Personal Responsibility

December 12, 2002

Yesterday I ordered some roses for my wife's birthday. Her favorite rose is called "Sterling", which is the original lavender colored rose. They are rare and hard to come by these days, as there are other lavender color roses now.

The first shop made a huge deal out of the trouble it would be to get them and compounded their attitude by making a big deal out of where we lived and how much extra it would cost to deliver them. I canceled the order and hung up.

The second shop was much friendlier and helpful. They could get the Sterling roses, but they wouldn't be ready for delivery until Monday and I was hoping for Friday at the latest. The clerk talked me into a breed called "Strange" which has a marbled appearance, mixing white and lavender together. Following her suggestions we put together what sounded like a beautiful bouquet.

Overnight I was very excited and had trouble keeping the surprise to myself. This morning my excitement to myself when the flower shop called and said the Strange roses they had were of poor quality and wouldn't last more than a day or two. They wanted to switch to Blue Birds, another lavender breed.

I was upset and took my upset out on the clerk. After a few minutes I decided to call her back and apologize. My upset was due to work related events and not due to the flower situation at all. Once I made my apology, the clerk's tone brightened immediately and I was able to verify the rest of my arraignments with her.

By making a simple choice to stand up and take responsibility for my earlier action, by admitting that I had been wrong to take my upset out on her, I was able to brighten her day and mine as well. I felt much better about myself for owning what I had done. And now the flowers will be more pleasing to me as they won't represent my earlier anger.

Personal responsibility is easy to talk about and difficult to live. I didn't want to make the call this morning and admit my shortcomings to a stranger, but I knew I wouldn't be happy with myself until I righted my wrong.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.