Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wanted: A Spine

I am not confrontational. I don’t fancy myself a wall flower per se. Even though I am quite the extrovert, when it comes time to stand up for myself in small matters… I don’t usually do so. This is not a new thing; I didn’t used to do battle on small matters. And I don’t see this as being something I strive for in the near future.

I have noticed this starting to affect me on a day to day basis with small but seemingly important stuff, stuff I shouldn’t be afraid to correct people on.

It amazes me that I don’t waste a second correcting somebody if they pronounce my last name wrong. If they say something like, “Bohemkey” or “Bojaflemkey,” I will instantly point out that is in fact pronounced Bem-key.

But if somebody calls me by the first wrong name I often just… respond, as if my first name actually is Steve, or Terrance, or Rob.

Then I spend the next 10 minutes thinking about how the hell I can casually bring up in conversation that my first name is not Rob without making the person who called me that, feel like a total boob. I contemplate telling stories like;

“So my friends were all like RICH, RICH, RICH don’t put a top hat on that penguin.”

I don’t know how to respond when a person has given me a completely new first name. It is the most uncomfortable when it’s somebody you greet nearly every day but never really converse with. Somebody oh I don’t know, let’s just say who works at your gym.

I feel like the best method is to just ignore the person until they seem concerned that something is wrong and then I can say “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me.”

Or maybe they will just think that I have turned into a huge jerk and they will start telling all their other friends that Rob is a really cold jerk. And I just can’t have that kind of reputation.

Names are just words. You can still have a healthy great functioning relationship with somebody if they don’t know your name or they think it’s something else. Really it doesn’t affect my life so much except for give me agida deep in my chest that prevents me from enjoying any aspect of my life.

But aside from that it’s nothing big.

When it comes to matters of my own health and safety, I am also pretty non confrontational. Perhaps it comes from experience in traveling and feeling like going with the flow is the best way to experience things. Things like food poisoning.

I went out to a nice dinner recently with a good friend and her mother. My friend ordered steak, she ordered it cooked medium. I ordered a pork chop for dinner. They did not ask me how I wanted it cooked because everybody cooks pork chops the same way, until they are done.

Well when my food came out, it was absolutely completely noticeably pink. And pink is a color that a cooked pork chop should not be. Some might argue that when it comes to pork, pink is the color of food poisoning.

I was slightly nervous that perhaps I was going to get my second case of salmonella in as many years. But in my head the inner monologue went something like this.

“Well they probably wouldn’t just serve me something bad for me. I mean that would be bad for them? I’m sure it’s fine. Oh well I’ll just eat it.”

It wasn’t until I was about 4 bites in that my friend’s mother mentioned that there was no way I should be eating that pork chop and should send it back and have it cooked more because it wasn’t cooked enough and it was not healthy for me.

At first I declined.

Of course at this point I had already started thinking about what time I was going to start throwing up all of the uncooked food in my stomach.

Under peer pressure from my friend’s mother, I finally sent back the pork chop to have it cooked more.

When I got the steak back it was cooked more for sure, but still relatively pink. I wasn’t about to send it back a second time, unless of course my friend’s mom made me. Salmonella may be bad for you, but I can only imagine what the chef would have added had I told him his food didn’t meet my standards twice!

Part of me thinks that I don’t stand up or act more confrontational because it is just easier that way. I don’t really care too much about the consequences and it will end up being more frustration than it is worth. I am trying to be an easy going person. I try not to let too much bother me.

My personality is not that of pit-bull it is more of… well… pug. I am not one to be chained up barking my head off like a mad man for hours on end. Just put a funny outfit on me and let me run around in circles with my tongue hanging out of my mouth. That’s more my thing.

I think when you start to cultivate a mentality of easygoingness, and you try too hard to be easy going, you forget to pay attention to things that might affect you. Things like losing your identity, or death.

Maybe I should stand up for myself in those small matters more often. Maybe my life would be a lot better if I did. Or maybe… maybe I should change my name to Rob and avoid the whole confrontation.

That’s got to be easier.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rob,
I too was out recently and the same thing happened to me. I am beginning to think it's acceptable, unlike my chewy pork chops at home. I never got sick either.

Ava said...

You have a great sense of humor. I completely understand where you are coming from re: confrontation. I just don't have the energy or interest in confronting people about most things. But I've found in my 30's I'm much better at figuring out a way to send back a pink pork chop.