We live in a neighborhood with the garages and driveways on the backside of the house. In order to access our garage, you have to drive down an alley behind our house. This is only important for the first part of this story, but important, nonetheless.
So, Saturday this old man comes to my door and informs me that the garbage people will start collecting our trash from the alleyway. This way we don't have to pull our cans around front. From now on, we can just slide them out of the garage to the end of our drive ways.
Then he says that they are going to spray paint our house number on the driveway so they know whose trash to pick up.
I don't say anything out of fear that I am being overly picky as I tend to be about this kind of stuff. In fact, I feel sorry for him because he is ancient (a WW2 vet, according to his hat) and it is like 20 degrees outside. So I say, "Bless your heart out in that cold, can i get you anything?"
He says he is fine and goes on his way.
Well I tell Ben about it when he gets home and he isn't happy about the spray paint either. My mom also agrees that this is not an acceptable method of tagging me as a customer. I mean, has this company ever heard of putting stickers on garbage cans?
So yesterday I see him making his rounds again and I stop him to ask him about the spray paint. I tell him I'm a little nervous about it and he gets ALL upset. Tells me that "no one else has a problem with it and he doesn't know why I am getting so upset about it...it's just 3 inch letters...and I should be happy that he has even asked them to do this and stop being so difficult!"
At this point I, a) realize that he is one of my neighbors and not someone that works with the trash company and b) am staring at his WW2 hat and reminding myself to mind my manners.
I take a deep breath and say, "I'm sorry. Please don't get upset. I appreciate everything you have done to set this up. I think it will be so great for the neighborhood. You have done enough already, I will call the garbage company and handle it from here."
He has a few more opinions about what I should do and I smile all the way through them with gritted teeth.
My new strategy: Get back to neighborly chit chat; aka CHANGE THE SUBJECT.
"I am sorry I never introduced myself! I'm Jamie Grizzle. So you live in the neighborhood? Which house are you?"
He doesn't introduce himself back, just says he is house #5921.
I say, "Oh yeah? Which one is that?" Because, unfortunately, I haven't had time to memorize everyone's house number yet. I guess I should add that to my new year's resolution list.
He says, "That's the stupidest question I have ever heard! That's like the idiot that asked the sheriff where mile marker 499 is. It is between mile marker 498 and 500, you idiot!"
Ummm, what?!?! Did he just call me an idiot?
At this point, I'm laughing out of pure shock. I don't know what else to do and I can't even tell if he is being serious or joking anymore.
So I laugh and say, "Haha, I guess you are right. I guess I meant more like what color is your hosue? (The houses in our hood are all different colors, white, gray, light blue, light green, yellow, etc. It's how we all identify each other. We are the gray house with the topiaries...you get the idea.)
So this is the part that still hurts my feelings. I honestly don't know how I could have been any nicer or what I did to deserve the wrath of this old man, but...
He throws his hands in the air and YELLS, "Lord, woman! Let me go! What is wrong with you. Why do you keep bothering me?!?!?" And walks down the street with his hands in the air mumbling about how I am crazy.
It's funny now...but whew, yesterday? Not so much.
I guess that is what I get for being all soap boxy with my Facebook status this week: I think I am going to focus my energy on only saying encouraging words this week. That's means, not saying something that will tear someone down...even if they can't hear me.
Get behind me, Satan!