We had a small luncheon event in one of the labs at work and I was helping my colleague who organized it. The tables were delivered dirty. I was wiping them down with the cheap hand-drying paper towels at the lab sink. They disintegrated as I used them, and time was running short. My colleague was on the phone giving navigation instructions to the food delivery guy who hadn’t believed her specifics and had gotten lost in a tangle of GPS belief systems.
She was keeping cool so nicely. Time was running shorter and I kept being astonished as the paper towels degraded to grainy bits from the friction against the table tops, and I was announcing my frustrations as they grew.
My colleague turned toward me and let out a sharp “Jean!“ It was a good wakeup from my trance of negativity. Her experience was no picnic either. She apologized but I thanked her and apologized. “You were keeping your cool so nicely and I forgot you might be running out of patience!”
I let the paper towel crumbles dry and wiped them off like sand. The restaurant kid showed up with the food, the guests arrived, the people enjoyed their lunch. Nobody mentioned the tabletops, and I was kindly reminded that defeatism is a drag on others, too.