Guest post: Free Advice, or You Get What You Pay For or Preaching to the Choir

Guest post: Free Advice, or You Get What You Pay For or Preaching to the Choir

Part of my job is to make appointment reminder phone calls.

Recently, I had a rough conversation with someone who couldn’t tell the difference between 3 disparate groups of people. (Oh, no. Here we go.)

Rough for me having to be polite and try to steer back to the point of my call — scheduling. “Conversation” is a generous term for the rest. (Brace for impact!)

More recently, someone harangued me about things beyond my control. (Buckle up; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.) There was a terse apology…kind of.

But, now, there are two individuals with whom I must have contact and with whom I no longer feel comfortable at all. These are individuals whose company I enjoyed, in the limited space where business and company meet. But in these instances, neither demonstrated any basic KINDNESS, not to me, not about the state of the world, not about anyone else out and about in the strangeness of the now. Neither considered that all this affects me too. Neither considered that I’m just trying to do my job. Neither considered that I might not be like them. I’m not. Really, very, very not. I used to think these were decent people, but now? I don’t know anymore. I’m not sure they are our KIND, if they can be so unkind.

I will disclose that these individuals are middle-aged males. I will also disclose that I am related to, friends with, volunteer with, and work for many males of varying ages (mostly middle-aged to mature as well as a few youngsters) who are considerate, concerned, careful, and KIND. These men in my life are pretty good at knowing when not to speak. Hemingway would be a good teacher here, too: say more with less; don’t be Dickens. Rorschach, attest! Rorschach is, after all, a Hemingway cat of few words and many toes. (Does she keep talking about the same cats? Hey, if the paw fits groom it!)

Subsequently, I’ve been thinking… (Pass the whisky! She’s on a roll, and it isn’t pork roll on a kaiser.) How have we gotten here? I’m an office manager. My job is to help with the business of my boss’s business. Listening is part of it, but not in the way of the bartender. I don’t get any tips, even if I do listen politely no matter what the speaker is speaking about. For those who know me, especially my boss, there is a basic understanding that interactions with me do involve friendly chatter (honestly, I’m too much for myself sometimes). But, I’d never bring up the forbidden topics of politics and religion. (What about money? It’s my job to go there…carefully and respectfully.)

So, why did these individuals think it was okay to go “there” with me? Why did they think it was okay to veer off the path of polite conversation? We aren’t friends (“friendly” is not the same thing). We aren’t family (relief!). And, now, they’ve damaged my relationships with them. Carrot would neither exhibit nor sanction such behavior. He’s welcoming of anyone with a lap and a high tolerance for sitting on the floor. (Can I get a witness? Who else has often-deadened legs?)

There is too much mindlessly mean chatter going around like a vi… (Oh, ugh…not going there. As if!) Comments can be a real problem online, and it seems to be seeping into the real world. Communicating the wrong thing is far worse than communicating nothing.

As such, Facebook and Twitter need to take a lesson from Cheela. One only needs just enough words to express the bare minimum to make one’s point (Feed me!). One does not need so very many words to exclaim and complain (Pet me, now! Not enough! More!). For Cheela, less is more, unless more comes in a paper boat or as heaps of attention, in which case more is definitely more and definitely much more better.

Some years ago, Twitter decided more words (characters, technically, but the real characters are at Tabby’s Place) would improve communication or make users happier (HA! Backfire! Anyone still reading comments? Aside from Tabby’s Place media. We’re a KIND community). I don’t think Facebook ever had a word or character limit (really, you should see the characters in my friends list. Also, my gushing has often gone beyond a reasonable limit, but I’m chattier than Cheela, they allow it, and I be nice).

I assert that social media chatter should be limited to pictures, emojis, and very short texts. If it can’t be expressed the way a kitty would say it, it probably is not worth saying at all. More filter. Anyway, social media isn’t really all that social (rather, “show me”) nor media (more, “look at me,” and “look at this”). So, online isn’t a great place for conversation. Instead, try the Tabby’s Place lobby and have a chat with Melsie…um…Melanie. She prefers only a few gentle strokes to the head at a time, but she’s a lovely listener. Melsie also very clearly communicates her limits. (You’ve been warned.)

If one has a lot to get off one’s chest, a blog is a better space than the comments of someone else’s post anyway. (And, I thank you kind readers for coming back to read my ramblings, such that they are. Hmm…ramble makes me think of brambles. Brambles are cool. So are bow ties. Bow ties are cool). As to comments, yours are always lovely. And, my friends, I know you will go far (as if you haven’t already) because a little KINDNESS goes very far. (Something about cats having sticky paws? No, no, it’s bees and honey. That’s not right. Flies? Fishing? Fly-fishing? Whatever.)

Reining myself back in (ooh, yay, a horsey reference is new!), look at the magic we have managed with P-Dubs! Peri-to-the-winkle is a kitty who can twinkle! Remember Tesseract and Hunts? For both, fearful, wary, and untouchable was turned into loving, cuddly, and adopted. All it took was time, coaxing, and KINDNESS (and maybe a few treats).

Simon and Shifty are true gentlemen. Miss Molly is as sweet as they come. Amy, I think I’m in love with you for a while maybe longer. All of them keep most of their thoughts on a need to know basis — they tell us only what we really need to know. Short and sweet. Mostly sweet.

Hope, well, okay maybe Hope isn’t the very best example, but she does keep her commentary to the point (A swat? Not cool, ma’am!). But, they all respond to as much KINDNESS as we heap on them, each in their own way. We respond to it too. That’s why we all love Tabby’s Place so much. It’s veritable swimming pool of KINDNESS.

KINDNESS is the path for avoiding struggle and strife. Anything less is just less, and the result can be serious conflict. My mom always taught me to fight fair: stick to the topic, be logical, don’t make it personal, be KIND. Winning at the expense of hurting someone is not winning. It just hurts…both parties.

Besides, who wants to fight? Instead, be like Tux. Purr your way through the day and see the good in every hand that scratches you. Chase lasers. Steal silver vine twigs from P‑Dubs. Be sweet. Be KIND. Above all, be the best cat you know how to be. Ya dig?

1 thought on “Guest post: Free Advice, or You Get What You Pay For or Preaching to the Choir

  1. Many of us have delivered messages that were not happily received, and have been responded to unfairly. These wonderful pictures of Tabby’s Place cats remind us that kindness is important in life – as you point out. Never hurts to be reminded that not everybody has a wonderful kitten in their life. They need to do something about that!

Leave a Reply