A few days ago I asked David a question about something that didn’t really matter and would not have been a big deal for him to tell me. Instead of just answering the question like I thought he should (incase you haven’t heard I’m the grand arbiter on how everyone should act) he got a little pissy and did this annoying thing where he spends nine times the energy it would have taken to give me a simple answer on intentionally not giving me an answer instead.
My response to his irritating and unproductive behavior? To be equally irritating and unproductive of course! You know, because we’re mature and all that.
I snarled a little, glared at him, then ignored him… fully intent on ignoring him until he could stop acting like such a dick.
Then it occurred to me… what would I do if it was Verona? The blatant disrespect we show to children in this country has really bugged me since having kids of my own, and I fully believe that children are no less deserving of respect based on the fact that they’ve orbited the sun less times than some of the rest of us and I know a lot of other parents who feel the same way. There’s a flipside that we’ve never talked about though and that’s the fact that adults are no less deserving of understanding based on that same flawed orbit reasoning.
If it were Verona I would wonder what was bothering her. I would wonder what else was going on to make her so frustrated and what I could do to make her world a little better so she would be the happy person she normally is… because I know her and she’s not a mean person even if she is acting like one right now.
David was definitely acting like a dick, I wasn’t mistaken about that, but I know him and he’s not a dick. Ignoring him and getting my panties in a bunch because he wasn’t doing what I wanted wasn’t going to help the situation at all. What if, instead, I tried extending to him the same understanding and love I would if it were Verona? If it was her I would definitely be frustrated but I would also realize that she probably needed me now more than usual… maybe he needed me more than usual too.
So I did.
Instead of fantasizing about kicking him in the shin (because I’m super mature… remember?) I gave him a few minutes to himself, then brought him a popsicle and rubbed his shoulders. He had a long morning of class and had a really long day of work ahead of him, not to mention we’d been dealing with the stressful situation I mentioned in my last post. It was understandable that he wouldn’t be his normal ray of sunshine… come to think of it I hadn’t been a ball of happiness recently myself either.
The way he was acting wasn’t making either of our days any better, but the way I was responding was only making things worse and driving the anger wedge further between us. I can’t control anybody else, I can only control myself.
The result of my little social experiment? 1. After a few minutes he was more centered and closer to the squirrely, friendly man I know and love. 2. I had spared myself the stress I would have amassed marinating in my indignation. 3. I got the question answered (and realized I didn’t really need the answer in the first place, I just have a problem with not knowing every. single. thing. that’s going on at all times), and 4. Although there is no way of knowing for sure I suspect both of our afternoons sucked a little less than they would have.
I need to treat him like a child more often, and I hope next time when the tables are turned he’ll do the same for me.