I spent Saturday with a friend I rarely see alone. As we wandered through the busy streets and in and out of vintage clothes shops, we caught up on each other's lives and plans and vacillating priorities. As that point in the afternoon when the sun dipped and the air cooled further, we stopped for a cortado in a fashionable new coffee shop and talked longer and deeper. Then a moment when I realised how far I've come in tamping down my people-pleasing tendency, but also that I could have strayed too far the other way.

A waitress reached silently between the two of us and snatched my (not yet empty) glass away. I reached out silently to take it back. Something in my look made her step back, silently, and stand there a moment or two longer at my shoulder after I'd turned away. Then she moved on. I found Nicole watching me wryly. All she had to do was ask first. I've been a waitress: I would have asked. I still care what people think of me and I care what I think of me. I should have acted with more grace. Does it make it better that I'm thinking of it even now? 


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Reader Comments (6)

OMG. I did exactly the same the other day and found myself feeling like an ass. I laughed it off with the waitress and she seemed to take it okay . . . but my husband gave me the look!
February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie
It is a delicate and difficult balance at times -- one that seems to get a wee bit better with age. Am I bad for thinking that what you did was fine? Although truth be told, like you I would likely still be wondering days later, worrying that I'd made someone feel uncomfortable...
February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
You just wanted to finish your cortado. Even if it was a harmless mistake, I believe she should have apologized for prompting your discomfort in having to reach to take it back.

Luckily you still have your walk and your talk and this set of images to feel very good about. I especially like #3.
February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise | Chez Danisse
She should have asked before reaching to take it away. This is the kind of thing that would linger in my memory days later as well.
February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy
Yes, it does make it better. Awareness is a big step. Still there is a gap between awareness and action. You need both. I want to be better too.

(Btw, I like the statue's freckles).
February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
You're all so kind. I have it in perspective now;) What lingered was the sense that I acted out of character and, as I loathe casual rudeness, couldn't bear my own. Melanie, you acted as I normally would have by making a joke of it. Anna, I'm old enough to know better - to not do it and not to dwell! Denise, thank you. And that little moment is set against a lovely day. Tracy, it's that feeling that she's out there dwelling on that rude customer! which she probably isn't. Chuck, you're right: no use having awareness without the right action. Living and learning...
February 15, 2012 | Registered Commenterlittle house

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