Isn’t the world just such a frustrating place sometimes? There are days when I end up rolling my eyes so often I start to feel seasick.
This is because I am basically amazed that no one can read my mind and just do what I want: be it the users on the end of the help line, colleagues around the office, the bus driver, the old lady in the queue, the teenagers standing in my way…you name it, I can get frustrated by it. And then eyes, and sometimes heads, will roll. If I could, I would turn the world into stone with my gaze. Is that why we roll our eyes; because otherwise we would be turning everyone around us to stone whenever they were irritating?
Other days though I am sweetness and light, and waft around the home or office bathed in a golden mist of goodwill and kindliness. I regret it’s not so often as the other me, the evil twin who keeps escaping from her attic and ruining my reputation.
Take an instance.
I once had to organise a presentation to the rest of my team and wanted to invite a colleague from another team to deliver the first part. I knew he often felt intimidated because the topic was regarded as boring or a waste of time (OK, it was risk management, so you can see his point) and people often gave him a difficult time about how busy they were and so on. So I drew up a session plan for the whole afternoon, and shared it with him to help him focus on what we needed. Then I spent a whole hour going through it with him (his presentation was only for 20 minutes). I explained about timings and what he needed to cover, and even helped him plan the detailed content. He told me how pleased he was because now he didn’t feel like everyone would shout at him.
Then he turned up, ignored the slides we had agreed together, ignored the content we had worked out, and spent 45 minutes talking about something else. Then he complained we were making his job difficult by complaining.
I could barely control my eyeballs. They were dancing a jig like the Devil was playing the fiddle. It would not have surprised me if at least one had leapt from my face screaming “Why God oh why!” and rattled across the floor to try and stare him to death, followed within moments by its desperate partner shrieking "I’m with you pal! All the way!". I could imagine them coordinating their attack in a vicious pincer movement, leaving him nowhere to turn without encountering their fiery, deadly, Gorgon gaze.
And yet he did not seem to know that he was causing such perturbation. How could he not read my thoughts? How could he not just understand?
It took me the rest of the session to get everyone back down from the ceiling and then I had to run the whole thing again. That time I didn’t invite an external speaker.