Hmm…an interesting question. Do we ever stop and think about how we make others feel? Do we ever think about our words spoken, our actions taken to analyze how that could impact on someone’s feelings or how their experience felt with us? See I would like to believe that I leave people feeling happy, that’s what I like to give off, a bit of sunshine, a smile, a feeling of positivity, even when I feel like crap.
There is one place that I’ve frequented over the last couple of years that has left me feeling utterly miserable as I drive home, because of the experience I have received from my fellow human beings. This is a rant post and if I inadvertently stereotype a whole group of people, apologies in advance, but I feel I have earnt the right to be annoyed. This is also an example of how negative energy “hangs” in an environment, that if the “leader” or “manager” of an establishment is a negative badass, then the low vibes will ripple through to all the other people breathing in the dark forces.
Who is this group of people? They are a horse-riding club that my little girl likes to visit so she can groom the horses and have a ride on her favorite animal. In my opinion, the horse-riding world can be like a club, a club for the wealthy, country folk who grow up with naturally tanned faces and big old houses that are messier inside than outside (see I’m stereotyping, stop reading now if this offends you). I’m stereotyping them as much as they stereotype me. You see, from the moment your car pulls up in the stable car park you are already met with the invisible wall of wealth, the bubble that keeps you on the outside and the club on the inside.
On my first meeting with these people, it was for my daughters Pony Club morning during the summer school holidays. Alas, it appeared that I was the illiterate council estate mum that didn’t read the small print…..I forgot to pack a drink for her, my ignorant self just assuming that for the price of 2 hours riding, water may have been thrown in for free. I was quite formally informed during pick up time that in the school holidays, little children get thirsty. I was so grateful for this piece of parenting advice and was left feeling astonished that my child had managed to get to six years old without, in fact, me killing her.
On the second pony morning, we turned up and it was raining: hard. Again, the crap mum (i.e. moi) forgot to pack waterproofs! It was a rushed morning and to be fair it didn’t start to rain until halfway through our 30-minute journey there (I didn’t check the forecast: schoolboy error). When I asked if the children would ride inside today, due to the rain, I was duly informed that “horse riding is an outdoor sport”. Oh. My. God. I mean, they say you learn something every day but hell, this is like discovering the meaning of life. Horse riding is an outdoor sport? Who knew?
After these encounters, I promised myself that I would take my daughter to another stable, that hopefully not all horsey people are like this? Unfortunately, I broke my own promise and booked her into another session this summer, the one I have just returned from.
If I thought my first two encounters were bad, this morning’s experience had a cherry on top.
When we first arrived, after getting the attention of one of the younger girls (I am invisible there for some reason, perhaps if I remove all my make-up, rough the old hair up a little, polish my accent, trot around like I own the god damn place they might see me). I know we stand out. Little girls running around with proper riding hats and their little horsewhips, jodhpurs and body warmers…..whilst my little girl is wearing her snow boots that she also wears to ride on the back of her daddy’s motorbike (could you imagine if they KNEW?).
Finally, once they see me, once I speak up because let’s face it, no one is asking me if they can help me, the girl says “oh here you are, on the bottom of the list” that would have been just a factual statement if it wasn’t for her tone.
I drop off my daughter, go for a coffee and two hours later I am there to pick her up. As I watch her trotting around the paddock, she looks so happy that I decide to book her in for next week too, seeing as I am there, I might as well do it at the desk save doing it online……oh my god, if I had known what was waiting for me, I would have just grabbed her and ran for the hills.
If I had thought that the stable girl’s attitude was bad, God was waiting to present me with: the stable manager. I have met some pretty crabby humans in my time but this person, well she stole the crown in how not to make friends and influence people.
As I stood in the little office, again, trying to make eye contact with someone, it happened to be her that looked at me first, after five minutes. This is how it went:
Me: “Can I book my little girl in for next week’s pony day please, next Thursday” (always polite: always!).
Beastie: “sigh”. “Yes, I can do that” she turns and walks to the calendar. I’m wondering if I may have just offended her in some way that I am not aware of?
Beastie: “What date next week?”
Me: “It’s the Thursday”
Beastie: “I KNOW it’s Thursday, what’s the DATE?”. Oh my…..she has the calendar in front of her and she expects me to have some form of i-phone calendar system going on in my mind’s eye? As I mentally try to calculate the date in 7 days’ time, she manages to flip the page and says: “The 15thAugust”
Me: “No, it’s the 8thAugust”
Another exasperated sigh follows. I mean I have exasperated her already, and we only just got started on this exchange.
Beastie: “What’s her name?”
Pause, massive sigh, she shrugs her shoulders and says under her breath but oh so loud enough for me to hear “oh my god. How am I supposed to spell that?”.
Yes, in a heartbeat she just made me question my daughters entire existence with respect to her birth name, it’s like with all the names we leafed through before she was born was leading up to this moment, except that her name has always been received so well, no-one has ever sighed at her name. It was this comment that tipped the balance when it comes to nice Tanya. She was poking my demon god damn it. I really wanted to tell her to stick a ruler up her arse and storm out. But I didn’t.
Me, ever the professional, decided to spell out my daughter’s name, but with a tone of voice that actually scared me.
She knew. At that moment, she knew I was pissed off. So she relaxed her tone a little. For that bit anyway.
Next came payment. When she established that I would be paying by card and not cash, anyone would have thought that I just asked her to pay for the £28 two-hour lesson.
“You should try to pay me in cash whenever possible!” she said as she scribbled something with a pencil on an envelope.
“You see” she continued, grabbing at the card reader “I am a business, and when you pay by card I get merchant fees and I lose money!”.
No shit. Can you imagine if I told her I also run my own business and know all about this kind of stuff? That’s right – I can read and write too! Oh, the lark.
“Well, the fact you are paying by card means I didn’t even need to write this all down and use up and WASTE this pencil lead!” was the closing line. I swear that happened, this all happened. She accused me of wasting her pencil lead because she wrote something down and didn’t need to.
As I walked away from this woman I screamed at myself for giving her another penny of our hard-earned cash. Ariane was completely oblivious to this all. She was treated very well with her riding group. Quite the contrast to how I was treated.
I wondered if that stable manager had any idea how she just made me feel. How my lasting experience of our encounter would be. She probably thought nothing of it. She probably talks to everyone like this, that I am a soft “non-horsey” person who is over sensitive and needs to man up some. But was there any need?
On reflection, I know that any person that is that rude to others on first meeting them are painfully lonely inside. She must be going through hell if she thinks it’s ok to treat others like that, to have the BALLS to treat others like that, she must be in pain. It’s a life she chooses. And I choose this one. To make others feel good, to spread a little joy and make sure that it doesn’t matter how bad my day is going, that I am never going to join people like her down on the low vibes because that’s the thing. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what elite club you belong too, if you are a bad person, that energy never lies. You will be stuck down in your negative vibration until you rise up and start spreading a bit of sunshine.
Until next time,