Monday, December 28, 2009

Don'tcha Hate it When Reality Intrudes?

Soo...I've been writing about assertiveness. Offering advice. And I was planning to finish off my blogs on that topic today, with four things we can look at to assess our assertiveness (or teach our kids to look at to assess theirs).

And then I went to the doctor. The brief visit I was anticipating took all morning because the recommended treatment necessitated two other stops within the same complex.

The first was brief. Easy. Painless.

The second brought me to a crowded waiting room. Because I hadn't needed to check in with a receptionist for the first additional stop (within the same complex), I made the mistake of thinking I didn't need to check in at the second location (within the same complex) either. Mistake number one.

It was only after I'd waited a half hour or more and watched a patient who had arrived after me ushered into the back that I checked with the receptionist.

Oh, she said. You must have slipped by me.

Indeed I had.

But now I was duly registered, my mistake corrected, and all was right with the universe. The young girl who'd gone in before me was on crutches, and was accompanied by her father and a very tired-looking younger brother. She'd needed to go first anyway.

Shortly thereafter, the technician came out to call the next patient. Apparently the older gentleman sitting next to me, who had arrived at least thirty minutes after I had, had been entered into the system at the same time as I had. It was up to us.

Assertiveness in action! Did I stand up? Stake my claim? Declare that I had arrived first and had been waiting for forty-five minutes?

I did not. And I have no idea why.

The older man stood and claimed my time slot. The receptionist also announced (erroneously)that he'd been there first. And I just sat there in silence, mourning, once again, the death of chivalry and my own reticence.

The event itself was not a big deal, and it could easily be argued that no harm was done when the (mostly) able-bodied younger person relinquished her claim to the older man with a cane.

And, indeed, no harm was done. My morning was not ruined. I was not late to any appointments. The only damage that was done was to my pride, which emerged slightly bruised.

I promise to offer up those four hallmarks of assertiveness in my next post. In this one, however, I'll offer a caution.

It's usually harder than it looks.

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