Can I leave? Can I leave, really?

You should write your own version of the chameleon that is in all of us. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed at all, at how we change like chameleons, how we like certain people and then, not like them so much. It’s not our fault. It’s not their fault. Everything is transient, including our moods. Our values and principles should stay the same of course, but our everyday feelings and emotions are allowed to change. For a long time, I thought this wasn’t allowed ! I thought there was some kind of law that said I wasn’t allowed to change my mind, or change my opinion of someone or something, with good reason of course. I thought appropriate responsiveness to a situation was illegal, that I shouldn’t/couldn’t open a can of worms, or tell that person to remove his hand from my knee, or walk away from an aggressive or unreasonable person, or walk out of a restaurant that didn’t get to you within their accepted in-house time limit.

I don’t go to pubs much now, hardly ever, and I haven’t dined out for a good while, but now that summer’s here and eateries and pubs seem to be doing a bit more business than usual, it just made me think. Have you ever walked into a pub and not been served, even though you’ve felt the bar person’s eyes go over you every five seconds and he served people who got to the bar after you?  Of course you have. Have you ever walked into an empty pub and not been served within ten minutes because the barmaids are chatting in the corner and looking over occasionally giving you smug, self-satisfied smiles?

There’s nothing wrong in walking out of a cafe, pub, bar, restaurant that doesn’t serve you in a prompt and timely manner. I’ve sat in a restaurant for a good while with friends and we haven’t even been acknowledged, granted it was busy, but just a nod to say, I’ll be with you soon, is common courtesy and should be in-house policy. There’s nothing more beautiful than walking out of a pub, or a restaurant, when you’ve been ignored for a good while. I was afraid to do it for a very long time. I think a lot of people just put up and shut up, especially if you happen to be British. Lie back and think of England. It’s almost like there’s an invisible boundary stopping us from walking away. I must not go over that line ! I have to stay imprisoned!  Imprisoned by what?

Working in such establishments, is not an easy job, it’s hard work, but if a service isn’t provided within a reasonable amount of time, the customer has the right to call time. If a restaurant is being overwhelmed by too many customers and they can’t cope, then we are doing them a favour by walking away. They are a victim of their own success, and hopefully, at some point the business owner(s) will sit down in a board room somewhere and ruminate over this issue and provide more tables or staff, or whatever it is that’s needed, to accommodate more customers at their busier times.

When you’ve been ignored for longer than is acceptable, then just walk out, don’t stay with it and think things will get better. It very rarely does. I’m sure you’ll have plenty opportunity to try this soon and the best part, is this, to be aware of all the other people watching you walk out. ‘Oh, they’re walking out!’ they will say, looking at you with shocked faces. How shocking ! How anarchic! So Sex Pistols. So un-British, wait, God damn you, wait, I don’t care how long you have to wait, but wait!

You haven’t committed yourself in any way, shape or form, but it seems you were born to wait and be ignored at the same time, and suffer. Oh yes, suffer, while I torture you by not acknowledging you even exist. But this is simply not true. What will happen is, you will think ‘I’ve waited this long, I may as well wait a bit longer.’ Try not to fall into this trap. This will never help you, or work to your advantage. The more you think this, the longer you will wait. Once a precedent or a certain mood has been set, you’re on to a loser. It’s just a bad time at that establishment. Bad Time Establishment Blues. It’s not going to get better. So, do the sensible thing, move on and don’t think ‘but this is where it’s all happening!’ That’s just the desperation bell going off. Ignore the desperation bell. You are above that.

No, but seriously, don’t be afraid to walk out of anywhere, at any time. I’ve been learning appropriate responsiveness lately. If you are an assertive person, this will be old news for you. If not, then hold tight, you will discover true freedom this way.

Soon, you won’t just be doing it to faceless public establishments, you’ll be doing it to individuals who invade your personal boundaries or who cross the line with you. Practice makes perfect and the more you do it, the more comfortable it will feel.

 

 

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