April 25, 2014 - 7:20 AM
So yes, I was grumpy. Fine, I admit it.
I’d already spent 15 hours of a badly-needed weekend behind the wheel. So there’s that. And my trip was to Calgary and back so needn't say more, right? But so what, big deal.
“This isn’t a 'purple truck,'” my wife said. “And it’s not a truck, either.”
“It’s red,” my son said. “And I don’t know what it is, but it’s definitely not a truck.”
Traitors. How dare they disrupt a good rant with ‘reason’ and ‘facts.’ But I guess they saw something I didn't in my exchange with the clerk-in-training at a gas station in Revelstoke.
I’m pay-at-the-pump all the way, baby. Get in, get out. But this pump had that helpful sign: ‘REMOVE CARD QUICKLY.’ How precise. I did as it suggested, but no help. I tried again. And again and again. I made an awkward attempt to speak over intercom, then briefly considered taking out my frustration at the inanimate objects until I pictured the surveillance video going viral on YouTube and I just know I would later have to publish it myself as news.
Instead I went inside to get the machine reset. This has happened before.
“Which pump are you on?” she asked.
How should I know? “That one. Purple truck,” I said. “Over there."
“I can’t see it from here,” she said.
“Sure you can. You just have to look. It’s right there. Right. There. Look where I am pointing: No... there.”
In my defence no other vehicle in sight was close to either red or purple. Hmph.
So yeah, I had a little rant. No big deal. Minor frustration.
Filling the truck, I heard one of my two boys say: "What’s the matter with dad? Why was he so mad at that girl?"
Mad? Me? Surely not. I can’t stand people who treat service workers poorly, wear anger on their sleeves and make others miserable. I’m the guy who tries to make the clerks smile. This week, I made the paint guy laugh when I asked if I could return one-fifth of a quart for refund when what I really needed was another can.
But I guess I was grumpy enough I didn’t even realize my kids and my wife watched the whole exchange and, yes, I treated the clerk badly. Not badly enough to end up on YouTube, but I probably ruined someone’s day. And my kids witnessed the whole thing.
Question is what to do about it. If I’ve learned anything about being a dad, it’s that everything has unintended consequences. I went back in to get my change and apologized for being a jerk and left $5 so she could, I don’t know, buy herself something nice. She smiled and I presume she was satisfied, her day somewhat salvaged.
I got back in the redish-purple SUV-type-truck and my wife smiled and suggested I tell my YouTubers what they missed.
“No way,” I said. “I ain’t telling them nothing.”
Because while I am the male role model, this is touchy business. They already know how I typically treat people; that’s why this minor excursion with the rookie clerk stood out so much. I just don't do that.
They also know I apologize when I am wrong. Personally, I think it’s an admirable trait but apparently I do it too often—so much that at least half of my spawn now sees it as weakness and he’s not wrong. Perhaps it carries the stench of a lesson, maybe looks false. My humility is at risk of being a rejected personality trait.
I think it’s time I stop over-thinking things, stop being a role model and just do what’s right. I apologized because I was wrong, not because I needed to teach anyone a lesson.
— Marshall Jones is the editor of Infotel News.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014