Friday, December 3, 2010

Price Check on Tampons in Aisle 3!

While at work yesterday, I experienced on of the most embarrassing things ever. The more the situation escalated, the more I made it worse. Have you ever had one of those moments?

The front doorbell to school rang. As I looked at my monitor, I saw two men - one who was familiar (the Hot Lunch Delivery guy) and one who wasn't familiar, but didn't look scary or anything. I buzzed the door open and they walked in.

(There are times throughout my day at work when bells ring all over the place. Teachers, students, parents, and other people surround my desk, asking questions while the phone rings and the PA buzzes) All I can do is take one thing at a time in order. This was one of those moments.

The Hot Lunch Guy approached my desk first, so I took care of him. I signed his delivery sheet, exchanged some pleasantries and he was off.

I looked up to to the next guy and said, "Yes sir, what can I do for you?"
The guy said, "Well, I'm not a dude. I'm a woman, but that's okay. I hear that all the time."

MORTIFIED! That's what I felt. The world started spinning in circles. All I could do was lay my head on my desk and apologize over and over. I thought to myself, "I need to make this woman feel good. I need her to be happy with who she is. I need to let her know that I was the one in error, not her."

So I did what any other normal person would do. I jumped up, ran around the desk and took her into a great big bear hug that lasted for probably longer than was warranted. In that hug, I was trying to say how sorry I was and how insensitive I was and trying to let her see that it was just so crazy at my desk that I didn't pay attention.

I finally released her from my guilt hug. She asked the question that she came into the school to ask in the first place. "Where's the AA meeting?" (Well...for those of you who know my background, I was doubly honored to be hugging her, but embarrassed about my error and so maybe I was overcompensating a little bit. I told her that it was in the church basement and directed her on how to get there. At that frenzied moment, I realized that the meeting wasn't in the church basement; it was in the parish office basement. I had to be sure.

"Mary," I called to the adjoining office, "Where''s the AA meeting? In the church basement or the parish office basement?"
Mary can't hear over the noise, so she says, "What?!"
Mary comes out of her office. "What?"
"Where's the AA meeting? The church basement or the parish office basement?
She answers, "It's in the church office basement. She calmly gives my new friend the directions on how to get there.

I give my new friend one last hug and tell her she's beautiful and off she goes.

Here is the ever important, always-to-remember lesson of that 5 minute exchange...Look people in the eye. Know who you are talking to. Don't rely on what you think you know. Take the time to treat each human being as a creation of God. Take the time...time...time.



Jeannie said...

One time I told a child to wait for his grandpa... it was his father. i mean the guy was no joke at least 70 and the child was like 4.

Jo said...

love you really made me laugh!

kelleyj said...

Hee hee what a great story!