Reflection and Thanks

Thursday, November 22, 2007 -- Joe Wheeler State Park near Rogersville, AL

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

A cold front passed through last night bringing rain, a little wind, and chillier temps by this morning. It was 42f when we got up this morning.

Yesterday we didn't do much. It rained almost all day. Since Dar needed a few supplies for a project she's working on, and we needed a few groceries, we drove to Florence, a good sized town about 20 miles west of us.

During our foray into Florence we stopped at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant to have some lunch. We were seated just a little way from a large table of extended family members... father, mother, their adult children, and their children's families. I'm only guessing. One of the adult children, a guy, who for the purposes of this post we'll name "Bob", had a voice that easily projected all around the dining room we were in and dominated his other family members. In other words, all diners in the restaurant knew what Bob was thinking.

Shortly after we sat down, Bob and the rest of his family members got their food order delivered. Within a minute or two Bob was telling everyone at his table (and everyone in the restaurant) that he'd ordered his steak medium rare, and that he wasn't sure what he'd gotten, but it most certainly wasn't medium rare. In a few minutes their server was back checking on the table and Bob boldly brought her up to date with what everyone else in the restaurant already knew... his steak wasn't done to his liking. She apologized, removed his plate, and said she'd have another out in a jiffy.

After some minutes, the server was back with another steak. This time, she didn't have a chance to escape back to the kitchen before Bob complained that the plate the steak was served on wasn't hot enough... he likes his steaks served on a very hot plate. She again apologizes, takes the plate, and says she'll be right back.

A few more minutes pass. The rest of the family is nearly done eating. The server reappears with yet another steak. Bob once again starts in on his steak. For a few moments I honestly thought that he'd finally found the right degree of steak done-ness and plate hot-ness. But I was wrong. There's no pleasing Bob. He started telling everyone that his steak was now rare, not medium rare. And after a few more minutes he announces to the room that "now we've gone from rare to raw!" Their server returns and gets another ear-full. She takes the plate and scurries off. A little while later she returns, apologizes, and says she'll deduct the cost of his meal from the check, and if he'd like he can take the uneaten steak home and re-cook it to his satisfaction. He said he'd take the steak, but he wasn't going to eat it. It was going to become dog food.

Dar and I handle these situations differently. I realize that you can't remove the ass from a jackass. There is nothing I can do to change people like this. I see these events as, a) studies in human interaction, and b) entertainment. They become fodder for my blog. They remind me that not all people are reasonable -- as if I need reminding on this point.

Dar, on the other hand, must do or say something to right the wrong. She gets that look in her eyes... righteousness will prevail. I know this and told her, as we were leaving, that I was going to follow her and physically muzzle her if she said something to Bob as we passed by their table. What I didn't count on was her unloading on the manager of the restaurant who saw us to the door and thanked us for stopping in. He had more than one story about his customers that day.

But back to Bob. I'm convinced some people get some kind of pleasure or sense off self-worth out of not being happy and make a lifestyle out of complaining. I hope he never finds himself in a truly challenging and dire situation someday. On second thought, maybe I do. No, on third thought, I certainly do.

On this day of reflection and thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for our two great kids, our wonderful grandson, and for our parents and the great job they did raising us. I'm also thankful that we're able to do this sabbatical and see America like we've never seen it before.

Oh, and I'm especially thankful that I'm not like Bob.



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