If Kate asked me again what my three biggest pet peeves were, I’d have to rewrite my answer. Among those three peeves would be being taken for granted.
I detest being taken for granted. It’s rude, it’s not taking someone else’s feelings into account, and it’s using someone else.
I was put into a position this weekend where someone asked me to do something at the last minute. It wasn’t a big thing, and I know perfectly well I was expected to say yes; I don’t think it even crossed the questioner’s mind that I’d refuse. I also know perfectly well that we always have a choice, etcetera etcetera; one can always say no. However, I was asked in front of other people, and to say no would have looked petty.
I hate being in a position like that. To me, that’s taking someone for granted.
Every once in a while I work on radio dramas, and I love it. One of my contacts has a habit of calling me and asking if I’m available a couple of days before a potential performance. Same thing: simple courtesy goes a long way. Asking me to rearrange my schedule so I can fit rehearsals and a performance into it without a couple of days’ notice is not only presumptuous, it’s downright discourteous. The kicker here is that I love to do radio dramas, especially with this contact, and it puts my whole week off if I have to turn him down due to other scheduled events that can’t be shifted or cancelled. He’s always disappointed too. There’s a simple solution: call me earlier. Let me know ahead of time. Assuming I’m free does both of us a disservice.
To me, being taken for granted means I’m not being considered as a real person. One of the things that frustrates me about society today is that no one seems aware that other individuals exist outside their own personal sphere. People who cut you off on the road, who stop suddenly on a crowded sidewalk, who blast their music in cars, who smoke in bus shelters – not a single one of them understands that their actions affect others around them. They’re unable to understand that everyone is an individual, that we all work together. One of my husband’s frequent comments while driving is, “Wow, it must be nice to be so important” when another driver drifts into our lane, or cuts across three lanes of traffic to get to an exit, or pulls out of a parking space without looking to see if anyone’s coming down the lane. That saying encapsulates exactly how I feel about being taken for granted.
The Grand Poobah posted an entry a couple of weeks ago about something very similar to what I’m frustrated about. I put a lot of effort into being certain that I’m not inconveniencing anyone, to be polite, to think of others, which is probably why I snap every once in a while when I feel I haven’t been offered the same consideration. Sure, I’m only human, which means that I mess up every once in a while, trip over myself, crash and burn in a particular situation; I’m not perfect. So often, though, I get fed up. Why do I bother? So few others do.
I know why I do, though. It’s the same reason that Hobbes does. Because we’re decent people. Because we have that queer ability to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see how our actions will be interpreted. It’s a disability at times, but overall, however, I think it gives us a really good look at the human condition. I treat others – strangers and friends – the way I would like to be treated. So when people don’t extend me the same courtesy, well, after enough of being walked over, I snap. Unfortunately, sometimes I snap in the presence of someone who has no clue why, because the irritation and unfairness of it all tends to pile up until that proverbial straw on the camel’s spine enters the picture.
Yes, I do often wish I weren’t so damned principled. It would make life a lot easier if I were one of those people who didn’t care.
I don’t post song lyrics because journals should be about your own words, but this sums things up nicely:
Wouldn’t it be great if no one ever got offended
Wouldn’t it be great to say what’s really on your mind
I’ve always said all the rules are made for bending
And if I let my hair down would that be such a crime?
I wanna be consequence free
I wanna be where nothing needs to matter
I wanna be consequence free
Just say – na na na, na na na na na na
I could really use to lose my Catholic conscience
‘Cause I’m getting sick of feeling guilty all the time
I won’t abuse it, yeah I’ve got the best intentions
For a little bit of anarchy, but not the hurting kind
I couldn’t sleep at all last night ’cause I had so much on my mind –
I’d like to leave it all behind, but you know it’s not that easy
Oh for just one night
Wouldn’t it be great if the band just never ended
We could stay out late, and we would never hear last call
We wouldn’t need to worry ’bout approval or permission
We could slip off the edge, never worry about the fall
-Great Big Sea, Consequence Free
From now on, I say no when I feel like it.