I’m a sucker for a new appliance and a fresh clothes dryer was coming through the laundry door – I was tickled pink.
We had just moved into our home in Phoenix when the old clothes dryer quit. I was glad that it had – the former owners had left behind a beat-up, noisy machine that took forever to dry clothes. I was thrilled to replace it with a shiny Speed Queen — the crème de la crème of dryers. They’re made in the USA, come with a superb warranty, have stainless steel rather than plastic parts, and are built to last.
The delivery guys, a young dude who was friendly and easy, and another, a much older dude who was taciturn and not easy, maneuvered the machine into the laundry room. About an hour later they called me in to approve the installation.
When the young dude switched the dryer on, it screeched, like the steel drum was rasping against metal. The sound set my teeth on edge.
“What’s that?” I said, aghast. The older dude said, “The drum probably got jostled during transport. The noise should go away after you dry a few loads.”
“Probably” and “should” didn’t cut it for an appliance that had cost over $1000. I told them I wouldn’t accept it. The dudes exchanged exasperated looks.
“Look, lady,” said the older dude, in a graveled voice, as he rolled his eyes, “after coming across the ocean on a boat and being carted somewhere on a truck, even a damn Bentley would probably squeak.”
His wiry, grey hair was frazzled like a used brillo pad. The wrinkles around his mouth puckered in sarcasm revealing yellowed teeth. His eyes spit bullets. The younger dude, buffered between us, stood frozen like a deer in headlights.
The laundry room, cramped because the dryer was pulled away from the wall, felt even smaller. The hot afternoon sun beat through a high window, adding pepper to the boiling stew of feeling in the room. A strand of white floss snaked across the tile floor.
I hadn’t slept well the night before and the older dude’s hostility rubbed me the wrong way. “I doubt someone who paid $350,000 for a Bentley would put up with that screeching,” I thought. My eyes burned, and my nostrils flared.
“Get out of my house!” I said in uncontrolled fury. “Leave now! I’ll call the store and deal with this.”
A Second Chance
The men were silent and grim as I stomped behind them through the kitchen, into the foyer and out the front door. I slammed the door and stormed into my office.
As I reached for the phone, I saw the Second Chance, a book written by my spiritual mentor, Sydney Banks. I paused, my hand in mid-air.
To let my outrage settle, I sat still and left my thinking alone. The hellacious squall of my upset thoughts started to pass. With each tick of the clock, my chagrin grew that I had gone for the jugular and mistreated the appliance guy.
When I reached the service manager, I explained what had happened. “Your installer didn’t handle the situation well, but I’m mortified that I kicked him out of the house. I lost my mind for a moment. Could I speak to him to apologize?”
The line was quiet. “Are you still there?” I said, after a minute. “Lady, I’ve been workin’ this job for nearly twenty years,” he said, “a customer has never called to apologize for bitchin’ out one of our service guys.”
He told me that the older dude was retiring and had been emotional that morning about his final workday with the company after 30 years of employment. The manager said the older dude was a good man who took pride in his work; complaints about him were rare. “He’ll appreciate your apology,” he said.
I’d had to eat humble pie to make that call but the glow it left was so worthwhile. I felt like a new copper penny – warm, shiny, and free of tarnish.
Syd Banks had showed me that tough thoughts shift quickly if we leave them be. Fresh ones come, including some that inevitably trend in a positive direction. That’s the way our thought system works. In a quieter mind, wisdom and love pop up.
Syd taught me that such storms were human, as natural as breathing. I savored my gratitude and pleasure that I knew to wait for sweeter thinking. That had given me a second chance. Maybe next time, I’d remember that sooner. When we allow our humanity, but also look to the divine spark of love that we are, we find the stuff of the soul, humility and forgiveness.
Some might say the older dude got what he had coming to him. The only thing that mattered is that I’d done the next right thing by offering an olive branch.
In the end the older dude was right. After two loads of laundry, the dryer purred as soft as a kitten.
Copyright 2020: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
Photo: courtesy of iStock
Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit, a priestess-at-heart and retired counseling psychologist, can be found at www.thedrspettit.com. Linda loves putting her intuitive nature, spiritual understanding and nearly 40 years of clinical experience in service to others. She is available for on-line consultations. For information about fees and packages, visit BOOK NOW. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.