I believe that the best way to do business in the world is politely. There is no reason to have an unpleasant interaction with someone who pours you coffee or stands next to you on a crowded train. Not karma, exactly, but some sort of good-feeling cycle. Once, following this philosophy, I got bumped up to first class for being the only person in a crowd of people not getting mad about flight delays. So it has that going for it.
Recently, though, I’ve started to ask some annoying questions, and it has been getting me places. Last week, on what has become sort of a regular midweek date, I found a ridiculous coat I really loved, marked down from $88 to $50. Still, I don’t generally like to pay that much for anything, especially for something ridiculous. Just a policy. Plus, all the other coats on the rack were marked down to $10, which I felt was so reasonable as to feel angry at the possibility of being charged $50 for the coat I liked. So, I asked the cashier if it was marked wrong. I acknowledged that it was an annoying question to ask, and I apologized for that, but in the end Howard bought it for me for $10. Asking annoying questions is like knowing about the secret menu at In n Out (before it was on the internet and everyone knew about it); exclusive, and delicious.
However, I think this new behavior might be leading me down a dark path. I recently found myself in an extremely frustrating situation in terms of a scholarship application (see mar. 11th entry). I knew, even as I wrote a myriad of emails to various people with more power than myself who had little chance of investment in my situation, that it was annoying and I shouldn’t be doing it; that there was one person out there handling thousands of scholarship materials who didn’t have time to feel bad or change policies for me, and I was probably really pissing her off. Also I generally don’t believe in bending the rules for someone who I perceive as having screwed up because what kind of message does that send? But I did it. I kept going. I was so sure. But ultimately, my application will remain unconsidered because of bad timing (mostly on their part, but probably a little on mine, and definitely on my coworker’s), and I feel pretty bad about how annoying I was to her.
But the truth is, I did it, and I’m cool with it. Is this what it’s like to grow up? Am I becoming Peter Panning, losing touch not only with my childish sense of adventure but also my teenage self who remembers the trials and tribulations of working in the service industry? It’s pretty much my biggest nightmare to become Peter Panning, actually. What is the solution here? Is it maybe to get a dog, and name him Rufio?