It was another mental vitamin day for me this morning. I got to have breakfast with a dear friend whom I haven’t actually been able to sit down and really talk with for a very long time. Sure, I wave as I go tearing by her house in my garbage can on wheels (AKA the minivan). And I’m sure most times I have steam coming out of my ears, head spinning, my face contorted into some mangled screaming horror show because I’m — of course — late once again. Why? My kids most likely were being assholes and not listening.
I’ve been pondering a lot this morning. I think that’s what I can contribute 95% of the rage in my life to: people not listening to me. And I’m guessing there are a lot of other women out there who feel the same way about their lives.
As we were munching on our heavenly crispy bacon this morning, my friend told me about the saga she was dealing with at her house. I won’t go into all the details here, but I bet you a venti mocha with extra whip most women have experienced a similar situation far more times that we’d like to count. A company comes out to provide a service, screws up said service, woman has to call…and call…and call. Finally gets problem addressed half-assedly (it’s a word, okay?!) only to have to deal further with said headache, which has now escalated into a full-blown migraine. Now what does she have to do? She has to have her husband call and deal with it and be an asshole. And then miraculously things seem to get addressed. Ugh.
The pain of this situation is multi-fold. Even though my friend was professional, polite and accommodating to work with to get the problem resolved, they disrespected her and blew her off repeatedly. Her frustration grew, significant time and energy was wasted and still no results. So she had to resort to calling in a man, even though there was no reason whatsoever they couldn’t have done the right thing when she asked them to. Do you know how demeaning that gets to be when it happens to you over and over again?
WHY!?! WHY does it have to get to this point? I literally have told customer lack-of-service people, “Now you can deal with me, and I will be a pure delight to work with, OR I can have my husband handle this and it will be far from pleasant. Your last colonoscopy will have seemed like a dream Disney vacation, complete with character breakfasts in comparison. Which do you choose?” (See what I did there? A little Love & Logic: gave them 2 options, either of which are acceptable to me? Hey, sometimes it works on my kids!)
Then of course they choose option #2, and I listen to the subsequent conversation my husband has with them. Somehow whatever magic hypnotism he performs, miraculously things get solved forthwith and they throw in a new car and a pony just for his inconvenience. *sigh* Yet if I would have said what he said, I would have been a bat$#it crazy bitch from hell and somehow from a man, it’s assertive and strong. Christ on a bike. I give up.
And remember me moaning about always being late because my kids didn’t listen to me when I told them it was time to get ready to go? Yeah. Again with the not listening. Here’s how things probably went down:
- It’s about 20 minutes before we have to go. In my nicest Mary Poppins voice, I give fair warning that they have 5 minutes then it’s time for shoes, bathroom, coats etc.
- 2 minute warning given
- Times up. Let’s get ready to go. Complaints, moaning or even just plain crickets chirping in response.
- My blood pressure starts to go up. I go to find my clompiest (it’s a word!) shoes so I can stomp around to further show my frustration as I go herd up the feral cats.
- Finally they start to get the message and respond like sullen, moody sloths as they make their way to find their shoes (which of course are nowhere near where they’re supposed to be.)
- It’s now 10 minutes past when we should have left, and only 1 of 3 has done at at least one of the required activities to leave. The others are either staring off into space contemplating whether BBQ or ranch is the optimal dipping sauce for their chicken nuggets, while the other is having an epic meltdown because his socks are uncomfortable and he’s not going to wear them.
- Deep breathing, rational thought and all things Mary Poppins are long gone. Now it’s full-on drill sergeant mode, everyone is yelling and/or crying and miraculously things start happening.
- We are finally in the car, everyone is upset, I am dangerously close to stroke level and it DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!!!
So the lesson here seems to be that in order to get things done, it’s a waste of time to be nice and polite, and I should just go to straight on yelling?? No. I don’t like this answer one bit. If I’m nice, I’m not listened to and if I’m mean, I end up feeling like a $#itty parent or a dumb girl. Either way I’m left feeling powerless and angry.
And that, my friends, is what it all comes down to: powerlessness. Wouldn’t it just be a much nicer world if we would just be listened to the first time rather than having to go through all the BS that makes us feel like failures?
In the news, are seeing case upon case of sexual harassment and unjust treatment coming out from everywhere. And why is this? There are lots of reasons, but I think the main reason is that women are tired of feeling powerless. And now we’re pissed. Don’t piss us off. Things will not end well.
My advice to the world: listen. It’s not hard. Listening doesn’t make you a “weaker” person. Life doesn’t have to be one big power play by making others feel weak in order for you to feel stronger. Listening and doing things the right way the first time is far less exhausting for all parties involved. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Maybe I need to be a better listener too.