Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Think Before Speaking - And Tow Trucks -

I was taught, a long time ago, to keep my mouth shut. Phrases such as, "You know what you meant," "Is it really worth the 'effort'," "Is it going to change things?" "What can you add to what's already been said," and others have kept me in the "measure twice, cut once," mode - "think twice, speak once." And moreso - "Don't hit "send" until you've walked away and returned," "Don't say something you can't take back," "He's just the messenger," are all thoughts that go through my mind when I'm about to "confront" someone. "You catch more flies with honey" was a favorite saying of my grandmother's, and it has stayed with me. Although - I've also learned that honesty is the best policy, and honest honey is better than corn syrup.

Today I had a touchy conversation with someone in my church congregation. I was frank, but empathetic and kind. She told me she wished she had more conversations such as ours. I said, "Oh, you mean frank and honest?" She replied, "Absolutely. How will I know if someone doesn't tell me?" And I walked away feeling fine, like we both had won - and winning wasn't even a part of the conversation. I guess - I walked away knowing that if, and when, we meet, I can look her in the eyes rather than ditching around a corner and hiding from her.

I'm not saying I'm in any way a Pollyanna or a Crucial Conversation'er, more a, "If I were the receiver, what would I like to know/hear," and I try to deliver that way.

Well - on our way from the Provo LDS Temple Tour, to an early birthday lunch, we parked in a parking spot that was a little unclear. And walking back to our car, 40 minutes later, we did not find our car. It had been towed! Instead of a car, we walked a block, saw this sign,

Oh shit! Expensive lunch. Scott called the company, and with no way to get to our car, we were told to call a taxi! Instead I called a friend, who quickly arrived to take us the .5 miles to our car. Where, we waited 30 minutes, in the cold, for the tow truck driver to arrive, unlock the gate, and after paying nearly $200, let us take our car.

And in this 45 minute period from not finding to finding, Scott was having a grand time thinking about all the horrible things he was going to say to the tow truck driver. And I talked him down, and he promised he wouldn't, but he did. And the hole got bigger and bigger, and unkind words were tossed between Scott and the driver, and I finally pulled Scott away. We got into the car, I questioned Scott, he got out to apologize, which didn't go too well, and we drove away.

And now Scott feels like shit, because he said what he shouldn't have - insulting the tow truck driver, me, and most importantly, himself.

Maybe there is something to the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything," mantra. Because in the end, no one wins - and it wasn't even about winning to begin with.

PS - These tow truck guys were predators like I've never seen before. And the fees were stacked one on top of the other. And there was no generosity in travel to the tow truck yard, and I stood in front of a locked gate, in my skirt and tights, for a half hour before the guy came to unlock the gate. THAT was unnecessary. And you can bet I'll be pissing (amber honey) at the and very soon.

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