By Dan Irvin
My son and I went out to breakfast on Sunday. I almost never go out to breakfast any more, and you know in advance that on a Sunday it’s going to be busy and you’re going to have to wait for a table.
We noticed that a lot of people were waiting and we gave our name to somebody…got on the list. “Could be 40 minutes,” she said.
Now, the social convention is that they tell you 40 minutes, but that usually means 15 to 25 minutes. So we thought that was cool. No problem. I could really only see about half a dozen parties ahead of us.
I know you’ve been there. Every time the hostess comes up to read another name and seat somebody you think this has to be us. This went on for twenty, thirty, forty minutes. Did we get missed? These people being seated came in after us I’m sure.
Finally I said something and she said “I called you a LONG time ago.” Well of course she didn’t. We sat down. I fumed. My son said, “Don’t let it ruin your breakfast.”
Here’s the point: I wish we weren’t so critical all the time.
Neither the restaurant nor the hostess had it in for me personally. It’s just one of those things. Maybe I would have handled it differently. But I’m trying not to criticize.
Running a business is hard; running a government, a school, a newspaper, a radio station; heck running anything in an economically challenging time is really hard. People tasked with decision-making are almost always doing the best they can in their situation.
We seem to criticize everybody else, long, loudly and in public forums. And we make it really, really ugly. But often we’re just reacting to some personal harm, like I would be if I pointed a finger of judgement at the restaurant. And we probably don’t know the full and complete background of every decision that somebody else makes or action they take; and finally, whether it’s Chaucer’s glass houses or Jesus in John 8:7, we’re advised that unless we’re perfect, we should keep our stones to ourselves.
Dan Irvin is Vice-President of the Bloomington Public Library Foundation Board, and a member of the Heartland Community College Foundation Board.
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