Today we sat around our much loved but badly beaten kitchen table and asked the question 'What shall we do today?' The first suggestion was to visit the local Zoo gifted us by Petal (4 years old, obsessed with pink, cats and Ballet), it was an idea we ran with and within the hour we were in the car and ready to go.
Now normally there is a juggling act in place, there are eight of us and we have a seven seater, so I normally stay home, but today the teenager was left to fend for himself (which meant completing the minor tasks left behind for him to do and then settling in in front of the Playstation 3, he's 15 what can you expect him to do with his time right?). Sitting in the car I felt quite excited, I was going on a trip! Me! Woo hoo!
The sun shone and the roads were blessedly clear as we flew down the English south coast roads I was feeling pretty good and we arrived without incident at all. Lovely.
Out and into the Zoo, we are members so it doesn't cost an arm and a leg (thank you to my lovely Mother In Law for paying for that) and after getting my card all sorted we entered. Five kids between 2 and 11, me and the my lovely wife, animals and sunshine. Bliss. Then the clouds gathered.
The sun went in for the day but it didn't really matter, we had a lovely time, the zoo was busy, not a problem. In all it was awesome... but isn't there always a fly in the ointment?!
Coming through the crowd came an arsehole, one I knew, one I really detest. Could I avoid? Should I ignore? Turn my back and just wait for it to pass? No. No, I did what any good polite person did. I was polite. I shock his hand, I asked him how he was and I wished him well. Good.
Now this person needs some loose going into, only a little, but enough. I worked for him on a building site and worked incredibly hard. I arrived when the project was having problems with Labour, specifically the labourers. They were lazy, shoddy, unfocused stonners that should have been fired on their first day and it still stuns me that they were there a full twelve months before I arrived.
In short I worked hard and quickly managed to get a trusted mate on the site with me. We worked very hard and got them back on course. It took alot of energy, a massive amount of determination and a willingness to continue through injury.
We pulled tonnes of rubble from the blocks that were behind time, we filled a thousand skips, we pushed it and both gained alot of muscle in a short space of time. It was hard core ladies and gentlemen. This guy was one of the agents and treated us like crap. He moaned, never congratulated, pushed without ever conceding that we had transformed his site and had made him look good for the first time since the site opened. Not a boast, simply a fact.
In time we came to be the only labourers on site and were expected to drive a site on that should have had at least five lads doing the slog. We did it though, so you can imagine he was an arsehole but here comes the kicker. Midweek a boss came down and walked past me, he made the decision that the site needed to save money so told this agent to sack me. On the spot. He did. I left that day and returned the next week for the painters and did two weeks for them.
Months later my mate (who they worked like a dog without ever thanking him or cutting him any slack) damaged his knee. The doctor told him two weeks of rest were the minimum. This guy and his partner in crime had him back the next week. He shouldn't have worked but they phoned him everyday and told him clearly he didn't have grace when it came to time, so he went back to find the guy hadn't even put the accident in the book. The levels this guy would sink to were beyond belief.
In the end the site ended and my mate came away okay, we got a small amount of cash from the site and it was steady for a while but this guy was scum of the worst managerial kind.
I perhaps, facing this man, could have told him what I thought of him but he wouldn't have cared. I could have ignored him but he wouldn't have cared. In the end I did what would bring the best result for ME and so chose to be the better man. This brought me far more peace and contentment, knowing what a prick he was I simply let it go.
We walked the zoo and had a great time and played in the awesome playground and I bumped into him several more times but he wouldn't look me in the eye. In the playground he left the area completely. Now was that my fierce presence that poured aggression out towards him? No. I take it as an admittance of guilt.
If my being polite in the face of his idiocy and incompetence brings the next guy that works under this man some grace then every word spent with him was worth it.
I learnt today that my attitude towards politeness and respect are valid. That hard work is recognised, even if not always rewarded and that I can be the better man and be happy about it.
Saying all that I would happily have drowned him in the flamingo pond. :-)