Years ago I used to work with this client, aliased Jack, who would continually get on my nerves. He wasn’t a bad guy but every now and then he would email me a question, looking for an answer to something we’d been over and over again.
I would read his email and think, “Why the fuck are you asking me this? We’ve already talked about it. More than once. I got better shit to do than repeat myself. For the third time.”
I saw the email conversations as nothing but ridiculous.
No, the world’s not gonna blow up if you click that button. If it could blow up, my annoying little friend, you wouldn’t be able to see the button, let alone click the fucking button.
Obviously customer service doesn’t run in my blood. I like talking with my friends and family but I’m not a big fan of talking to people when I “have to.” By and large there’s little interest in me to hand out warm fuzzies to the clients. I like to write code at work, not give hugs.
So back to Jack.
I was thinking about him this morning because thoughts come and go, as they do. He was a nervous, jittery guy. Anxious pretty much every time I spoke with him. He would often get five steps ahead of me when we were reviewing his projects and I’d be like, “dude, slow down.” I would actually call him “dude” which is my polite way of saying “you moron.”
But time equals clarity and so I tend to think with those calls and emails what he was after was reassurance. He was looking to be comforted in someway if you will. Don’t make that weird because it’s not. But maybe he was homosexual, I don’t know.
I doubt if him wanting a professional “hug” was a front-burner thought. It’s not unusual for people to create little messes in their mind, get themselves all worked up and bent out of shape, and then lean on somebody they trust. Someone who’ll tell them it’s okay, that everything’s fine. Someone who’ll offer solutions to their problems.
And then life can be right for a moment.
I don’t know for sure that’s what was up with Jack but it’s what I’m inclined to think.
Being in touch with what other people are feeling or needing is not something that comes naturally to me. I’m a man, not an empath. I have to consciously pay attention to those around me or else I’ll be content in my own imaginary land of Hobbitses and/or Synthetics.
That will sometimes get me in trouble, too.
Here’s a quote by David F. Swink:
Having poor empathy skills can lead to serious consequences. It can lead to conflict born of misunderstanding. Without it we can feel lonely within a relationship. Lack of empathy can cause companies to make catastrophic blunders that alienate their customers or employees and it can even incite violence.
Hopefully I’ve never incited violence. I do have the occasion thought of hitting someone on the head with a hammer though.
Thinking about Jack in the here and now it’s easier to see where his antics were coming from, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. There’s nothing I can do about that relationship now but I can maybe carry a little extra empathy into my present day interactions with Jill, aliased of course.
Last paragraph: sometimes we make amends to someone by being a little bit nicer to the next guy.
He stopped calling me once he figured out I always sent him to voicemail. ↑
Some time over the weekend I had a dream that it was Wednesday after work and the robot vacuum hadn’t done his scheduled cleaning. And then I was crushed and frustrated, defeated and agitated, almost to the brink of tears.
Another substantiated claim that I don’t deserve nice things.
It was worse when I was drinking, that train of thought. I’d like to say it surprises me that I still have that thought but it doesn’t.
Really though it’s not about deserving as much as “can’t have nice things.” Because I’ll put myself in impossible situations. Where I’ll never win.
It’s a dysfunctional pattern carried from when I was a teenager or something. Which leads into the struggles of a life inherited. From a previous life. More realistically it’s probably from my genetics. Family of origin stuff, a television spin off.
Desperately pleading that things would get better. But they won’t. They can’t. I stay in those situations because I’ve dug a hole. It’s pretty much impossible to get out. I don’t know how to do anything else.
And we don’t find nice things in holes. They don’t have them.
After spending over a decade in a hole it becomes familiar and comfortable. I can distract myself with my imagination, satisfy myself with make-believe. I can put a nice rug here and maybe a lamp over there.
Sometimes I strive and strain to climb out. But it just doesn’t work. And then I give up. Yet again. It’s easier just to give up, accept that everything’s terrible. Because this is just how it’s going to be.
Obviously I don’t feel spiritual every day. And then I flounder around for a day or two. Maybe a week. Read a spiritual book. Go to a meeting. Hear something that puts me back on track. Points me again in the right direction.
How I feel is not who I am.
God’s got a bigger plan. Maybe I’m not supposed to have nice things right now.
The largest U.S. mattress retailer, Mattress Firm, said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as its corporate parent battles an accounting scandal and the retailer grapples with an onerous store footprint.
The retailer has 3,500 stores across the U.S., reflecting a time when the economics of mattress retailers was such that more was better. The stores are relatively cheap to run and faced little price competition. With new entrants like online retailer Casper now selling mattresses with little to no markup, that pricing umbrella has begun to collapse.
Could this maybe having something to do with the MF having stores on every street corner?