As I get older I find myself pondering the question of the necessity to pontificate on anything let alone on everything. I suppose that the fact that I write a blog may be seen as evidence of where I have landed on the issue but I am not sure that is the case. Everyday I find myself in situations where there are many things that I could say. There are all types of opportunities to comment or observe or illuminate situations that are frustrating, aggravating and in themselves sad commentaries on the state of our life together. I am keeping a record of all the incorrect orders from fast food restaurants, and the inane silliness of folks euphemistically known as “servers”. I have taken to responding to the statement “perfect”, the automatic and seemingly ubiquitous remark that people are using when they take an order at a restaurant, with the dark reposte of “we’ll see”. I have muttered to drive up window denizens, “I will in about five minutes when I get to the parking lot and find out I haven’t gotten any of the stuff I ordered”, to the cheery “come again” that was supposed to send me satisfied on my way. I approached one server and asked if the paper napkins were made of gold since I only got one. I asked someone with a badge on if any of the “associates” (a new name for clerk) could come out of the “board meeting” and help a customer. I felt a little bad when I told some dolt behind a counter that I was profit and he was overhead, but I cannot abide someone who treats customers as if they are inconveniences.
I guess the reason that I worry about these things is because I have had the queasy feeling that I am getting mean. There is a difference between constructive criticism and meanness. I also have the feeling that some of these folks might actually melt down as I have been informed “snow flakes” are wont to do.
I also wonder about the lessons of history and fate of those who were just plain mean. Marie Antoinette never said “let them eat cake” when she was told her subjects couldn’t afford to buy bread. She didn’t say it but it shows the attitude of her husband Louis XIV who had a petitioner come to him for some favor, and when Louis turned him down he said “your majesty, I have to live”. Louis’ retort was mean. He said, “I don’t see why”.
We fight the urge to be mean and yet there seems to me to be a modicum of need to ask others to be better than they are for their sakes and for ours.