Friday, July 18, 2014

In Which I Was Unkind ...

Yesterday (Thursday) I was regrettably, and uselessly, unkind to a man who had parked in my drive.
Now, to be fair to myself, he helped the situation by speaking in a hostile way. We had a nice cycle of mutual escalation going here, although since neither of us wanted trouble, it was simply verbal.
But it was also unnecessary. As I piece together the story, I was resting downstairs after a long workday, and working up the energy to fill out paperwork, when I got a call.
It was a neighbor asking if I knew the man in my front yard. The neighbor sounded concerned and I picked up on that. It was possible that Kris had a friend over and I did not want to interfere, but that didn't sound right either.
I went out the back door and saw a frankly ratty car parked in my drive and hanging over the sidewalk. I really don't like it when people do that, because it just doesn't fit. People on the sidewalk have to go around it. The hood was up and a guy who looked like Eric was putting water into the radiator.
I asked what he was doing and he said the lady of the house had asked him to look at cutting some trees.
I felt vexed. Treecutting has been a longtime issue on this land, and I immediately wondered if I was being gone around. I told him no trees were to be cut down here.
I want to stop at this point to state that I could have responded more mildly. I didn't use any bad words or threats, but I did let my anger show through. He had no way of knowing this was a sore point for me.
I think now that he was just looking for work.
I respect that. I don't think he was going about it in the most effective way, but there is no evidence that he was trying anything dishonest. He just needed work.
Eventually he left. He was very distressed because his car wouldn't start. I asked him if I gave it a push could he kickstart it, and he said it was a stick, which may or may not have been an answer, but he did want a push. It took a moment to get it rolling but I am happy to say that I can still push a small car down our street by myself. His way of kickstarting it was to crank it more. I don't know whether it was an automatic or he was a dumbass, but eventually he ended up on Henderson and still not running.
I was in my slippers and unwilling to go much further without putting on shoes. Alex or someone who looks like him came up Henderson, coming off work, and started walking over to help, but then the engine started and the guy drove away.
I would not have hurt to show compassion with the guy. I didn't want him to work here, but he needed work.
However, sometimes I just soak up the misery in a situation and return it. It's a reflex, and I suppose it's a common reflex, but it's something to think about doing better on.

No comments: