger with me. What do you think?

Experience 1:

When I was 19, there was this boy that I absolutely, utterly worshiped. He was in my art class during my first semester of college. I've mentioned him before on this blog. Ok. Also in the class was a girl---actually a woman, as I found out later that she was 26 when we were all 18-19. She had an...odd personality. She was mostly bubbly, but she could really grate on your nerves. Nobody really liked her all that much because she was just so annoying. We discovered later in the semester that she also had epilepsy. And she had a seizure one day in class, thankfully not a horrible one. I was the person who got a wheelchair, and put her in it, and wheeled her across the campus (albeit a small one), and waited outside with her until someone in her family picked her up. Nobody else would.

So that's the back story there. Ok. For the sake of avoiding confusion, we will call this epileptic girl Candace.

Candace knew of my unending adoration for said boy. I mean, if anyone didn't know, they had to be legally blind and deaf. Seriously. I tried to not make it a big deal, but I usually wear my heart on my sleeve. With me, I'm very WYSIWYG. Yet somehow, inexplicably, the BOY didn't know.... I think he knew; just pretended he didn't. So anyway, one day during a break in our 3-hour class, I was in the hall talking to this boy and Candace. Loved every second of it. Another girl, a different one from our class, who was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, comes into the hall and starts talking to us. Boy goes back into class with gorgeous girl. I said, "Sigh. That's going to be a problem." There is no way I can compete with raving beauty, especially when we are talking about a guy who is like 19, you know? So I got a little choked up. And I made a run for the ladies room. Real mature, I know. But hey, I was 19 and absolutely SICK in love with him. You have NO idea. Candace comes in after me; tries to make me feel better. I don't remember anything at all of the conversation we had EXCEPT this sentence that she said to me:

"You should forget about him; you are too ugly for him."


Know what? I BELIEVED HER. I maybe even went as far as AGREED with her. WTF? Now, I ask you, what would you have felt, done at that time? Should I have punched her in her stupid face? Or been like, "Oh yeah? At least I'm not a no-talent, 26-year-old college freshman, LOSER." Looking back on it, I know I should have been offended or insulted. I know. But I let it pass. It ate away at me, though. Obviously. ;-)

Experience 2:

Todd and I got married in June 2004. But we had been an exclusive couple since Jan 1, 1999. Yeah, I know, it took him long enough! So for 5 and 1/2 years, it was just Todd and me (still is, now 9 years). We went to Bermuda for our honeymoon. It was lovely there. If you haven't ever been to Bermuda, I highly recommend it as a vacation/honeymoon destination. So about 4-5 days after we returned, I started feeling sick. Bladder infection, I was sure. Yuck. I'd had a couple before. For anyone who's ever had a bladder infection, you can back me up here: you KNOW when you have one. Period. You feel me?

Well, I really hate the doctor. At this time, I was actually in-between doctors too, which makes matters worse. So I tried to self-medicate for a couple of days. Which means, I drank tons of fluids and took cranberry capsules. And it may have gotten marginally better. Then it got majorly WORSE. I was at work and suddenly at about 11:00am I got horrible chills and my lower back started to hurt. By 2:00pm, I felt like a freakin' camel kicked me repeatedly in my kidneys and I could barely stand up. My boss drove me to the emergency room.

Emergency rooms, in general, SUCK ASS TIMES ELEVENTY. As a result, I waited quite a long time before anyone saw me. When someone finally came over, they naturally asked for a urine sample. They got one from me, no problem. They gave me some ibuprofen in a cup for pain. I tell them, "I think I have a kidney infection." More waiting. The attending ER doctor comes over, a young man, nice. He tells me, "Well, it looks like you DO have a kidney infection. But we'll get that taken care of." Fine, great, super. Then he says, sort of sheepishly, apologetically, "Uh, the head of ER wants to talk to you first about a possible...uh...complication. It's...not a big deal...but he has to do it. Legalities and such. Ok?" So I say, "O...k." More waiting.

The head of ER finally comes over. I recognized him. This dude had been all over the place for the last several hours. I had suspected it was he that was the head of ER. Not by his caring, attentive nature, nor by his attention to detail and order and professionalism, but rather by his fucking swagger and his ill-fitting greens. All he needed was a gold medallion and he could give Barry Gibb a run for the money. Ok. He starts a long, rambling speech about "people your age" and "living life at the extreme." Yeah, extreme for me is ordering curly fries from Arby's. Do I DARE? Also? In June of 2004, I was 32 years old. Not exactly the age group that "lives life at the extreme," and last time I checked, I don't count Paris Hilton or Britney Spears among my best buds.

