.A Good Choice
Philosophically, I am always searching for ways to improve myself. When I say this I mean improvements in how I interact with others, how I treat others, etc. Well, a scenerio happened today and even though it has been difficult, I do feel it is a good choice in my response to others.
This morning I went and talked to my Department's Stockroom Clerk. He is a good friend, and is responsible for ordering materials to arrive in time for the laboratories we teach in our Department. I went in to his office to ask about an order that was suppossed to arrive for use this week... a stock of insects needed for the scheduled laboratory.
I asked, "Do you know if my insects have arrived yet?"
I was asking because I was going to suggest flip-flopping this week's lab exercise with next week's as some short-lived animals had been shipped by the breeding company earlier than anticipated and we could better use these critters this week.
He replied "No, I do not know, let me look." After a few minutes he continued, "No, they are not set to arrive until next week. When is the lab scheduled?"
To which I replied, "They are scheduled for this week, bu...." as I was summairly cut off.
"That is not what your request sheet stated," he said even before finding this request sheet, "you must have your dates mixed up."
He then began to look for my original request sheet. The above statement irked me, but I bit my tongue.
Instead of denying an error on my part, I said instead, "The reason I was asking was..."
He abruptly pulled out my original request sheet and shook it.
"Here it is!" he stated emphatically. He scanned it. "When is your lab?"
"February 7th, bu..." said I, feeling anger growing inside me, but again I tried to explain I was *hoping* to switch weeks anyway, so it did not matter. Unfortunately I was cut off again.
"It says here under your 'Date Needed" column that you need these on February 7th. I have them scheduled to arrive on February 8th." He then continued, "But your document is unclear because you did not fill out the "Date Used" column as well. If you had put February 7th in the "Date Used" colum, they would be here."
To me this was utter b*llsh*t. I did not need someone giving me attitiude for something he had done wrong. There was no confusion. I had written DATE NEEDED as February 7th.... how could he or anyone construe that to mean arrive on February 8th?
But, and this is the good part... I held my tongue. It was extremely tempting to tell him that his attitude and statement were wrong and in fact preposterous. I *could* have responded with a sharply worded reply to him, but I did not do so. Why?
I did not do so, because a) he and I both KNOW he is wrong and he is at fault, b) he is a good friend and getting into a heated discussion would not be fruitful because he would not back down or change his attitude or response (he is a very rigid fellow in MANY ways) even if proven wrong. He would simply become more abrupt, more vocal, and more challenging, c) I do not have to respond in kind to stupid or rude behavior (I usually do respond somewhat bitingly), d) I value being able to control my own emotions more completely... and not simply respond back in a manner similar to what is projected at me, and e) it is a good mental, emotional exercise to help build my character.
Do not get me wrong, it was DAMN hard. I was fuming for roughly 30 minutes back at my office. Several times I started to head back downstairs to his office to give him a piece of my mind, but each time I caught myself. Finally an hour later, I went down and simply stated that I planned to switch lab 6 and lab 7 so that he would know this in his planning for the next two weeks (which IS WHAT MY ORIGINAL GOAL WAS ANYHOW, prior to all the b*llsh*t).
His reply was to grumble, "Ok, I'll write that down."
I left, and grinned a wide, furry-faced grin all the way back to my office. He was still projecting his attitude... his bad attitude, but I felt pretty damn proud of myself for not buying into his attitude and keeping my own generally good disposition intact for the day. The feeling was quite rewarding, though initially challenging.