We got to the Vampires R Us, otherwise known as the lab, and lined up with other people waiting to be drained of blood and urine. We were third in line, though as it got closer to 8 the line up grew extensively. The hallway is narrow and my wheelchair is not so when an elderly woman came along with her son, they scootched by me and headed to a small bench at the far end of the hallway.
When the door opened, there wasn't a mad rush to get in first, people honoured their place in line and those there first got in first. How nice. I was third in line, the elderly woman with her son were sixth in line. I went in, got my number and went over to park my chair off to the side. When mother and son came in, she was clearly confused and a little upset about being there. Her whole conversation with her son was about death and illness and her will.
On a side note, when she said to her son that she was angry at her daughter and wanted to take her out of the will and leave everything to him, he said, "Mom, you are only angry with her right now. You and she have loved each other for her whole life. People get angry with each other and then get over it. You wouldn't want to make a decision now that could hurt her (he said her name) for the rest of her life. Give it time." So, he's a decent guy.
Anyways they were sitting near me and my whole body, my whole mind, my whole SOUL was telling me to switch my 3 for their 6 and let them get in and out quickly. I wrestled with myself right up until the number 3 was called and I went in to get my blood drawn. I could still hear her talking with her son, anxious about the test, anxious about her will, anxious about her life. I could hear his calm voice wrap around hers hugging it with understanding.
Why didn't I give my number to them?
I didn't need to be 3rd, 6th would have been fine. I wasn't rushing anywhere. Ultimately I decided that in that moment, I lacked the courage to be nice. It takes assertion to be able to enter into a conversation with another, to offer something to them. It takes a strong sense of self to risk embarrassment and refusal. It takes something that I have some times and that I don't at others. I didn't then.
Now all I have to do is remember what it feels like to NOT do something you are willed to do by the inner recesses of self and soul. That might be motivation enough.
And I'll have another chance because they just couldn't get a vein and after 12 pokes, two in the hand that hurt like, well NEEDLES IN THE HAND (sometimes a simile is NOT necessary), I said, "I'm done."
Opportunities to be nice are as much opportunities for us to assert what we believe, that we are part of a community, that we watch out for others, that kindness matters. I lost that one. I really hope that opportunity knocks again.