Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I parked in a parking space labeled “secretary” at my daughter’s preschool today. As soon as I got my child out of the car, I heard someone say that this was her space because she was the school secretary. I immediately turned around and apologized. The school secretary was in the street basically waiting for me to move. I told her that I just had to drop off my daughter. I asked would she mind if I did that. I do not remember her exact reply. But as I walked towards the school, I heard her say, “Really?” It was said in such a distasteful manner that I lost my respect for her. I lost my respect for her because I went to this school from Kindergarten through sixth grade. This woman was the sweetest teacher that all of the children liked including myself. So, am I wrong? Did she have the right to do this just because she was the “Secretary”? It would have been a serious parking violation if I would have parked in the handicapped parking. But I did not. It literally takes about 2 minutes or less to walk her in and go back to the car. I feel that she could have either been nicer or just waited.
Kind querent: Yeah, you were wrong. What you did qualifies as being entitled, which drives people crazy these days. Entitlement is a belief that you deserve something that belongs to someone else, or that you deserve special privileges. She was in her car, waiting for you to vacate her spot, and you went ahead and exited the car with your preschool daughter in tow.
When caught red-handed, you should’ve backed your car out and parked elsewhere. And no, you can’t justify it by claiming that it only takes two minutes to drop off your daughter. What was the secretary supposed to do during that time, let her engine idle? Naughty, naughty.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Why are some TSA employees so grouchy? I flew yesterday and after eating when my flight got in, I was going to ask the agent at the exit door where baggage claim was. After saying excuse me he said “Hi.” Twenty seconds of awkward silence go by while he’s still looking at the door letting people out and then I ask “Are you okay?” And he proceeds to say “Yes. Are you?” And I tell him “Well, you’re not looking at me,” to which he sighs and says “I need to be looking at the door when it’s open.” I had to leave after that as I had never met someone so offensive in my life and couldn’t get my bags til half hour later.
Kind querent: I feel your pain. It sounds like he was supposed to keep his eyes on the exiting passengers and didn’t want to stray from his task. I’d be peeved, too, if that happened to me, although I always try to sense (by observation or intuition) whether a certain person will be able to help me. I think your spidey senses led you to the wrong person. Here are some tips to avoid this sort of disaster:
- Don’t ask for help unless you really, really need it. Airports have signs for baggage claim.
- If you get the sense that someone’s busy or otherwise distracted, abort the mission and look for someone else to help.
- Be grateful every time an interaction like this goes right. Airports can be intimidating!
I was at the airport last month and I approached a water fountain to drink from. It had no knob or button with which to turn it on. There was a lady standing nearby wearing an airport uniform. She told me, “You have to wave your hand under it.”
But I was too braindead from traveling to understand what on earth she meant. So I waved my hand in the air like an exhausted magician, or something. She then got mad and started yelling at me. “NO! YOU HAVE TO MOVE YOUR HAND LIKE THIS.” Despite the fact that I was desperate for water, since they’d spent six hours on my last flight ignoring us (no food or drink), I abruptly turned and stormed away. And trust me, if I’d kept interacting with her, it would’ve gotten ugly. So the best thing I know to do in these situations is to walk smartly away in a way that clearly states, “I don’t appreciate your ineptitude, and I am so out of here.” Yeah.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: How can I attend the funeral of my great-aunt if she dies? I work for my father, and I also am OCD. Knowing my father, he will consider it part of my OCD and not want me to take the trip. He’ll do what he can to make it difficult, since if I go he would feel he had to. I feel it is important to attend the funeral for a loved one, but he will say “You’ve gone to all the past funerals. Missing one funeral won’t kill you.” He is not considerate of this type of thing at all, and he neglected his elders. I am very loyal as I don’t want to become my father or mother in that way, as it is their only weaknesses. So how do I recover in this scenario, and even more important how do I get him to let me go? Outside of work I can do as I wish since I am an adult living on my own but since I work for him this will be a conflict. I hate conflict as part of my OCD. If the funeral were local he would not object to me going, it is because of it being travel involved.
Kind querent: Okay. I’d phrase it thusly: “Dad, I know you can’t go because of the family business. So I think I should go in order to represent our branch of the family and pay our respects on your behalf.” This should:
- Make it seem as if you believe he wants to go, when of course he doesn’t,
- Make it seem as if you’re eager to represent the family in his stead, which he should appreciate, and
- Get him off the hook entirely for any travel he’d have to do.
But if he still won’t let you go, then I’d say to just accept it. If anyone in the family asks why you weren’t there, blame your dad. This would be fine, because it would indeed be his fault. That said, most employers won’t let you off for the funeral of a great-aunt. So if your dad does agree to let you go, please be appreciative and do the make-up work as soon as possible.