Sunday, April 17, 2011

The hardest part of adulthood

Everything was arranged. The whole Saturday planned. I'd thunk about it and thunk about it until I could thunk no more. I'd planned and double planned, I'd checked and double checked. And finally it was done. All were on the same page. Everyone was in the same ball park. We'd run up the flag and everyone saluted. That means, of course, something was certain to go awry. And it did. We arrived at the hotel, which was nearing end of its renovation, to discover that there would be no hot breakfast served on Saturday morning. Our plans for the next day started with everyone gathering at the hotel for a hot breakfast at 8:30 am. This hotel always has a hot breakfast. And it still does. Starting again on Sunday, but for Saturday, no hot breakfast.

I was immediately annoyed. We're pretty regular customers at this hotel and the staff were doing everything to try to bring me back to a state of 'non-annoyance'. Overall, I think they like us as customers and as people, we say please and thank you, we don't trash our rooms, we leave tips for the maids, we know our breakfast servers by name, and because we are known and liked - my upset bothered them. I couldn't bring myself to care. They offered to give us a tour of the renovations, to see the new restaurant area. Joe quickly agreed before I could snipe about what good was a new area when we couldn't use it to further our plans.

We went into the new restaurant and saw familiar staff in new uniforms and they all came over to greet us and I managed a thin smile. On our way back to the elevator I spoke pointedly to Joe about having to call 'everyone' (one call) to rearrange meeting. The staff bustled about to find us addresses of nearby places for breakfast. All meant a huge long push in the wheelchair and I made sure they knew that - the disability card can be a very easy one to play.

I got up into my room. Joe was frosty with me. He didn't think it was anyone's fault, that anyone purposefully delayed renovations, that anyone deserved being treated as if they personally set out to upset my plans. Yes, its true, I've tried to hide it - Joe has a personality disorder.

Joe went down to get the luggage and I signed on to the Internet to check emails. As I did so a tiny thought formed at the back of my mind, 'Hingsburger, you can be such an asshole.' It was a thought that just got bigger and bigger and bigger. Finally to shut it up, I picked up a pen and wrote a note to the front desk saying that I was tired from so much travel and I had over reacted to the 'no hot breakfast' thing and I shouldn't have taken my disappointment out on them. When Joe deposited the luggage and was about to take the cart back down stairs, I handed him the note and asked him to give it to the front desk. He took the note.

A few minutes later the phone rang. The clerk who had taken us on the tour called. She said that I didn't need to apologize, she understood my frustration. I said that being frustrated was one thing but being an asshole was another. I said, 'One of the things about being an adult is knowing that when you act childishly that you need to own up and apologize. I behaved like a spoiled child and I need to say sorry for it. I need to reestablish my view of myself as a mature and decent guy.'

'Wow. OK.' she said,

'Apology accepted,' I asked.

'Certainly,' she said,


'And sir,' she continued.'

''Yes,' I said.

'Thanks,' she said.

I got into bed later and didn't even think about the morrow. Plans were easily rearranged, we are back on schedule, it's all a go - until something goes wrong again. But with a good sleep and a fresh lesson in humility, I'll handle it just fine, I think.'


Kate said...

A good lesson indeed.

Kristin said...

Like Kate said, a very good lesson for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,

and I thought I am the only one behaving like this sometimes.

Because arranging situations and making plans takes so much more of my energy than for someone my age being "able-bodied" I am much more frustrated when plans dont work out.

I can understand you and I can understand about the "being mature" thing.

But I am glad I am not the only one who sometimes finds herself in such a situatin with such feelings.

Have a very very nice day
Julia from Germany

Sandi said...

Glad I'm not the only one who has the occasional tantrum. I can only hope that I manage to recover from it with as much dignity and grace as you did. I'm impressed and you've just reinforced my belief that you really are a truly good guy. :D

Hugs from Australia,

Dave Hingsburger said...


I think I need to admit that the reason I chose to write the note was that I was too 'shamefaced' to call down and apologize or to drop by and say 'I'm sorry' in person. I try to be a 'good buy' but often I'm simply a 'cowardly lion'.


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Few of us would have taken the time to write the note, I think. You have high standards for yourself.

I hope all went well with your visit

coffeetalk said...

Good for you, Dave. We all need to take a lesson and remember to own up to our "stuff". BTW, Joe should get some help for that personality disorder! ; ) Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

A sincere apology is a sincere apology, whether by note or by talking to the person directly. It is appreciated when someone not only realizes how they acted but apologizes for it. Most people would have thought about apologizing but, whether they are too embarrassed or too tired/cranky to deal with it at the time, don't.

I would agree with Colleen that a written note is not something that most people would do. I also think that the note means more because it is something that can be held and shared with others.

I'm sure that you made her day, a few sentences on a piece of paper means more than all the best of intentions. There is nothing to be 'shamefaced' about the way you apologized.


Noisyworld said...

I am panic central when something I have planned gets changed or goes wrong, then I'm a complete wreck and cannot make another sensible decision, it's partly a disability thing and partly a personality thing lol
Knowing when to 'fess up' is one of the marks of maturity, well done for proving it so well ;) It is also a mark of compassion, knowing how it would feel to be on the receiving end.
In situations like that where you need to apologise to quite a lot of people a note may well be the best bet anyway (whether motivated by cowardice or not), you'd always miss somebody out if you did it in person, this way it can stay on the staff room notice board for a bit so everyone sees it.
Once more you have turned out to be human, like the rest of us, but a nice one which isn't quite so common :)

Susan said...

I had to do my own share of apologizing all last week. Then I decided to cut everyone else's losses and check out of life for the next two weeks. Hopefully when I come back up for air I'll be much nicer person. :)

It does your heart good to apologize, though. Others tend to forgive us pretty readily. It's the forgiving ourselves part that's hard...

Anonymous said...

Do you wind up having that conversation in your head between the voice that says "I AM AGGRIEVED! I AM LEGITIMATELY ANNOYED! PEOPLE SHOULD BE NICE TO ME BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN INCONVENIENCED DUE TO THEIR CARELESSNESS! PEOPLE SHOULD WORK TO MEET MY NEEDS AND DESIRES!" and the much smaller, much quieter voice that says " know, you're being a bit of a jerk"?


"...the one who's really being a bit of a jerk."

"NO!" says the loud voice. "NO! I'M THE ONE WHO'S BEEN... I mean... PEOPLE SHOULD BE... oh, hell. I am being a jerk, aren't I?"

*wry smile*