This will embarrass my wife, but it shouldn’t. My wife has unwavering confidence and courage of her convictions. She has the ability to be firm and confident on things that I’ve never had. Even when I know I’m right, I still second guess myself and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s called Catholic Guilt.
My wife is also Catholic. But without the guilt. Not sure how that happens.
My wife does all the grocery shopping for our family. She plans the meals. Makes the shopping lists. Creates a grocery and food budget. Clips coupons. Finds all the discounts. And every week she soldiers to the grocery store (always at the busiest most inconvenient time, which is another Blog entry) and makes sure we have food in the house for a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Going with her to the grocery store must be what it’s like to watch NFL game film with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Or maybe what a real-life Jason Bourne would look like if he was trained in grocery shopping instead of, ya know, killing and fighting and stuff.
Don’t believe me? Next time you bump into my wife, ask her what aisle and shelf something like, oh, tomato paste is on. Or where would you look to find jarred pimientos or taco seasoning packets? She’ll tell you exactly where those things are, and what shelf, and she’ll give you landmarks like, “it’s about 6 feet down from the cooking oils,” because that’s a can’t-miss grocery aisle landmark. Anyone can spot the cooking oils, but not seasoning packets.
My wife doesn’t just ask for sliced turkey at the deli. She asks for it sliced and tells the woman at the deli what setting she wants on the slicer. My wife can do the self-checkout and knows all the produce identification numbers by heart. Give me a cart full of produce and send me to the self check-out and I’ll see you in the year 2021 (with a basket full of spoiled fruits and vegetables).
She knows all the cashiers and baggers. They laugh and chat. My wife knows their kid’s names. One time I went along on the weekly grocery shopping trip with my wife and the cashiers all were like, “oh, so this is the husband,” and they all laughed together which told me, oh, my wife and the cashiers have inside jokes …about me!!!
What does this have to do with Batman? Batman knows right and wrong and what a crime-free city looks like. My wife knows how a grocery store should properly be run.
My wife’s deep, expert knowledge of our grocery store, which has been our grocery store for almost 20 years, means she also knows the good employees and the bad ones. Believe me. I hear about it. I know there’s a lazy, angry lady at the deli. I know there’s a cashier who’s completely useless.
And I know there’s a rude Customer Service Manager.
My wife hasn’t ever crossed paths with this particular Cstomer Service Manager, but she’s seen this manager treat customers rudely, treat employees rudely, talk loud, be crass, and generally just act obnoxious.
This past Sunday, my wife was doing the weekly shopping and needed something and her cashier said, “you could talk to the Customer Service Manager,” but my wife said, “no, thank you. I see how she treats people and I don’t feel like dealing with that.”
Well, this cashier tattled to the Customer Service Manager and, as impossible as it is to believe, and as an example of how crass she is, the customer service manager confronted my wife before she could get out of the store.
Oh. No. She. Di’n’t. Oh. You. Must. Be. Out. Yo’. Mind.
Customer Service Manager: “Excuse me. Did you tell my cashier that I’m rude?”
My Wife: “Yes. I did. Because you are.”
Customer Service Manager (annoyed): “Do I know you, ma’am?”
My Wife: “Well, you should. I’ve been coming here for years. I see how rudely you treat your employees and how you talk to other customers, and you’re not someone I want to deal with. And this, you confronting me, is a prime example.”
And my wife walked out. Because she was right. Didn’t want the fight. But when the fight came to her… She. Shut. It. Down.
I would’ve never told the cashier the why I didn’t want to talk to the Customer Service Manager, and if confronted, I almost certainly would’ve apologized for my rude comment. I want to make everyone happy all the time.
She knows what’s right. What’s wrong. And is supremely confident as she moves through the world. Batman is a superhero. So’s my wife.
My wife shared an article with me today about how men married to teachers are happier than men not married to teachers. I was going to make a joke or something, but the article missed the most important reason. Teachers have to control, motivate, and make 20 random children move together from one level of knowledge to another in 9 months, so there’s no room for making everyone happy or creating 20 different teaching plans. One plan. One goal. No room for apologies or concessions. Moms and Dads back down and coddle. Good teachers, like my wife, do not.
Have you ever tried to control 20 8-year-olds or 9-year-olds? Teachers, like my wife, can develop 20 one-on-one relationships, push and prod some kids in the way they need, and others in different ways, but miraculously at the end of the year, the star-student-teachers-pet has learned what the misbehaved-needs-extra-help kid learned and they all advance to the next grade.
Teachers have full days without breaks. Without the opportunity to quick run out to Starbucks to “clear their mind.” They are on-stage from punch-in to punch-out, and without confidence and courage of conviction, a teacher would be chewed up, spit out, and completely ineffective.
It takes a special person to be a teacher.
It takes a special person to be my wife.
It takes a special person to dress down a bully and a villain at a grocery store and be completely in the right.
I’m lucky to have one such special person in my life.