Sermon 07-10-11

(Transfered here by me for Sapadu... Jestor)


Sermon 07:11
Written by Sapadu

MAD LIBS: When you assume, you make an [synonym for 'fool' and 'mule'] out of 'u' and 'me'.

Jack sighed and slid away from the bar. She'd had a long day, and her drink had done a great deal to relax her. Now, it was just time to head for the bus stop and wait for her ride home.

“Hey, where's your boyfriend at?” Asked a server as she passed him on her way to the door. Jack froze. Suddenly, her calm and relaxed mood came crashing apart. How did this guy think it was in ANY way appropriate to ask her that? And it would have been bad enough if it was just some random jerk trying to pick her up, but this guy was a server! Forget insulting, this was borderline creepy behavior.

'Jack, you can't punch the guy – you'll get kicked out of the restaurant.' One of her voices reminded her. That didn't mean she wasn't going to give this moron a piece of her mind, first.

“Excuse ME?” She demanded, wheeling on the server. His formerly cheerful – if creepy – smile vanished, “For ONE thing, what makes you think I have a boyfriend? What if I'm single? Is it a CRIME for a woman to be unattached in this day and age? Am I not allowed in here unless I'm in a relationship? Second, even if I wasn't single, who says I'd have a BOYfriend? Did that NEVER occur to you? Why don't you ask a vegan why they didn't order your double cheeseburger special – it'd be less offensive than THAT! Thirdly, why do I have to have a date to come here? Maybe I'm just relishing in my independence, or maybe I'm here to see the bartender, or maybe – just maybe – I came here to DRINK! Is THAT ever a possibility, or is there a law saying the ladies here have to be waiting for someone? And FINALLY – how, in any way, shape, or form, do you think that it was okay for you to just pry into my personal life like that? It was totally NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS – what makes you think that it's acceptable to ask a complete and total stranger about their significant other?” Half the restaurant was staring, but Jack didn't care, “I'll be telling your manager about this, so THINK about that for a little bit. Good night and THANK you.”

And Jack stormed out, not at all intent on having a good night.


That's one way it could have happened. But, how about this?


Jack sighed and slid away from the bar. She'd had a long day, and her drink had done a great deal to relax her. Now, it was just time to head for the bus stop and wait for her ride home.

“Hey, where's your boyfriend at?” Asked a server as she passed him on her way to the door. Jack froze. Suddenly, her calm and relaxed mood came crashing apart. How did this guy think it was in ANY way appropriate to ask her that? And it would have been bad enough if it was just some random jerk trying to pick her up, but this guy was a server! Forget insulting, this was borderline creepy behavior.

'Now, be nice – how would you feel if you wanted to ask a cute girl out and she just snapped at you?' Scolded an empathetic voice, 'Besides, it would be rude to correct him – we all do have our own perceptions about the people around us, after all.' The server was still waiting for her to answer. Jack managed to feebly turn and offer a weak smile. She even tried to laugh it off – like it had been an inside joke. Yeah, that had to have been it – he was just kidding around.

Jack stumbled out of the restaurant doors as quickly as she could. She was no longer in the least bit relaxed or calm – much closer to tense and uncomfortable. And it only got worse when she got onto the bus and could have sworn the driver was staring at her a little too long as she paid her fare.


That's another way it could have happened. But, how about this?


Jack sighed and slid away from the bar. She'd had a long day, and her drink had done a great deal to relax her. Now, it was just time to head for the bus stop and wait for her ride home.

“Hey, where's your boyfriend at?” Asked a server as she passed him on her way to the door. Jack froze. Suddenly, her calm and relaxed mood came crashing apart. How did this guy think it was in ANY way appropriate to ask her that? And it would have been bad enough if it was just some random jerk trying to pick her up, but this guy was a server! Forget insulting, this was borderline creepy behavior.

'Hey, dude – stop. Now, think about it.' And she did. She worked in the service industry, too, after all. And more than once, her managers had told her that part of her job was to be friendly and invested in customers. And, of course, the one way they kept pressuring her to do this was to ask questions and be open, to show that you cared about them. They'd prod her into asking 'Who's this shirt for? A boyfriend? A husband?' Not that Jack ever listened to the advice – she was too shy and too awkward to make it sound natural and it always came out like demanding to know or snooping.

