Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Don’t assume you know how others feel, or should feel

“It’s just a cup.”

“Well, actually, it’s a souvenir cup. Can you let him go back up to get it, please?” I asked the usher who was blocking my son’s passage to the balcony seats at the TD Garden after the Celtics game.

I had sprung for loge seats but he preferred to sit in the balcony with some of his friends, so I wasn’t there to remind him to “check your surroundings and don’t leave anything behind," because even if it was a throwaway cup, I’d have wanted him to put it in the trash can.

She huffed disdainfully but allowed him to pass.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say my son was distraught over forgetting the cup, but he was disappointed, as was I. No doubt for both of us the disappointment over the cup was equal to the disappointment of the act of forgetting itself, because my young absent-minded professor loses or forgets things all.the.TIME!

Don't "should" on people by telling them how they feel or should feel!“Thank you!” I replied, even though I was kind of annoyed that she felt the need to dictate how we should feel about something, just because it was the way she felt about it. Besides, why make a point of getting the souvenir cup if you’re not going to bring it home? I justified to myself, even though the way we feel about something really doesn’t require justification. Our perception is our reality.

I told my son to go quickly and stood and smiled at the usher, who was gazing off into the distance. I also remained silent and looked away. There weren’t too many other people in the concourse, so it was almost as awkward as being in the elevator with strangers when no one says anything.

I imagined she was trying to communicate her displeasure at being held up, since the game was over and she no doubt wanted to go home.

My son was back down the stairs in a minute – that felt like 10 – waving the cup triumphantly.

“Thanks for waiting. We save this kind of cup and to reuse at home…” I started to say to the usher, but my voice trailed off when she gave me a blasé blink.

Our drinkware consists of mostly plastic souvenir cupsThat wasn’t quite the whole story, and I realized it just sounded like I was being super frugal. I only wanted to get that point across that it was a special occasion for us and how important the cup was to my son and would be to our collection, which included cups from amusement parks, baseball and football games, camp, a special cup from my brother’s friend, as well as a whole legion of Tupperware cups from my youth.

I don’t really know what her story was, but this is mine:

My son was performing at the game as part of his fundraising team that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was an exciting opportunity and a big night out and we’d at least like to have a memento of it. Plus, our drinkware is made up of mostly souvenir (plastic) cups. I’ve never served my kids anything in a glass except the couple of times I’ve offered alcoholic beverages leftover from ladies’ nights to my older two.

“All set?” I turned my attention back to my son as I put my arm around him and steered him towards the exit.

“Thanks again,” I called after the usher, who had already turned her back and quickly walked away, and I wished she wouldn’t rain on our parade with her dismissive, bored attitude.

Then…I realized that I shouldn’t try to figure out what is going on with her either. Her perception is her reality, too. I would have liked to have come to an understanding – to have shared the same reality – but she wasn’t interested in communicating beyond the scope of her role as usher, which is her right. I, too, need to remember not to assume how others feel, or should feel.

She waved her hand without turning around.

“Let’s go, hon.

It’s not “just a cup,” It’s a memory!

Has anyone ever told you how you should feel?

xoxox, Carlie

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