Saturday, November 04, 2006

It Doesn't Cost

We inched toward the border, typical for a Friday night Buffalo crossing. It seemed to take forever, but with the world the way it is you kind of expect the occasional inconvienience. When we finally pulled up to the gate the border guard gave us a great big smile and asked about our day. We responded, carefully like his friendliness was a trap, "Fine." He asked for our identification and then chatted with us as he punched our names into the computer. He sounded like a guy at a bar shooting the breeze with a couple of strangers. When we were done he wished us a pleasant evening and we drove away.

"What's with him?" We each asked each other at the same time.

I sat in court day after day listening to testamony. It was the first time that I was involved in a case that landed in court. She had told of abuse, no tell it like it was, she reported that a staff had d her. The police had listened and investigated. Now came the trial. It was to be a big day. Several of the clients who lived in the same group home were going to testify as to the staff's behaviour on that day. A lot hung on their testimony. Adopting a Mount Olympus attitude, the judge hid behind his robes and a large mustache. He came in, we stood, he sat, we sat. That's power.

Manny was the first to testify. He was clearly excited about the whole thing, he waved at everyone he knew in the courtroom. I saw the Crown shudder as she saw all the preparation going down the drain. Manny took his place in the stand and then turned to the judge and stuck out his hand saying, "Hi, Judge!" The judge waved him away. Manny, who had not yet sworn to tell the truth, did anyways, "That's rude." Then he gave the judge another chance and stuck his had out again saying, "Hi, Judge."

They stared at each other for a few seconds and I think everyone in the courtroom stopped breathing. The judge blinked and leaned forward and shook Manny's hand. Manny smiled and said, "It's better if everyone is nice."

The judge had a "What's with him" look on his face.

Tonight at the hotel I was checking in. There was a mixup about the room. At first it looked like they wouldn't be able to honour my request for an accessible room. I was upset. My dog had died. I got a email from a friend that came out of the blue. My emotions were all over the map. I went to autopilot and prepared to let loose Meanie Me. But suddenly, I saw the border guard's smile. Manny's voice popped into my head, "It's better if everyone is nice."

I smiled a border guard smile. She smiled back and then told me that everything was fine and I'd be getting the right room. I offered her my hand to shake, which she did.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the look she gave her co-worker, "What's with him."

You know what, it's not only better if everyone is nice -- it's easier too. Besides I'm striving to become the person my dog thought I was.

(Readers: Sorry for the lateness of this post, I had difficulty getting blogger to post for me today, I tried several times. Too, I have reset the controls so that anyone can leave a response. I didn't know there were options until I tried this morning to get blogger to work.)

No comments: