Overtipped

takeout
Pixabay (2013), CC0/PD

I was unexpectedly home alone for dinner tonight. In between working and stressing out over packing the house for next week’s renovations (we basically have to move all our stuff out, and live someplace else for the duration of the job), I figured I’d grab some takeout for a quick dinner.

There are Chinese takeout places all over, but I chose the one around the corner, because it’s around the corner so it would be faster.

I chose poorly.

I called to place my order at 5:50. I waited at least 15 minutes before heading over there, only to find 4 people waiting ahead of me and a 10-year-old running the store. They were slammed. Her mom was doing all the cooking (there are usually two adults cooking and a teenager taking phone calls and filling orders). Two smaller boys (the bigger one was no older than 7) were running around.

The little girl told me my food would be ready in a couple of minutes.

The back door to the restaurant was open; the whole family was working with coats on. I don’t know what kind of crazy had happened today, but it was definitely not business as usual. I slid into a small booth to wait for my lo mein.

I waited.

And waited.

It was after 7 PM and I still didn’t have my food. Other people left. Some politely canceled their orders before leaving, at least, so that overworked mom didn’t have to try to figure out whose food she was cooking for no reason at all.

I texted my husband and told him what was happening, concluding that if I ever got my food, I was leaving a big tip for that kid.

Because really, it was not her fault. She was working hard: running around taking orders, filling orders, going to the freezer for her mom, and manning the deep fryer (except for the time the 7-year-old did that. YIKES.). And her mom was handling multiple woks and answering the phone and keeping the two little boys in line.

Maybe I’ve used up all my anger at situations I cannot control by directing it at other situations I cannot control. I don’t know. I was cold (my feet are still not warm, and I’ve been back home for an hour now) and was working on a hunger headache but I figured that it would be worse to abandon ship and leave that mom and her little girl to try to figure out what other order to cancel, and with one fewer dinner check for the night.

So I stayed, and commiserated with a couple of other customers and expressed my admiration for the poise this kid was showing.

And at 7:25 when they finally called me up to get my food, 95 minutes after I’d ordered, I left $5 in the tip jar after paying for my $7 bowl of lo mein and a spring roll.

I can only hope that the customers behind me did the same.


Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz

#WorthRevisit: An Act of Will

From deep in the archives–ten years ago:

Last week I read on Happy Catholic that “sorrow is an act of the will, not of feeling.”

I was chewing on that all week long, it seems.

Last night I had a very odd dream. At the end, I was sitting at a picnic table with a priest who was my pastor until 4 1/2 years ago, when we changed parishes after a series of events that left us angry, confused and heartbroken. And we felt that the pastor was doing nothing about it, and didn’t care.

In my dream last night I told this priest, “I’m still angry.” And he answered, “I know.” And THEN I said, “I wonder if anger is like sorrow–an act of the will?”

After 4 1/2 years, I think it is. We’re back at that parish now, with a different pastor, and that has been very healing to us. But there’s still some anger there, obviously. Why do I still hang on to that?

Ten years later, I have to admit I’m still hanging on to some of that anger, that feeling of betrayal.

Holding on to a grudge? Clearly, it’s my superpower–and not just in this situation. It’s not a good superpower to have, either. I have yet to find a way to use my ability to hold a grudge for good.

If holding on to anger is an act of the will, so is letting go. That’s what I need to focus on.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

#WorthRevisit: My Pocket Rosary

Since it’s the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, what better topic to revisit? Here’s an almost-10-year-old blog post on the Rosary. Specifically, the one that’s in my pocket.

My favorite "pocket Rosary." Durable. Washable. And with a Franciscan touch!
My favorite “pocket Rosary.” Durable. Washable. And with a Franciscan touch!

A Friar suggested to me that a good way to deal with anger is to say the Rosary. I’ve never been much of a Rosary person but I figured, what can it hurt? I started keeping one in my pocket (and I am rarely without a pocket). The idea is that when I start to get angry I should take a time-out and pray for a decade or more, with the intention of relieving my anger and finding a good way to resolve the situation.

Around the same time, I started to think about the fact that people, myself included, say they will pray for some intention. I don’t want to forget that I have promised a friend that I will pray for their grandmother, or whatever it is. So I began to dedicate my “pocket Rosary” for a certain intention each day. If someone asks me to pray for their intention, I dedicate my day’s “pocket Rosary” for that. Each time I notice the Rosary in my pocket, I saw a quick prayer for the day’s intention. And of course any decades I might complete are also offered for that intention.

It helps me to know that I am following up on the situation somehow. I know some people keep notebooks, or whatever. This is what works for me, right now.

I read somewhere–and if I can remember where, I will credit it properly–that the best response when someone asks you to pray for them is to say something like, “I will pray for you, as the Lord brings you to my mind.” Whenever you think of this person, just say a quick prayer for them. Chances are, the Lord will bring them to your mind often.

Check out the other #WorthRevisit participants at Reconciled to You and also at Theology is a Verb!