Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Graciously Accepting a Compliment
I was asked to speak on a panel at a forum in the town of Rumford a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I said, “Sure thing… just tell me how to get there!”
Naturally, I’ve been to Rumford in the past. But it’s been years since the zoo closed and even more years since I foreclosed on a property in that town. And I’d never, ever been to the high school, before-- so directions were in order.
Not that I ever get lost, or anything.
The instructions provided me were poorly written—not very practical, at all--and due to that fact, I had to stop several times to ask for directions. At the Gulf convenience store by the bridge. Beside the man who was power-washing his cabin cruiser in his driveway. And next to the father and his two little boys who were unloading groceries from their car.
Who knew Rumford was a city? Seriously, who knew? I never would have guessed… until I came upon that dreaded phenomenon (and misconceived brainstorm) called a ‘rotary’.
A ROTARY! In RUMFORD!
Judas Priest on a pony. I should never leave my dirt roads…
The day after the forum, I received an email from the moderator of the event; a well-mannered man from a prestigious law firm in Portland. I assume the firm is prestigious, anyway. They have their name on the side of a high-rise (okay… ten story!) office building. That’s gotta count for something, right? His written message was to me, but he “carbon-copied” a half-dozen others—kindly wanting them to hear his few words of praise, I suppose.
“Kaz! You were AWESOME last night!”
I have never learned how to graciously accept a compliment. Oh, man… what AILS me?
What did I say when I got that short note of approval? Oh, come on! Just guess!
Yep. When I read “Kaz! You were AWESOME last night!” I responded, “Mr. Pease says that all the time. Except… he calls me ‘Poopsie’.”
And-- I just hit ‘send’. To the moderator--and to all the others--in a boneheaded ‘Reply To All’ move.
Seriously…what AILS me???
So…my response went sailing through the ether of the internet. And I worked away at my computer, glancing up every so often for some response. ANY response!
Nothing. Zilch, nada, zip. Not from the moderator, and not from any of the others who were privy to our exchange. Complete silence. No emails being highlighted in my ‘INBOX’.
I agonized about it all night long. Had I offended this man? He didn’t really ‘know’ me… didn’t understand my warped sense of humor or my propensity to say and do the DUMBEST things imaginable in any given situation. My friends and family ‘get’ me… but would this fellow? Would the others? I pictured him fretting and stewing… imagined him worrying that I was trying to hatch some scheme for a sexual harassment suit, or some other ridiculous scenario…
And so, the next morning, I sent him a written apology. For trying to be cute and funny—and for failing to be either.
You can imagine my relief when I received a reply.
“You’re a NUT! I love yer ass… and the water it walks on!”
Well, now-- that’s more like it! (Okay, so I practically sobbed as I thanked the Powers That Be for my reprieve! But that’s irrelevant to the story, isn’t it?)
The next morning over a game of cribbage with Mr. Pease, I told him about my stupid Bonehead Moment. He paused as he dealt out the hand.
“I don’t call you ‘Poopsie’,” he said. Is it possible that my own husband still doesn’t ‘get me’ after seventeen years of marriage? I sighed.
“I know, honey. It was a joke! You also don’t say ‘Kaz, you were AWESOME last night!’”
He set the deck down at the end of the cribbage board and nodded his head somberly.
“True,” he said.
Nope, I never have learned how to take a compliment graciously. And really….is it any wonder?