Thursday, April 13, 2006
AHHH the power of ME
I had a day. A day of all days. One to end the world kind of days. One where you look back and think “why didn’t I just stay in bed.” Oh yeah, it was one of those.
It was TUBEsteak. (For those who don’t know this reference, feel free to check out http://bagsfagsanddrags.blogspot.com/2006/04/tube-steak.html ) I had a class. (I teach beverage sales skills for a multiple location company). My class was located at an establishment outside of Portland. But this is only where the story begins.
I am a public transportation DIVA. I would rather a bus/train take me there than to drive. This, however, is not my point. I will save the reasons why I public transit for another blog. My point of this blog is “AHHHH the power of ME.”
Anyhow. I plan my route via bus line days in advance. It should only take me an hour door to door. Not too shabby. I can read. Relax. Prep for my class. Only it is TUBEsteak, and not my day. So instead of boarding my bus, bus #35, I somehow end up on the #96. Oh yeah. You don’t even know what this means do you? For those of you out-of-towners or car-drivers, this means that by the time I realize I am on the wrong bus I am in BFT. BUTT FUCK TIGARD. I am ½ hour from my class location, and I have 45 minutes to get there.
This, however, is not the point of my blog. It is TUBEsteak, and not my day. But the point of my blog is “AHHHH the power of ME.”
I do end up getting to my location, oh yes. By the power of “MOTHER.” I have 10 minutes to set up and gain composure. I get my twenty breaths in. Set up my glassware and handouts and am ready to go.
It is a glorious day. We are outside on a patio, in the sunshine, 70 degree weather. I start my class, get into my grove. Because we are outside I have to compete vocally with traffic and an eardrum busting train, but all is good. I have everyone’s attention. They are laughing and learning and having a good time. Oh but wait, some of them aren’t. Instead they are smoking and drinking and talking a good time amongst themselves.
We have all attended school at one point in our lives. We all know the classroom dynamic. Those who sit in the front are the goody-goody-nerds and those who sit in the back are the cool-rock-in-roll-I-don’t-have-to-listen-to-you kids. This disruptive table of mine was located in the back. And they were having themselves a gay ol’ slap-each-other-on-the-ass kind of time (which is something my Gym teacher used to say).
I continue with my class. I continue with my class until it becomes so unbearable talking over the traffic, train and tough guys that I finally say something. “Hey. I have traveled out here to talk about wine. Please give me and your co-workers the respect we deserve and pay attention.” That was it. It was all I said. EVERYONE got quite. I continued. I was tired. I finished and was ready to get out of there, but TUBEsteak wasn’t done with me yet. OH NO.
One kid, who didn’t listen to me the whole time, snorting under his breath and talking baby talk every time I asked a question, claimed I was directionally challenged (which might be true considering my wrong bus adventure) and didn’t know what I was talking about. But he wasn’t the topper. The rowdy group wasn’t the topper, although they made my job difficult. The topper was “CHIEF.” That is what I will call him.
“CHIEF” was the leader of the gang. He was the one who smoked cigarettes and talked throughout my entire presentation. He was the instigator. He gave me DEATH looks throughout my entire class. “CHIEF” met me on my way out. He opened his mouth, and this is what he said:
“I just want to apologize if you thought we were being rude. We weren’t. You only get respect if you deserve respect and you DON’T deserve respect. You are rude and condescending, and don’t deserve my respect.”
I said a few things. Thought about slaying him and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. The manager met me on the front steps, apologized profusely for his staff and I went home to cry in a tub filled with lavender infused bubbles.
This is where I get to “AHHH the power of ME.”
I stand up for myself. I handled myself very well. I told the rowdy group to shut the fuck up. I pleasantly told “CHIEF” that I was sorry he felt that way. I didn’t get into the gory details with the manager about “CHIEF” and his crowd. I went home. I drew a bath. I sent an email to my superiors to let them know, not in detail, what happened and to ask for advice as to where to go from there.
I was immediately contacted by several managers, heads of human resources, etc. I was apologized to MANY a time and asked to relay, in detail my experience. My day started to disappear. I hear talk of “write-ups” and “verbal warnings.” I feel good. I feel great! I am being listened to. I am being treated like a human, unlike the day before. I didn’t want to come out as the “tattle tale” or the “bitch” but no one should be treated this way. NO ONE.
“AHHH the power of ME.”
Until “CHIEF” was fired. I felt great until that. I was told that “CHIEF” was demoted the week before and a long-time problem employee, however, I wasn’t ready for my voice to carry so far as to affect his employment. What if he has a family? What if? What if? What if?
And so I am left with the upper hand, as a better person, but I never set out to change a person’s life, nor income. I only wanted to make things right.
“AHHHH the power of ME.”