This was not an old man, by any means. Late 40s, early 50s tops. I'm just biding my time, nodding, waiting for him to shut the hell up and release me so I can go the hell home after being trapped in there for 6 hours. So he gets to his point (finally), which was: "I'd like to, with your permission, give you a series of tests for Chlamydia. Because often Chlamydia masks itself as another ailment and you have all those possible symptoms. So you may think you have a bladder, er, rather, kidney infection [rolls his eyes] but it might be something way more serious."


What I wanted to say is, "Dude, are you seriously telling me---someone who's just returned from their HONEYMOON--- that I have the fucking CLAP?" But instead, I just said, "Uh, no. That won't be necessary. I'm sure I don't have Chlamydia." He pressed the issue, "Well if you've ever had these symptoms before, if you ever thought you had a bladder infection in the past, it could very well be Chlamydia." I could see the other doctor, the nice one, in the distance just sort of shaking his head in dismay and a little embarrassment. I just shook my head and said, "No."

Should I have been angry, insulted, offended? What could I say? I think the issue with me is that I tend to defer and give respect to people in positions of authority. Twelve years of Catholic school hammered that into me. I think that was the case here. I probably should have told the asshole to go to hell, but there was some part of me that held back.

Experience 3:

So you all know I work at a university, where I've been employed for a little over 5 years now. I put up with a lot of crap in my job. With the antics of the faculty combined with the idiocy of the students, it's a miracle I haven't gone rogue and shot a bunch of people in a shopping mall. This recent experience is the culmination of 5 years of frustration. It sums up in a brief encounter the kind of existence I have at work.

I had a very busy 2 weeks. It was the first 2 weeks of the term, which are always very hectic. I have tons of things going on, students to advise, forms to fill out, webpages to update, etc. etc. As I may have mentioned before, I seldom take a formal lunch. I usually sit at my desk, door open, so I can be aware of what's happening around me. My boss has told me, on several occasions, that I should a) leave the office entirely for lunch (preferred) or b) close my door. It's kind of nice that he believes that I need to get out of there for a little bit every day. At least he gets it.

So I decided to shut my door one day for lunch. About a half hour into my lunch, there's a knock on my door. Sigh. I delayed about 10 seconds, hoping that maybe whoever was on the other side would realize that a closed door at 1:00pm means that someone might be eating lunch. You know, common sense? No such luck. Knock, knock, again. I swallow my Triscuits and answer the door. It's one of our faculty. The biggest douchebag on the planet. Douchebag doesn't even apologize for interrupting my lunch, just says, "I need to do a change of grade form. Where are they?"


The forms in question are in the copy room, which is directly across from my office, which is also where the forms have happened to reside for the LAST 2 YEARS. Douchebag KNOWS this. HAS TO. I know for a fact that Douchebag has submitted many-a-form of this kind before. So, incredulous, I shamble over to the copy room while saying, "They are here, in the copy room, on the bottom shelf, left side." I take one and give it to Douchebag. As I pass the reception desk, I see our department secretary there. She looks up at me, and just closes her eyes and shakes her head, knowingly. Then another level of anger hits me.

She's sitting there at her desk, out in the open. I am in my office, several paces away from her desk, with my door closed. Douchebag couldn't save themselves the extra effort of walking FURTHER and actually knocking (twice) by asking the department secretary---who was right there---for the form instead? No. Douchebag HAD to come ask me. Why? Because Douchebag has complete and utter lack of respect for me and my job. Period. This is the trend in my department.

I just let the rage boil inside me. Douchebag got the form and left. I went back in my office, shut the door, and choked down the rest of my lunch along with the bitter bile of resentment, which is a taste I know all too well. Should I have just stood my ground and said to myself, "I will not answer that door." Or should I have said to Douchebag, "I'm eating lunch, ask the department secretary." But see, to me, that lacks common sense and common decency. It's RETARDED to tell someone to ask another person for something when you know the answer. It's just not in my being to be that way.

So there you have it. Am I a pushover? Or just too nice? Or what? What could I have or SHOULD I have done?


Katie J said...

Yeah, I'm all that minus a bag of chips. I hear you and I can give you no advice as I was raised as a Catholic mid-westerner by two teachers. Respecting elders/authority vs. being a pushover? I still have trouble distinguishing the two.

Anonymous said...

If you know where Candace lives now, let me know so I can go slash her tires for you. :)

(Yeah, I think she was a big butthead for saying that you to you.)

Anonymous said...

Okay, that girl Candace, yeah, jerk. She just really feels that way about herself, you know. I am the same and I probably would have reacted the same as you did. I hate that sometimes and other times I just let it go. Hi there, it's just me your secret swap partner. Stopping to say hi and read your blog!!