Friday, March 18, 2016

Accidental Queue Jumping

Good social skills are important. The understatement meter in my pocket just exploded, but seriously, good interpersonal communication skills are essentially the oil which lubricates relationships. 

When the giant standing next to me at the counter of the local takeaway place delivered his order over the top of mine and then said he was next, I realized two things immediately. One: the man had poor interpersonal skills and two; I had inadvertently jumped the queue. I apologized, and made a quip about how I had never seen a queue at this particular fast food venue. (In fact people normally stand parallel to the counter and take note of who was already there when they arrived.)

The man's response to my apology was delivered in a gruff and aggrieved tone. "Just don't jump the queue mate. I don't want to argue about it."

"I don't want to argue about it" is in the same category as statements beginning with "to tell the truth" and "I don't want to say I told you so...". Like the positive onset with an obvious inflection broadcasting a big "but' will follow.

Whether the big man with serious indignation at the take way joint was naturally rude and ungracious, or whether he had merely exhausted his reserves of bonhomie at the end of a bad day, I do not know. I've been unjustifiably short with people too on occasion, but I reckon a sincere apology ought to extinguish the flames of ire. Most people have varying degrees of serious drama and affliction in their lives. Why bother straining at gnats?

It's pretty easy to be nice, even to people who aren't nice to you. It is not difficult to back down and walk away. The offended behemoth and I left the car park of the take away shop at the same time: I was on foot and he was safe in his world on wheels. He might have looked at me, or he might have simply been checking for oncoming traffic, but in any case I threw him another smile. His stony face was the epitome of recalcitrance. As he drove away I wondered if he was a blogger like me.

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  1. Everyone makes mistakes, and apologizing should take care of it, but people will be people. I just tell myself that they must be having a bad day...or life...and leave it at that.

  2. I've found people with unhappy lives tend to take it out on others in any way they can. They're mean to servers, strangers, and even family members. Just take the fact that you were the pleasant one in the exchange to mean your life is far happier than his.