Events of this past week cause me to feel I must add this unplanned preface.....
I so long for the day when circumstances in our country, if not the world, reflect a predominance of news related to appreciation of sameness and tolerance, even acceptance, of differences among people as we once seemed closer to striving toward – even just two years ago.
The tragedy, again, of lives lost -- perhaps the perpetrators of such atrocities believing they've been given license to act so by inciting rhetoric from government leaders who claim they desire unity. These government leaders – whose actions and words demonstrate togetherness is only for those who agree with them – continue undermining our nation’s democracy, humanity and freedom in the world.
Consult Fourth Estate sources documenting truth.
Vote...vote...vote...for civility in government in 2018, 2020 in the U.S.!
Strive for freedoms, and humanitarian values throughout the world.
At what point in our lives do we begin to think of individuals we employ to provide us a service as becoming friends? I received a phone call recently from a younger gal I’d known as someone who provides a service I’ve used regularly for many years.
She had begun coping with a medical condition a few years earlier, then suddenly reached a status resulting in her immediately having to cease what had become only part time work. Ultimately, after a year or so, she and her previously retired husband recently moved to another state closer to one of their adult children. She had long shared with me her hope to do so in their retirement years when each had been healthier.
They both had to retire earlier than either of them anticipated. Premature retirement -- as my husband needed to take, then prompting my move to part time earlier in our lives than I planned -- can confront us as a consequence of unexpected circumstances. I’m always reminded that “life is what happens when we’re making other plans” as they experienced, too.
With her call these years later, the Service Provider friend and I talked for a very long time. We caught up on all the medical, and some of the more recent adjustments she and her husband were making – the move from their long time home here -- into a retirement community in another State -- at a living level most appropriate for them at this time. Assessments as to a living setting are determined in such organizational settings but may not be what we anticipated.
They are finally getting settled, unpacking, determining what items they might need. Discovering what other items they might have relinquished that they wished now they possessed, or weren't sure whether or not they might still have them. They also learned packing and shipping resulted in some items accidentally being missent to a different family member.
Cooking facilities are present in their living quarters, but they can also eat at various on site dining arrangements. Dressing less casually than we might for meal times at home can be more prevalent in certain facility group dining areas they noted. Exploring familiar and different interest groups, seeking new social contacts and making new friends attracts their attention now, having left behind all those from their lifetime here.
During our time together all those years we probably talked about many topics. We delved into some personal family issues in which we observed having similar experiences. She said she didn’t enjoy reading books and may have read only one in her life, quite my opposite in that regard, as I overflow with books.
After once saying she didn’t bother to vote, she did tell me, two national elections ago, that my encouragement had prompted her to vote. Prior to that she said she counted on her husband to apprise her of political particulars, but I don’t know if that view continued. I didn’t ask – she didn’t say – but I have a feeling her vote cancelled mine, given what I know about her views. On the other hand, who knows what may have transpired in the privacy of the voting booth, or on the mail-in ballot.
Even though our points of view didn’t always agree on numerous topics, especially select social and political issues, our language did not descend into vitriolic rejection, debase into demonizing and/or ragingly condemning each other’s views with disgusting name calling. Neither did we avoid each other, clinging to discussion with only like-minded people. Consequently, we were able to engage in freer civil discussion, proving that can occur if allowed and conducted in a reasonable manner. We also did not cease or inhibit either our business relationship or the developing of this particular type of friendship.
I also recall my service provider/friend once told me the story of a long time customer with whom she shared some common interests. They both belonged to individual, but different, social clubs that engaged in a popular sport, though they weren’t competitors. Given their shared interests her invitation to this customer to join her for one such of her club's events unsurprisingly was accepted. Later there was an opportunity for that invitation to be reciprocated at the customer's club, but it wasn’t. Instead, the customer casually mentioned to the service provider, “I make it a rule to never socialize with anyone I employ.”
Was it a social hierarchy situation prompting this attitude I privately wondered when she puzzled about it later? The customer also was always very demanding that her appointment schedule's time be rigidly followed. She would become angry, lecturing at even the slightest time infraction of only a very few minutes. I’ve since wondered if the customer had a specific unrevealed reason that might explain why she behaved in this manner.
The customer continued to use her services at that same business for several months after that event. Eventually, the customer did abruptly terminate the service -- a sudden phone call one night to the service provider, saying that “All business arrangements have a time that they must end and so this one has”, with no further explanation offered.
I did, coincidentally, encounter her customer, more of just an acquaintance of mine, at a grocery months later, but we exchanged only hurried greetings in passing. In the past we often had laughed with, joked and teased our shared service provider. Many months after that, the sixties-aged customer/woman’s obituary revealing cancer, appeared in our local newspaper. Perhaps her health situation at the time explains her earlier attitude.
Certain professions likely might best minimize personal friendships. Other services might be more adaptable to them. Customer’s and service provider’s personal relationship in any event can be complicated.
What are your thoughts or experiences about service providers as friends, socializing, or even discussing opposing views about social and political issues with them?