After several trips to Atlanta, a couple of them frantic, one-day, 300-mile back-and-forths for yet another examination or re-exam or other technicality, I found myself waiting for my bone marrow transplant to get underway. I still am.
My baby brother, Tim, who is to be my cell donor, also has run into snags with his tests, so it has been hurry-up-and-wait for both of us. Thank goodness we are military veterans and are familiar with that concept.
The bad thing for me is that I inherited our father’s impatience – all of it – but Tim came along 13 years later when Daddy’s impatience had been eroded by the years and the children, so baby brother (he’s 6-foot-5) has no problem with these obstacles.
Here’s a case in point. We went to a big-box store to replenish necessities – mostly Pepsis for my wife – and for perhaps the first time in my life, when the keypad at the register asked whether I wanted cash back, I said yes. I punched the $40 button, but when the cashier totaled my purchase, it had added $100 to the bill.
The cashier handed me $100, but long ago I learned to count so I knew something was wrong here.
“No, I want only $40,” I said.
“The machine says $100,” he said, “so you have to take it.”
“No matter what the machine says, I say I wanted $40,” I said a little louder. “Now take back my money.”
They wouldn’t, and Tim urged me to give it up and keep the cash. I wasn’t ready to do either, and we drove to a nearby bank so I could deposit the $60 I didn’t want or need. In keeping with the way my day was going, the ATM was out of service.
It was late in the business day, so inside the bank I was practically the only customer. Teller Vicky showed me how to operate an ATM inside (ATMs inside a bank?) with which I was unfamiliar. She was so friendly that I asked her to accompany me to the door and toss me out of the bank for the benefit of my brother waiting in the car.
She did walk with me but refused to oust me (did you ever have one of those days?). Her cheerful assistance helped lighten my gloom over the store’s bad service, but not completely.
On the way back to the hotel, Tim offered this counseling: “Pretend you’re carrying four bowling balls, two in each hand; now, just drop them. Let them go.”
“Why on Earth would anyone ever be carrying four bowling balls?” I asked gloomily.
“Just lighten your burden. Drop the bowling balls.”
“I’m getting blood from a guy who lets people get away with bad service?”
“They aren’t getting away with anything,” he said. “You just have to pick your battles.”
“Yeah, but four bowling balls? Come on!”
We went back to the hotel, where we carried in the groceries, including my wife’s four 12-packs of Pepsi. Four heavy 12-packs. It felt so good to put them down and get on with my day.
Reach Glynn Moore at email@example.com.