I was an absolute jerk yesterday.
Here's what happened.
We were over looking at the space for the Vita staff retreat and the meeting took a little longer than I expected. I had a meeting back at the office that I really had to be on time for. Now, let me tell you what that means, I really had to be on time because I have to be on time. I hate being late. Hate it. When it happens I get all agitated and upset with myself. I'm OK with others being late, don't mind it a bit. But this is a standard I've set for myself and I like to keep it. So, I'm rushing back for the meeting and I'm cutting it fine.
I get dropped off right at the door and rush in praying that the elevator (the slowest on earth) will be there wating for me on the ground floor. It isn't, it's on the second floor. I push the button, it lights up acknowledging that it's coming. But it takes longer than ever, I understand why. When it arrives after several long plump minutes make their way like sweat down my back - it is full. A staff and three members. Two of which were carrying large, heavy looking boxes. They were having trouble getting organized in the little space to get out of the elevator and through the door.
"Come on, come on, come on, come on," I think, but do not say.
The last person off is another fellow with a disability who is so bundled up I do not recognize him with the touque pulled down and his scarf wrapped firmly around his face, he was all eyes. They lit up at seeing me, he immediately pulled down the sleeve of his jacket and was attempting to get me to look at something. (You're in my way, you're in my way, you're in my way," I think but do not say.) Suddenly the door is closing right behind him, I NEED to be on that elevator so I push around him to get to the door and stop it from closing. I slide into the elevator and see that he has turned and still has his arm up.
Anyone else, not rushing, not having a mind filled with impatience, would have noticed that he was trying to show his new watch. I'm on the elevator now, the door is closing, he eyes are beaming into mine. "I get it," I say excitedly, "You've got a new watch for Christmas, it's nice." Just before the doors closed, I saw the hurt in his eyes, they said, "But you didn't even see it," even though he didn't.
I brushed it away, I HAD A MEETING. I got to my office to discover that no one was there yet, a call on my answering machine said that the meeting needed to be delayed for 15 minutes. I sat there.
No awards for punctuality.
I knew he'd be gone now. I knew the moment was over. I felt horrible. I closed my eyes only to see his as they looked at me with such disappointment. He was asking for a few seconds, that's all. He wanted to show me something important. Worse, he knew that I had blown him off with cheap meaningless praise. Worse still, I had shown myself untrustworthy.
I can tell myself that I'll do better next time.
I've said that before.
And been wrong.