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Reflections July 2017

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Mean but Spirited

By Anne Ashley

I don’t think I was ever the type to sweet-talk or butter up a situation, no matter its severity, even in my youth. But as I get older, I'm even less inclined to be reserved or apologetically charming … or helpful, for that matter.

Anyone who’s read more than two of my columns knows that I am short on patience and long on sarcasm. Similarly, frequent readers will also know that I find it difficult to deal with theatrical people who unnecessarily create drama. It’s why I can’t tolerate most singers – or what passes for singers, today. I mean, they’re just singing a song, for criminy sakes, not curing cancer with their auto-tunes. And don’t even get me started on teenage talent performers of today. 

Anyway, chanteuses aside, when absolutely forced to engage with fragile egos, hypersensitive flibbertigibbets or melodramatic warblers, I fight fire with fire. For example, just recently while on a mission to find lightbulbs for a particularly bothersome light fixture – that, had I known was going to be so much trouble finding bulbs for, I would have settled on lighting the room with old fashioned candles. Instead I engaged the help of one of the store assistants who just happened to be nearby … poor fella. I explained what I needed and then walked behind the confident assistant for what seemed like a mile before we finally arrived at what can only be described as Illumination Central.

Just an aside here … but I can’t be the only person capable of buying a lamp without seeing it lit! Can I? From the uplighters to the ones hanging overhead to the tabletop variety, every single one was lit. Not only was the mega-wattage testing my Factor 15, the buzzing noise coming from the electrical overload was so loud I could hardly hear myself think.

Anyway, once I was introduced to the minuscule section where my exclusive, one-of-a- kind, pain-in-the-ass light bulbs were shelved, the lightbulb aficionado offered me the store brand which supposedly lasts a lifetime, guaranteed. I couldn’t help myself … without thinking I flippantly replied: Nah, I don’t have that kind of time. I’ll just settle for a 5-year bulb.

The look on the assistant’s face was priceless. He stuttered and stammered for a second and then offered me his condolences and departed. I watched him go, confused by his sudden change of attitude. Had I not been so preoccupied with my mission, I would’ve had a hell of a lot more fun with the implication. But as it was, it took me too long to realize that junior thought I meant that I was terminally ill and possibly only had five years to live.

I quickly deduced that there was no way to repair the damage and went back to gathering up the elusive goods, allowing the helpful assistant to wander back to the nuts-n-bolts section without setting the record straight.

But herein lies my predicament. I'm getting too old to tiptoe around feelings. I'm too senior to soft-soap things. To be honest, I don’t think I was ever the type to sweet-talk or butter up a situation, no matter its severity, even in my youth. But as I get older, I'm even less inclined to be reserved or apologetically charming … or helpful, for that matter.

Although –  call me an old curmudgeon – but this incident had me giggling all the way home, imagining this  poor lad who quite possibly thinks he’d just sold me my last lightbulb before I shuffled off this mortal coil.

Oh c’mon now, not only would I not be shopping for lightbulbs if my time on earth was to be truncated, I wouldn’t be shopping, period!

 

Be sure to follow me on twitter@anneashley57.

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