Hubs and I returned yesterday from a car ride consisting of fourteen hours trapped together over the span of two days. Needless to say, we had plenty of time to talk. It’s always interesting to get details from his day that I may have missed before (or the ones conveniently left out.) Here is a story he recounted:
Hubs went to Dairy Queen the other day for lunch. On his way out of the restaurant, he saw a young twenty something primping her hair before getting out of her small sedan. With her upturned nose and a pushed out chest leading the way, she was pretty darn confident in her awesomeness. As she walked to the door, there was no inclination she even knew Hubs existed in her universe. With uninterested eyes and a sneered look of annoyance, she whipped past him through the door without a second thought about the fact he was holding it open. When there was no “thank you” or smile acknowledging his good deed, Hubs turned around to bring her back down a couple pegs. He barked, “You’re welcome!”
Now at this point of the story, I’m with him. Who the hell did she think she was? Was she implying she was too good to even notice the nice gentleman around her? Or was she worried if she gave a smile or a nod, he would take that as interest and start in on pick up lines? Sure he’s a thirty-something dude who is almost old enough to be her dad, but doesn’t he deserve some respect? Anyways, at this point of the story, I’m ready to go back to DQ to give her a couple choice words about how she’d be lucky if he groped her ass.
But then Hubs continued where he left off:
As if awakened from a trance, the young girl turns around and bats long eyelashes over her wide eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. Thank you for holding the door. I’m really sorry.” Hubs’ heart melts a little and he believes her apology to be sincere. He lets the door fall behind him to close and walks over to his motorcycle. He hesitates before putting on his helmet and realizes he may have taken it too far and crossed the line of jerk to prove a point. To right the wrong, he mounts the helmet back on the bike and heads back inside to apologize.
With no one manning the counter, Hubs leans over to try to find the young worker in the kitchen area. When he finally sees her, she’s surrounded by co-workers. One is rubbing her arm while another wraps her arms for a reassuring hug. The young girl speaks to her two friends with her head tilted down. It only takes a moment before she breaks down in tears. Unable to get their attention to apologize, Hubs walks out without saying a word.
So, who is in the wrong? Who is the one you have sympathy for when it’s all said and done? Was Hubs pointing out her rudeness the final straw that broke the camel’s back on her awful day? Or did she really think she was better than him and only acknowledged he wasn’t when confronted?
Stories are always about the teller. There is a point of view which defines how the reader will see the events. The narrator’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs are engrained in the recounting of the details. In this story, we see it from Hubs’ POV. It begins with his insistence on sticking it to a girl who thinks she’s better than him, but ends with someone who could’ve made a situation worse by not giving someone a break when they needed it.
It’s hard to tell the reality of the situation because you have to trust the narrator to give you an accurate picture. The problem with doing it whole-heartedly is knowing when they aren’t reliable. It comes down to the skill of the author to give you the message they want you to know. It could be true or it could be false. But that’s the beauty of stories.