Sunday, November 26, 2006

Imagine this

You've stayed at someone's house for perhaps a week total over the last month. Although you generally do not drink tea or coffee because an unceremonious glass of tap over the sink suffices, you have made that someone tea regularly per his convention and have had some yourself. In that short amount of time, you realize that one small mug, a sort of composite plastic one, gets very hot in the microwave. After finding that out, you once even boiled the water in another mug to transfer to this one. The blue one is light and smaller, so the "standard" two minutes in the microwave is entirely too much and you wish the "House Standard for His Highness' Tea" were adjusted by someone to account for the physics of cup composition, cup weight, cup size, and the resulting variance in amount of water contained and heated.

Imagine that you are fully dressed one morning, occupied by the sink on the other side of the small galley kitchen, and without your knowledge someone has used the overheating mug in question. All the while, you have assumed, with it being someone else's possession and with someone else living there for a year, that someone was aware of the limitations his own slight mug. And you felt it not your place to point it out, because who are you with only three weeks on the job total? And you didn't want another mountain made out of a mole hill again, aka the song and dance that you feel something about a given subject and then are given in return a litany about why you shouldn't feel that way.

Suppose someone grabs said mug in the microwave, reacts to the heat of the handle, knocks over the mug, and boiling hot tea spills all over the counter and floor. Suppose that you're the only one in the kitchen with shoes on, but you step back and adeptly on your own avoid all harm. Suppose someone else who is right next to the microwave is in skivvies, barefoot, with the great savior with arms flung out to shield the peons behind him, that someone only really needing to save himself.

After the mess is cleaned up by the someone causing it and by his insistence to not have help... oops, let's go back to the discussion about the still hot mug and, as it turns out, its companion from the cabinet. Suppose you remarked that the cups will go in the trash, right? And suppose you were met with a tap dance, then rationalization that he could give them to his boys to play with when they visit on holidays/summers. Imagine saying that the mugs could recirculate to the kitchen to be potentially reused, that they should be in the trash, that they are dangerous. Danger, Wi11 Robinson, danger. That finally sinks in and the mugs go into the trash.

Round Two. Now it's time for the replacement cup of tea. It was prepared in a more substantial mug and put into the microwave for the standard two minutes. Suppose you were standing next to the microwave when it beeped at the end, and you joked, "I'm going over there," indicating a proposed move to the opposite end of the kitchen.

How surprised would you be if someone got over your joke? If someone felt made fun of to the very essence of his being? Suppose someone then said in all seriousness he saved you the last time and you should be grateful?

This someone, who requests that people be thick skinned enough around him that he's allowed a bad day, is so routinely thin skinned that everything can be misconstrued to bother him. It is explained that you joking about another potential tea catastrophe is akin in his mind to a scenario he hears at work and you are then considered callous with a poor sense of humor demeaning people.

At work
Guy 1: A A A A SChhhhhheeeeeewwwwwwwww
Guy 2: Hey, man, do you have pneumonia? If you die, I get dibs on your chair.

You joking that you'd go stand by the door is in the same vein as a banal person jokingly wishing a guy dead, something that someone does not take lightly. Someone considers low humor to be too low, but seems to generalize low humor much too broadly. And what he's missing is that joking about the chair really means that you value/like/care enough about the guy enough to be able to joke with him about his chair. It implies a sense of humor.

I think someone must have been picked on too much as a kid and there's not a damn thing that anyone else can do about it. I think it was lovely going to the ba11et with him and it warmed my heart how excited he was to be there, leaning up in his seat to peer over the edge and see the orchestra as well. It was magical. I told him that it was my best gift ever and him enjoying it made it even better.

But as expected, we fought beforehand; we fought afterward, too. The ba11et was magical because he had his mouth shut and he wasn't criticizing me in list format. In fact, as I was leaving shortly after the tea episode, I said, "At least the ba11et was good."

I thought it would be over today, but I couldn't do it with my son around. I left stuff there that I want back. Soon.


Anonymous said...

Oh no!!! Sorry it took this twist. I don't see anything mean about the tea comment OR the chair comment..if it is done in the right tone and approach. And I am horribly thin skinned but some things you just know are jokes.

I'm sorry Cricket.

Anonymous said...

He's being a boob and you should high tail it.

I've known guys like this. Hey, at least the ballet was good, right?

Anonymous said...

Oops! Well, at least I go one notch higher on your to-do list. Though I am just a gnat in the unverse!

ron southern

Anonymous said...

Anyone making tea in a microwave is an idiot and should be made fun of to no end.