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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crankiness . . .

I had occasion to talk to a good friend of mine this morning. He owns a
travel agency. I had mentioned that a week or so ago one of his
employees was rather short and abrupt with me . . . to the point of
being rude. He responded that he was glad I'd mentioned it, that he'd
talk to her . . . but that he understood one of the reasons she
sometimes reacted strangely.

Seems about a year ago her husband had unsuccessfully attempted suicide by shooting himself. He failed, but sustained brain damage that left him with the mental capacity of an 8 year old. Later, it was learned
that the reason for the attempted suicide was that he had apparently
embezzled $3 million from his company and lost it all.

One begins to understand how his wife might react to pressure and
sometimes be less than diplomatic in her exchanges with client and/or
friends of the business, given the severe pressures she must have been,
and continues to be, under.

This brought back a memory of mine, where I had frequented the Escondido Library on a number of occasions and noticed an unusually tart and bitter older lady who worked on the desk there. Never a kind word, never so much as a smile . . . even though, on several occasions, I
sought to cheer her up by bantering with her. To no avail. About a
year after my last encounter with her I noted in the paper that she had
died. . and learned that she had been suffering from cancer for a number
of years. Apparently this gal was in constant physical pain, as well as
the emotional pain of knowing she was terminal. She probably ought not
to have been working. . .at least not in a job that involved people
contact. But, my suspicion is she had no choice. Financially, she
probably had to work. I found myself being a bit ashamed of myself for
having judged her to quicky and too harshly, not knowing the reason for
her crankiness.

I'm seldom cranky. Usually a bright, bubbly lad, always cracking a
joke. Still, I'm capable of being moody and have been rude, on
occasion, to my later embarrassment and shame. When I have been rude, it's usually for similar reasons. Some major crisis has occurred in my life . . . and I'm uncomfortable with it. That also can make me be a
bit short and abrupt. Fortunately, that seldom occurs. Normally, I'm
just good ol' loveable Lyle. But, there are exceptions.

Those of us who make up the human race can be funny folk, can't we?

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