Just had an interesting exchange with a security guard in Port of Spain. I parked adjacent to this building, let into the lot by someone who was on their way out. Only after did I realize that people parking on this side would have remote controls for the gate. As I was leaving I walked over to the guard booth – and in my most apologetic voice explained to the guard that I didn’t realize that there was a general parking lot and that I had parked in the wrong place and if he could let me out. I smiled too because an old man in the office I visited had just asked me “yuh doh smile” so I decided that perhaps smiling might work in my favor.
Well the guard looked up at me from his food and sucked his teeth so loud that I physically moved back a pace or two. And then I meekly offered “Is this upsetting to you?” Not the best comment at this point in hindsight but the words were already out of my mouth when he said “Yes! Because I am eating!”
Now I have to confess that when I asked him whether my request was upsetting, I had already figured that his response might be of the polite variety saying something like “nah is small ting – doh worry about it.”
As I thanked him and drove off I thought about how often we ask questions and get back responses that we didn’t expect and then react to those responses based on what we assumed would be the response
Milton Jones who worked with me at WASA laboratory back in the day used to say “Is de change from de dollar does bring de row!”
I was taken aback at how truthful the guard was but then again why?
If we follow Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements we will learn never to make assumptions.
And I’ll add to that – only ask the question if you REALLY are ready for the answer.