Why are some people able to just say what they feel with as much ease as others turn on and off a faucet? Why are others of us plagued by pre-planning the conversation, attempting to identify every potential outcome and response to the outcome and then outcome to the response to the outcome … ?
There are times when all that pre-planning leads to an emotional Hulk-out. If you’ve never watched any movies with the Hulk or the old television show, you’ve missed out.
Needless to say, most of us don’t change like Bruce Banner, but maybe we do — on the inside. The swell of emotion, whether it’s anger, sadness, disgust, takes a deep breath and then …
We might explode or we might swallow it and go on with our day.
I find myself walking a trough in the floor, mentally Hulking out about different things. I plan for the contingencies of response to situations so when I have a conversation, it doesn’t feel so out-of-control. I can keep my eye rolling to a minimum.
My experience today wasn’t a full emotional Hulk-out, but there was potential for it.
For several years, I’ve hired in for yard work. I did it back when I was care-giving for Christopher as it was difficult to do the care-giving and all that at the same time. I kept it going after he died as well because I didn’t have a mower and simply didn’t want to do much of anything for a while. Today, the maintenance person came by; we’d had limited communication for a while and I owed him a chunk of change.
It’s easy to not be responsible sometimes when we aren’t being held to responsibility. Real talk.
So after reconnecting (at my behest because the yard looked like a nightmare, I prepared to get him paid — a chunk (I had hoped last week) and the remainder by the end of month. Since he didn’t really respond and then when he did indicated he couldn’t come until this week, I decided to suck it up, pay in full, and end our business connection. When we did talk, he shared that the person he’d hired needs a full day’s work (which I know was a nice way of saying, Look lady — I can’t be waiting on your money; I need clients who pay on time, all the time) and so on. I mentioned that he hadn’t replied to my email with what I had as the amount owed and he said he hadn’t received a couple of payments.
I had his full amount due in cash, along with a copy of an Excel spreadsheet for him, showing what was owed, when, and payments that had been made in between. I had attached to it copies of bank ID numbers, showing the payments had been deposited (he used an online payment system).
When he arrived, he had a sheet (handwritten), suggesting that I owed more than, according to math, I owed. We talked through it and I handed him the envelope, asking him to count it. I watched and it seemed he’d miscounted. I asked him to check it and sure enough, ‘the bills had stuck together’ (can you feel my eyes rolling?). When he’d counted it (correctly), I had him sign a copy of the spreadsheet (for me — I gave him a copy as well), indicating he’d received the cash and that there was now a zero balance. He then asked me if I wanted to continue receiving services from his company. I said that we’d make this the last service today, if he was able to stay and do it, and then that would be it.
What was most interesting was when he said he had been coming to do the service but hadn’t seen me, that he didn’t know if I was around. He then said he’d seen my partner. He’d never said anything to him either about payment.
Was I late? Yes. I own that. But I don’t know any business person who doesn’t call, say, after the second time of not seeing someone or getting paid who doesn’t leave a note, text, or call.
It was like a double-whammy: it was like he was saying I hadn’t been available, I hadn’t paid up, I hadn’t been around, so he just stopped coming; it must be my bank because he didn’t get the same figures I did.
I probably had a small emotional Hulk-out though, if I were to be honest. I calmly walked through the numbers on the spreadsheet; he asked if I wanted his handwritten copy. I answered that unless he felt he needed my involvement with the bank about the fact that he felt he hadn’t received payment, sure. He said he was good and that was that. He and his employee took care of the yard for the last time and, without so much as a hat-nod, pulled away after they were done.
I feel like a tree that’s been pruned. I’ve been binge-watching ‘Six Feet Under’ and on one episode, the mom talks about wounds on a tree … she says something about when the limbs are cut off, it leaves wounds that can lead to rot inside the trunk. I think if as people, we aren’t pruned sometimes, we experience rot inside the trunk: not cutting off the detritus leads to (nasty, unnecessary, emotional, psychological, spiritual) build-up that will cause frequent emotional Hulk-outs.
I would have liked a different outcome, even though this one was not bad, per se. Nonetheless, I am glad for the pruning because instead of rotting, I expect to grow. I like being in my yard; it is therapeutic to water and trim and so on. The cost of equipment is less than two months of paid services to someone else. Not only does it help the budget, it helps my psyche — to be outside, early in the day before the rest of the world wakes, is growth space for me.
And now you know.