Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that by and large people’s levels of doling out shit behaviour seem to be on the rise? I saw it at the supermarket the other day, when that rather large woman squeezed herself not-so-gently, in front of the timid looking chowkidar who had his arms full of umpteen bottles of Coke. She just had a single loaf of bread to bill, and evidently that gave her the right to cut the queue, right in front of someone who didn’t speak her language, and couldn’t revolt, or tell her to behave and get in line. I could have, but I let it pass.
I saw it the other day when one my office staff barged into the room most disruptively, visibly in a huff he loudly pottered around and slammed the door as he walked out, completely shattering the focus in the room where a bunch of us were quietly trying to work. I could have told him to behave. But I didn’t. I let it pass.
I saw it at the horribly organised shop where I walked in looking for a clothes stand. I wanted a particular size and make, and because the shopkeeper looked like he couldn’t find his way around the mess, I launched into a long explanation about why I need it to be rust-proof and foldable. He didn’t seem to care to understand, rudely dismissing me, like I was wasting his time with my explanation. But when he admonished me for not taking what he had, I was pissed. But then this is Goa, and I’m used to second-hand treatment. So I let it slide. Again.
For the last two days I have been in the midst of a shouting marathon thanks a project that’s driving a colleague up the wall, resulting in raging tempers, loud and angry phone calls and general cacophony. Finding it distracting, disruptive and terribly insensitive, I felt I should speak up. But I let it slide, Yet again. Who wants to add to what seems like a visibly ginormous work mess anyway? But when said colleague, who has a megaphone permanently shoved down her throat, asked me to keep it down because my mere conversation was distracting, not once, but almost 4 times in a day, I thought the shit behaviour had to stop.
So I spoke up. Politely, but firmly. And I will forever go down a the bitch for this.
It sucks to be caught in the midst of a bitch-fest when you’re otherwise a rather introverted, peace-living, non-confrontational kind of person. It sucks even more when you have to unnecessarily get caught in the rage that’s generally flying around and needs to find a target. It sucks even more so when the source for said bitch-fest, hate and rage is very obviously coming from an unhappy place. It sucks to be the one to point something simple out. It sucks to be the one to put a badly behaved person in place. It really does. I hate doing it. Ordinarily, I would have just let it go, because it is much easier than to pick issues and complicate things in an already stressful situation. But sometimes, being nice bites you back in the ass, and that’s when I begin to wonder. Why is it that everywhere I see tempers flaring? Are we growing increasingly weak in the face of client pressures? So weak that we forget the basics of how to behave in a work place? Has being in the service industry not trained us enough to deal with client idiosyncrasies, without letting it affect who we are? Have we become those horribly insular people who think one bad day is reason enough to not care about anything but our client woes and bad moods?
It also makes me wonder why I’m always being the nice guy.Recently, someone asked me what kind of reaction I usually have when I witness something wrong. I didn’t have to think very hard when I said I’m the passive sort. The sort that will try and peacefully intervene if possible. If not, I will quietly walk away like its not my business. Today I wondered, when did I become this person? The passive person watching shit go down in front of my eyes. Feeling so strongly about it, yet unable to find a voice to speak up?
Then I saw this on Pinterest:
Obviously, its not as easy for some of us. Where does one draw the line? When is the right time to speak up? I still don’t have the answers.
So I turned on this song on loop
And proceeded to calm my quickly-fraying nerves.