My mother was a very strong, brilliant, opinionated person. Often, when she would get on a soapbox about something, she would say to herself (and me), "But the rest of the world must be right some of the time." I never thought she really believed that. I still think she thought she was right all of the time and rest of the world was wrong. But don't we all think that? Why would we continue to stand by a thought or deed if we thought we were wrong? Of course we think we are right or we would change what we think.
I had an experience Christmas Eve of which I can't let go and I keep asking myself and those unfortunate enough to have to listen to me if the rest of the world is right this time and if not, what can I (and we all) do to avoid situations like this. So maybe if I put it out here in blogsville I can let go of it and quit annoying my family and friends with this story.
My family went to the movies on Christmas Eve. We rarely go the movies as a family and I had great hopes of it being a special family time. We could talk about the movie and what fun we had over hot cocoa and it would become a Christmas Eve tradition. Okay, I have a very low bar for meaningful family experience.
As we were getting our popcorn, the young woman serving us was quite grumpy. Not overtly rude, it was just clear she did not want to be there. As she gave me my drink I smiled and said, very sincerely, "Thanks for working on Christmas Eve, we appreciate you being here so we can have a family outing." I try, during the Christmas season or when I shop late at night, to express appreciation to retailers and service people because I've been in their shoes and know it is no fun.
Well, she just looked at me, which is fine, but the young man beside her snottily said, "It's Hanukah, too, you know." Now I don't know if he was Jewish or if he was missing some important tribal gathering to get paid minimum wage at the movie theater, but I took a deep breath, decided his motives didn't matter and said, again very sincerely, "You're right. I'm sorry I didn't mention that. Thank you for working during Hanukah."
Now during the exchange I had been handed all my movie snacks. One of which was a pickle juice pop. For those of you unfamiliar with this delicacy, it is what the name implies, frozen pickle juice in a little plastic cup to be eaten like ice cream. Yummmmmm! I asked for a spoon. They had no spoons. I looked at the cup and once again very nicely and sincerely said, "Oh, well, maybe you should have told me that before I paid for it. How do I eat it?"
A third young person working behind the counter turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Suck On It!"
My question to you, gentle readers, is "What should my response have been?" Do we live in a world where teenagers who are being paid to do a job should be allowed to treat paying customers like this? Was my mistake trying to be overly nice in the first place? What can we, as a society, do to reintroduce civility and manners into our little corners of the world?
This is not a rhetorical question. I truly am asking you what I should have done. I won't bother you with what I did, it wasn't particularly interesting or effective. Please let me know your thoughts in case, heaven forbid, I should be presented with a simular dilemma again. Let me know if this was, indeed, one of the times when the rest of the world was right.