So, I suffer from an inability to stay out of other people's problems. Or more precisely, whenever people near me are suffering from what I perceive as an injustice or communication breakdown, I throw myself in to mediate. I've figured out the cause: My tongue bleeds easily, thus I've learned to avoid biting it whenever possible.
Reason for this revelation is that I found myself mediating a couple things today. The most interesting of them happened while in line at Safeway. I was in Rossmore, an older affluent neighborhood, buying juice to hydrate myself after my first week of camp. The store is fairly crowded, and nearly all of the occupants are white senior citizens. I hop into a line, which had to curve around due to its length, and as I waited, an older lady stop on the far side of the line gesturing towards me, indicating her place in line is somewhere near me. I couldn't tell if she was trying to place herself behind me (where she would have rightfully been by her arrival) or in front of me. I didn't care one way or the other—I mean, it was the express lane and I had just collected my first paycheck from my excellent job. Another lady hopped in line behind me; bear in mind that the line is curved and I am taller than the average person, so she couldn't see the older woman waiting on the far side of the line. When she reached the older lady she did the logical thing and asked, "Are you in front of me?"
The older lady retorts very matter-of-factly "Well, yes I am. You can tell by looking." Her comment wasn't warm nor joking and the middle-aged women took it to be rude (reasonable, though not obviously the case). She pointed out that the older woman had been a bit short with her and replied, "It's fine, you can go ahead of me."
The older woman gasped, half-glanced at me and exclaimed, "I can go ahead? Well, can you believe that."
At that point, I couldn't really tolerate the older lady's condescending attitude anymore, so I turned around and said something to the effect of, "Ma'am, with all due respect, what you said could have been taken to be rude. I'm not saying you meant it that way, but I can absolutely see how this lady could have felt that way." The older lady looked a bit taken aback and then tried to justify herself by saying, "But then she said I could go ahead of her like—" I cut her off there, because I was not in the mood. I explained my perception of things again, saying, "Well, what she was saying was that she was just going to drop it and not make an issue out of the whole thing. Essentially, that she didn't really care." Then I turned around and paid for my juice. As I walked out, I turned around and the lady in whose defense I had spoken waved and mouthed a thank you. Totally worthwile. Also, I promise I did not go bad on an old lady in Safeway. I made a point of appearing as unthreatening as possible and speaking very softly. I may be bold/meddlesome but I'm no idiot about it.
I'm definitely being a bit less tolerant of people saying stupid shit at my job too. In perfect honesty, I've lost a lot of respect for someone I admired when I was in high school. It happens. Growing up will do that, I guess. Not biting my tongue. It hurts too much. My tongue bleeds easy and rather than let my mouth fill with blood, I'll just speak my mind when I need to. Preferably in defense of people. And, yes, I know that it should be "my tongue bleeds easily..."but I like the sound of my initial phrasing so I'll bypass my typical grammar freak mannerisms.