Today was a day that sorta defied explanation; it started off normally but spiked into the awkward territory, went back to being ok, spiked again to absurd and went back down to normal. I think I finally have figured out how I feel about it after two good talks with fellow classmates. But here is how it all went down……
We started our new block today with two courses, Introduction to Product Knowledge and Food Safety, which look like fairly straight forward courses. Both instructors appear to be knowledgeable fellows who enjoy their chosen professions and teaching students, especially our Food Safety Instructor. He brought in a myriad of props, videos and hand outs to get his point across regarding the importance of safe food handling. After watching the various videos and hearing his stories about food borne illnesses, I don’t think I can honestly eat another meal out without second guessing the kitchen. Sometimes, ignorance is really bliss.
So this is where the day spikes to weird. Class broke for lunch and after eating was taking my plate to the servicing area when a classmate from another cohort pulled me aside to share a snippet of conversation she had with a certain Chef Instructor…yuppers the same one I had issues with the first week of school. Evidently, he informed her that he was out to get me and my fellow classmates. I don’t know what that means but it strikes me as odd that an Instructor would tell another student that he has a vendetta against a student or a class. I don’t know what we did to said Chef, but I guess we are now going to be paying for it when we get him in class shortly.
Needless to say that conversation was just a bit odd and brought up a bit of the same uneasiness that I have been fighting for the last few weeks. So now feeling a bit awkward, I boarded the shuttle to the dorms where upon getting to the parking lots saw a fellow school mate sitting on the balcony with his legs dangling over. Jokingly I yelled “Jump! But be sure to miss the trees as they were just planted…” which got a good laugh from the crowd and I went about my business for the day.
I went to dinner later this evening and the same school mate from the balcony was at the same table I was sitting and brought up my comments from the afternoon. I told him it was a joke and no ill will was intended. I then told him about the wives’ tale about the Ivy League student who commits suicide and his roommate gets A’s for that quarter. He then launched into a story about two students who recently passed in a car accident about a year ago …… awkward, sad and touching. Realizing my faux pax I apologized again and thanked him for bringing it to my attention. I left it at that and enjoyed dinner with my classmates.
I returned to the dorms and went to have a quick talk with a fellow classmate about class assignments in the adjacent dorm. I walked by the same fellow who was sitting outside with his fellow mates. I said hello as I walked by them to enter the building and the was addressed as “a**hole” by the guy who shared the story with me at dinner. I don’t think I have been called that since maybe junior high school, but then this guy is only 20 years old I later found out so junior wasn’t that long ago.
Part of me was taken aback by the name calling especially since the context of the exchange was so weird, out-of-place and delayed since the original event that sparked this conversation happened well over 6 hours previously. As I walked up the stairs to my friend’s room, it didn’t annoy me that he called me out of name but something did gnaw at me. I recounted the days events to my friend and we had a good conversation about how the situation can be construed from both sides. I walked back to my room feeling a bit better about the conflict but not 100% resolved. Entering my dorm, I ran across another friend who knows the person and asked it she had a moment. I again retold the series of events and she laughed stating that this person doesn’t have a sense of humor and may be a bit off in their psyche. Again, all nice words, but something still gnawed at me a bit about the total situation.
As I prepared for bed tonight, I replayed the series of events in my head and it dawned on me what has bothered me for the last several hours. But at the same time, realizing what bothered me also gave me a tremendous sense of relief and a good laugh. First, the guy who called me the name was the same guy who was having the loud sex the first day I moved into the dorms, so I really can’t take an insult too seriously from a dude who has sex with the windows open. Second, and the reason I laughed out loud for a good 10 seconds is that I realized something that I don’t know the dude’s name. We have been introduced several times and I couldn’t tell you if his name was Adam or Zeb. If my life depended on me knowing his name, I would be a dead guy. The fact that I don’t know his name has made me pause and think …..can a person really be upset over being called a name by a “nameless person”?
And my answer to that is a resounding HELL TO THE NO. If I couldn’t take the time to remember this dude’s name, clearly he means very little to me and my long-term happiness. Is being called out your name pleasant? Of course, but it means even less when I place it into perspective regarding who called me the name. At first, it’s easy to say “I don’t give a rat’s tail” about this guy, but part of me does. I care that I may have said something to offend him…that my words may have touched a place in his soul that is raw. So yeah, I may have been callous for my comment and maybe it touched a nerve with him. However, my sympathy runs only so deep. If he found my gesture rude, retaliating with another rude gesture doesn’t alleviate the situation. Lashing out does nothing to make a terse situation better and tends to alienate your intended audience. So yeah, while I am sorry that I may have offended him, he can suck it hard and fast.
As I look back on today’s series of events, I see my own growth and maturity. I recognize a bit of me in that guy and I know that the 14 years of experience I have on him has taught me many things; one of which is that you need to pick and choose your battles. With that said, I can let him feel that he has “won” this fight or got the upper hand on me. I actually think I may have won in this scenario because I learned a little more about myself and how I am settling into “me”. In the end, I think this particular fellow is going to have many more battles to fight, so let him chalk this one up as a “win” because I don’t think he is going to get many more wins in the coming years.