Sunday, 25 May 2014

Put it in the drawer

There is just one piece of advice that I can remember being given to me by the bank managers who were my immediate bosses for 25 years, a piece of advice I try to take on board when I receive a letter that causes me to erupt.  My boss told me that on occasions such as that, I should dictate my reply (bear in mind that, in those days, it was axiomatic that a reply was sent on the day a letter was received) and have it typed.  Then I should put it away in my desk until the next day.  If I still wanted to send it then, go ahead and do so.

I am also reminded of something my friend Skip wrote on his blog way, way back:

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.

My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your carand sent us to the hospital!'

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.

Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so ... 'Love the people who treat you right.
Pray for the ones who don't.' Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

I have been trying to follow that philosophy this week, having received emails from both the daughter and the granddaughter of one of the tenants of the Lions Housing Society.  (Quite why I should have been the recipient is a puzzle as I am merely the Hon Treas.)  They claimed that our tenant had been upset (as were they) by the fact that we had arranged for trees and shrubs to be pruned as they were blocking the light of some tenants.  The emails were distinctly unpleasant an, in some places, factually incorrect.  I replied simply saying that I noted their comments and regretted any upset that had been caused.  But that was not enough.  One of the responses I received was, "I appreciate your response (as brief as it is) to my email and do hope you act upon this matter. Otherwise I write in vain, but I will pursue this and I will not stop if ignored."

Yesterday I received another email couched in extremely angry terms.  I was sorely tempted, but resisted, and this morning, as I was walking the dog, I mulled over how to reply.  I have now replied pointing out, "if you are or she is unhappy with the way the buildings and grounds are maintained, you are perfectly at liberty to make alternative arrangements for her accommodation."

There comes a time when it just has to be called as it is.


joeh said...

Putting it in the drawer is good advice. You can't unstrike a match.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

It's funny you should post that particular story.
I am currently having some words at my garbage truck company.
I must have really set them on their heals because they haven't responded and I wrote two days ago.
I'd have telephoned, but they don't provide a phone number on their website.

Oh, wait ...they did have an auto-respond to which I responded and received an answer that said they don't monitor their email inbox.
I guess they're having a bad day?

I may have some blog fodder from this instance.