Everything we do is a choice.
From the moment we wake up in the morning, until the time we come to the day’s end, we choose everything we do and the way we react to every situation.
Obviously, in some situations, it is easier to control our actions more than in others, but they are all still the choices we make.
One morning while travelling for business, I was enjoying a lovely breakfast at a hotel restaurant – no, not a substandard, run-of-the-mill, free motel-type breakfast buffet of cold cereals and toast. This was a dining room setting in a restaurant at a historic mansion transformed into a heritage house hotel; a very pleasing atmosphere. Included with your stay each morning you were treated to a choice of 3 breakfast entrées in their restaurant. I chose the “classic” breakfast of eggs (prepared any way you like), hash browns, sausages or bacon, and toast with an array of preserves to choose from. As I was alternating between tastes of my breakfast with sips of coffee and glances at the morning newspaper, an older couple were seated at the table next to me. They seemed cheerful enough as they exchanged morning pleasantries with each other. After being seated by the hostess, their server came to take their orders.
“I’ll have the classic breakfast” the woman said.
“How would you like your eggs done?” asked the server.
“I don’t want any eggs!” she sharply replied. This caught my attention. The pleasurable ambiance bubble had popped. She was very stern with her reply.
“Oh, okay”, he responded, “sausages or bacon?” and he continued with taking her order before proceeding with doing the same for her partner.
I thought to myself: What had just happened there? She seemed amiable enough prior to that, and the conversation with her partner afterwards seemed very cordial. Was she having a bad morning? It didn’t seem like she was otherwise.
As I continued with my breakfast I couldn’t stop thinking about how abrupt and coarse she responded to the server. The exchanges between her and the server afterwards were acceptable: nothing overly friendly, but not rude either.
Maybe I’m overreacting? I replayed the incident in my mind. No, not at all – her demeanor was very abrupt and almost demanding in that exchange. Maybe she didn’t realize? We all have those moments I guess, when we react to a situation and then in hindsight, we realize the error of our ways. If she was feeling any regret however, there was no inkling of it to anyone else. Maybe she was embarrassed with her response and just wanted to forget about it.
I’m sorry if I am being oversensitive about this… I mean, it was just one sentence… just one brief interaction that didn’t even involve me. Maybe I am overanalyzing this?
Just like we have the free will to make choices in what we do and how we act, we can also choose to learn and grow. The interaction I witnessed, and this corresponding column entry, is not meant to be judgmental. It’s not meant to single out and prosecute anyone. I am merely using this as a reminder to myself to be aware of my disposition when interacting with others, and if this seems of value, then I am offering it to you as well. We are all on this journey together. I believe that we should travel through these lifetimes with our eyes wide open; not only embracing the encounters we have with others, but also making sure that we seize any opportunity we can to lead a full and selfless life. Only good can come from making someone smile… there is no harm to us for doing so… it doesn’t cost us anything of monetary value… and it will only spread love and joy.
We all make mistakes. I know I have made my share of them. Sometimes I get carried away with the way I act and at the moment it is hard for me to see how my actions are perhaps affecting someone else. But it is in our awareness of these blunders that we can overcome and help to reverse any negativity we may have unintentionally created in the first place. Apologies and kindness are worth their weight in gold.
Everything happens for a reason. I am a sensitive guy, and my emotions and my internal analytical processes of my ways of thinking get the best of me sometimes; I get that. However, there is an opportunity to learn and grow in every situation, and I try my best to do that. I hope that the server did not let this affect him in a negative way, and I hope that woman went on to have a wonderful day. I also hope that my awareness of little inconspicuous things in the future continues to allow me to generate positive observations and outcomes.
Do me a favour: make someone smile today… heck, make 10 people smile today! What have you got to lose? In the meantime, Happy Living, and of course Happy Cooking!
Chef Dez is a Chef, Writer, & Host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com