I Sent Back A Steak
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m going to give you a little background information. In addition to being brought up in a household that was concerned with ‘never being a bother’ to anyone, I also spent over a decade of my life working in bars and restaurants. As a waitress and a bartender, I was often annoyed by customer’s requests that I deemed extreme. I would have a different attitude today but hey, I started in restaurants at 14 and had a bit of an attitude problem.
Continuing right along…
This lesson that I got from home of ‘not bothering anyone’ also taught me to expect people to not bother me. But bother me they did. I was constantly annoyed, for years, by people who would dare to ask for things that I would never request of anyone. How DARE they?!? As the years passed, I chilled out quite a bit and had a two part realization:
One: Most people that ask for things simply know what they want and if you can provide it, then great. Simple.
Two: I am annoyed at them not because of their request but because I am afraid to make that same kind of request in my life. I just, ya know, don’t wanna bother anybody.. and then I walk around disappointed because I didn’t get what I wanted.
So. As I write this post, I am sitting in a spa in Poland. I travel here twice a year to work with patients that I have had since my days in Warsaw. I stay at the same place each time for a minimum of 10 days. The staff knows me well. I tip everyone at the end of my stay (the waitress in me feels so satisfied by this). I don’t ask for much and I’m so appreciative. They do a lot to make me comfortable here and I make sure they know how grateful I am.
Two nights ago, I was ordering a steak. I rarely order steaks, especially in Poland because they tend to believe that medium well to well is the proper way to serve and steak and… gross. When I am actually going to eat a steak, medium rare is the way I go.
I told the waitress specifically as I ordered that I wanted medium rare and if the kitchen is having doubts to make it more rare than medium. I definitely didn’t want an overcooked steak. Just this simple request cost me a lot. Being clear about my desires was difficult. Normally I would say medium rare and then leave it at that. But… I decided to go for it. I really wanted this steak to taste right.
The steak came out. I touched it with my finger. I didn’t even need to cut into it, I knew it was almost well done. The waitress had waited by my table and looked at me and I had to make a decision. Was I going to actually send back food? I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my life. Ya know, trying not to bother anyone and get my veggies spit in. But I did it. I sent it back. I apologized for causing trouble and the waitresses’ answered:
“It’s not your fault, the kitchen should have done it right the first time!”
I breathed a sigh of relief and waited for my next steak.
While I sat and waited I thought about this whole exchange. The difficulty I experience in asking people for the things that I want is so strong it almost chokes me. I’ve become that woman who doesn’t have an opinion about what movie to see or what restaurant to go to. I’ve forgotten some of the things that I love to do, taste, feel and speak because I am trying to not bother or offend anyone. Now, I am not about to become someone who barges around screaming like a banshee (I love the word banshee) about what she wants.
Am I alone in this? Do you have trouble asking for what you really want?
Are you aware of your true desires or have your desires been taken over by your partners, children, co-workers, etc.?
Please tell me I’m not crazy.