Customer Service 3/29/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Laying in bed at 2 AM, I find myself unable to sleep. My mind keeps going around about a very minor incident that happened today. I’m writing this to post some questions to you, my readers, and to hopefully free it from my mind. Here is the background.

In this state, there is a lot of paperwork and red tape to buy handguns. I don’t necessarily want to buy a lot of handguns, but there is one in particular I am in the market for. The truth is that I want to own it “ironically”, just because it makes me laugh when I see it. I used to own one, but with my living situation, I couldn’t secure it safely and responsibly, so I sold it. Now I want to replace it, also ironically since you can’t find many handguns anymore.

This red tape is significantly reduced (mostly eliminated) if you have a concealed handgun permit (CHP), but to get this permit requires (as I believe it should) classroom training. So, I opted to sign up for a class, and I took it today. During one portion of this class, a representative from an insurance agency specializing in CHP. He made some eye-opening statements (some of which I posted yesterday if this goes as anticipated) and it became clear to me that, yes, I probably should get this insurance. Not because I intend to carry a weapon (open or concealed), but because things happen. If I get pulled over and have the handgun in my car as I’m going to or from the shooting-range, I’m covered. And if I have to use my handgun to defend my home, I’m also covered. Yes, even in my own home, if I use my gun to defend myself, I will be arrested (maybe charged but not necessarily) and my handgun will be confiscated. This insurance provides attorney’s fees, expert witness fees and even bail money in these circumstances, and it’s very inexpensive. So, sure, I’ll get it.

After speaking for about an hour, and after I had been drinking far too much water, I found myself in one of those meeting nightmares where the speaker keeps droning on and circling the same topic, spurred on by others in the meeting who kept asking questions for which I could already guess his response, while fighting a full bladder. Of course, he had application forms, and as he was repeating some of his material, I decided just to fill it out. Then he did something odd.

Instead of collecting all of the forms at once, he went to one person, on the opposite side of the room, and took her application. Taking it back to the front of the desk, with others (like me) waiting, he began working on the application which, frankly, took longer than I would have expected. And here I am, wanting to go to the bathroom with no idea how many other people wanted to get the insurance, and without knowing if he would wait around. Then a ray of hope.

One of my classmates took his application up to the desk where he was working and set it down. The speaker didn’t say anything, didn’t ask him to wait, so I figured that was okay. I then took my form up and set it down, and somebody followed suit after me. With three applications, and the time it was taking for him to do whatever he was doing, I clearly had time to duck out to the men’s room.

After filling out the paperwork, he then would hand to each individual a “welcome packet” of sorts. Apparently, he filled out mine as I was out of the room. When I came back, he was still working on these applications, one at a time, and handing out the packets. Finally, he said, “was there anybody else?” Well, yes, I raised my hand and said he should already have my application, and I was a little bit worried because on the form was my credit card information. I wasn’t a particularly happy camper. He looked around for a bit on the desk and found my welcome packet and walked over to hand it to me. Walking back, he muttered something under his breath to the effect of “this is what happens when people don’t wait.”

Okay, seriously? First, I was not the first to put my application on his table, and second, I was not going to sit there and wet myself. I then did that passive-aggressive thing where, after he muttered his complaint, I muttered “yeah, but I had to pee.” No more was said between us, and I do regret stooping to the level he was at. But here’s the odd thing.

Tonight, I am losing sleep over it. My mind is going (and I’m writing this) because I feel guilty. My mind is clearly working on this, but I’ve come to several conclusions. First, I didn’t instigate bringing the application forms to the front. Second, as the instructor, he didn’t take control of the situation and ask us to wait without bringing the forms up. And most importantly, I am the client.

This last part matters. As an instructor, students complained about me, and the administration dismissed me without so much as hearing my side. The administrative philosophy was that the students were the clients (a terrible way to think of students in my opinion) and therefore were always right. Here, I was the client, and I’m feeling guilty. So why am I so bothered by this? Unlike my students, no, I don’t intend to report this to his superiors (that’s just a jerk move for such a minor infraction), but on the flip side, why am I letting this bother me?

When I was in therapy around thirty years ago, my therapist pointed out that I am too nice and take on too many responsibilities to my own shoulders. I protect people, even in situations where I have the right to complain either because it was me who was slighted, or because I am the client. She even suggested I give being that complainer a try, which, frankly, didn’t fit me well. But shouldn’t I be able to let this go?

Okay, I’m going to try meditation now that it’s half an hour and my venting doesn’t seem to be helping. If anybody has any suggestions, I would love to hear them, but let me end with that classic parent and teacher thing of saying “do as I say, not as I do.” Learn to stand up for yourself, but more importantly, learn to let it go once it’s over. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s sleeping soundly tonight, while I lay here dwelling. This is, no doubt, a major contributor to my depression.

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