Once, when I was 16 and an exchange student, me and a bunch of other girls had a sleep-over at a friend’s house. We stayed up all night and watched movies, ate lots of food and laughed a lot. Nancy from Mexico – just about the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in real life – farted really loudly in her sleep; and overtired as we were, we almost hurled, laughing. Woke her up, actually. We had a great time. The next morning, we had exiting plans and were in a hurry to leave. We left.

A couple of months later, due to a long chain of events, I couldn’t stay with my present host family and needed a home. My friend was eager for me to move in with her and her family; I went over to talk about my situation and the possibility of them hosting me for the remaining circa two months of my stay. My friend’s mother, who I knew as a very warm and generous woman, was reluctant to invite me into their home. I was puzzled (I knew she liked me!) and finally she told me, that she had noticed that after the sleep-over party, now months back, she had noticed and wondered at the fact, that I had left without making my bed. Basically, she was worried about the workload that might be in it for her, in taking me into their household.

I immediately recognized the rudeness of not being a good guest. The shame still stings a bit even writing this. But it was also a situation that made me almost leave my body in sheer philosophical pondering:

Carelessness, displayed in a wholly unserious situation, was now having very direct and serious impact on my present situation. Not making a bed might result in me having to – what? – miss graduation, leave the country two months early – the ramifications were surmountable.

We had good talk, I moved in with them and was a very, very good guest, I graduated and stayed the full year. But this particular experience stayed with me – even now, 20 years later.

It resurfaced some time ago, when I talked to an aunt, I don’t see very often. Last we had seen each other was at my wedding, some years back. Naturally, the subject of my wedding came up, and she said: “I was so impressed with the way you handled your shoe-situation!” At the reception, the heel of my beautiful, sparkling, perfect shoe had broken – while every one was starring at me during a toast. My dress was pretty long, so I just kicked off my shoes and for the rest of the evening wore some rather plain, flat sandals. (Like I (used to) say – with breasts like mine, no one ever looks at my shoes!) I didn’t even give it a second thought but in that situation – deservingly or not – I impressed her with my coolness. Not a Bridezilla in sight. So much so, at least, that she spent a good 5 minutes praising me for it years later.

Likewise, my friend once accompanied her boss, who had to give a big sales-presentation. All focus was on the boss, who did the talking and selling, she was really just there to aide him. She wasn’t there to sell herself – but a few days after the meeting, the guy they had had the meeting with called her up and offered her a job. He had been impressed with her quick wit and her professionalism.

Conclusion: Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad – the little things we don’t even know we’re doing leave an impression on others. Think about that next time you are late for a meeting and flip that asshole who took your parking space the bird. He might be the guy you’re meeting with!

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.