'So, for all you know, this guy is just doing what his job demands of him – he might be hitting on you, but he also might just think that he's being friendly.' This, Jack was willing to concede – after all, it was part of the reason she'd lapsed into her own shyness, because she'd attempted to take her manager's advice, and it had always backfired. Everyone had different ideas of being friendly and what was appropriate. 'Not to mention, for all you know, if he was RIGHT in assuming you were waiting on a guy, you might think it nice to have someone to complain to that you were stood up.'

'Right. How's about we go with a Plan C, then?' Jack turned and grinned back, still walking backwards towards the exit.

“I don't have a boyfriend.” It was honest enough. And at least made a point about two out of the four things the server had assumed. He jumped, as though surprised at her answer.

“What? Why not?” Okay. Getting back into that 'It's none of your business' territory... Jack continued to grin and decided to go with a 'I'll answer that question, but I don't want to continue this conversation' style of answer.

“Well, for starters, my girlfriend would get awfully jealous.” A white lie, but it seemed to effectively send the message that she wasn't interested in this talk about her personal life. The server's smile dropped, entirely, but Jack continued to smile back, “Thanks for the drink. Have a nice night.”

Once outside, Jack took a deep breath and gathered her thoughts. And, of course, her initial ideas on how to react came back.

'What if it hadn't been you? Or what if you had decided to lose your cool? That guy would get slammed with an official complaint and not have even realized he'd done something wrong until it was too late.' And as Jack had lost a job the exact same way, she wasn't about to do the same thing to a fellow in the service industry, 'Alright, then – let's see if we can't write a good, polite 'Dude, I'm only writing this to help you so you don't get in trouble in the future' kind of feedback.'


'So, aren't you glad you decided to go with the last scenario?' James prodded Jack. She proofread her letter, but paused over a spelling error, 'Yeah, he'd made four big, very wrong assumptions, but if you'd just stuck with the assumption that he was being a creep and trying to pick you up, or that you were in the wrong to feel uncomfortable with it, you would've ended up either over- or under-reacting, and it you wouldn't have been doing him any favors with that, either.'

“Yeah... but is it really okay to make this much of a deal about this? It was just few minutes of conversation.” She asked. James shrugged.

'If my fly was open, I'd want someone to tell me instead of finding out when my pants fell down.' He pointed out, 'And with work, I'd say it's pretty important to let people know when they've messed up early on, before they make an even bigger mistake that could ruin their job or cost their company money.'

“It just occurred to me that this guy probably didn't even realize he was assuming these things. There's some stuff that it's fairly obvious when you assume, but there are other topics that, when you ask them, you're making an assumption without even realizing it. I had a customer once that, while I was talking with her, I mentioned the weather. Later, my manager told me the lady had complained because she was from Florida and thought I was making fun of her for not being used to the snow. The weather – the FRICKIN' weather!”

James shrugged, again.

'So, maybe the moral of the story is that it IS hard not to make assumptions, but we still need to put some kind of effort into doing so.' And, yet again, he shrugged, 'But, doesn't the fact that it's a tough thing to do make it all the more worth it in the end?'

Jack gave him a Look.

'At least... as far as I can see.'  


#1 Jestor 2011-07-12 09:51
So true... We all need to remember we do not know what others are feeling or going through in any given moment...

That our assumptions may sometimes be far from correct...

However, I feel that, if we do not take a chance once in a while, we may end up missing out on meeting someone with a message for us...

Great story Sapadu, to me, it shows the ease with which assuming can come to both parties in this story... As well as the reminder to not do so...
#2 Coperiana 2011-07-21 18:42
Another point to remember along these lines... If someone snaps or yells at you, cuts you off in traffic, cuts in line, or does some other offense along similar lines, they may just be having a bad day and you are the closest outlet. Remember that it's probably not about you. Smile and take the insult in stride. You don't know what is going through their head.
Great story and a wonderful point to keep in mind. Thank you for reminding me to be patient with those who make assumptions.
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