Friday, June 17, 2005

literal and subliminal #1: sending mixed messages

I did it again today.
Now you must first understand that I am a get it done, there’s nothing that one can’t learn how to do, spurn the ideals of the red tape route where there is an appropriate procedure for every activity on earth sort of mentality. I lived on a farm for half my life which is a location where one cannot have a “can’t do” attitude about anything. The quickest way to the finish line is to start the task right away if you are able and soon enough someone will notice and most likely come to help. There was none of this lengthy discussion on how to do something outside of the lengthy orations my brother gave my dad on why we should switch fertilizer brands and why we should switch to an automated feeding system.
With pragmatic default turned on, I tackled the boxes of paper that came in the delivery this morning. However, delivery guy hadn’t left yet when I showed up to haul the boxes upstairs. He had been asking the receptionist if there was an elevator and it was beginning to sound like he wasn’t authorized to bring them upstairs. Interestingly enough, his attitude changed completely when I picked up a box and started walking up the stairs. He came behind me quite rapidly with the other two and I was left to ponder the strange interaction.
I realized later, with a chuckle, that I was sending him subliminals that I never intended to send when I started hauling a box he wasn’t going to haul. I suppose the effect was intensified by the fact that I was a young woman in a slim skirt and heeled sandals.
I ran into the same scenario two months ago when I went to get my oil changed. They couldn’t get my hood open via the lever inside the car. They called me up to the desk, to tell me so. I began to explain to them that all you do is just reach up behind the front bumper and pull on the thin cable. The young guy began to stammer something that sounded like he was refusing me service when I, in genuine helpfulness, offered to open it for him. The supervisor overheard and immediately told me there was no problem and they would figure it out. Again, I was a little confused but remembered that I was a woman when I looked down at the skirt I had on. Wouldn’t that have been a sight to behold: a girl in a skirt under her car in their shop? It happened on my parents’ farm a lot, but this isn’t Mom and Pop’s farm. And I am sure the supervisor was simply trying to maintain the shop as a shop, not a peep show.

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