Uhhhhhhhhh I messed up.
So, like many people who know how to use a computer, we set up our monthly bills to withdraw from a credit card, and then we pay off the credit card bill every month, instead of making a bunch of smaller payments over the course of the month. NBD. Well last year, our credit card company royally screwed up. The longer story isn’t worth the time, but they jacked up our account number and our insurance company ended up dropping us. Do you know what happens when you have a lapse in insurance? Bad, bad, costly things. I could buy 1,200 burritos with the amount of money it cost us.
Said credit card company admitted fault, but it’s been an ongoing battle. No one likes email, so I have to send all of my paperwork over via certified mail, tons of red tape, hours on the phone, etc, etc.
I will preface the rest of the story by saying that I totally know how to keep my cool. In times of emergency, I’m the chill one. In public confrontations, I keep my voice steady and polite. I don’t fly off the handle. I think carefully before responding to an angry email. I’m a fantastic hugger.
We finally get to the end of this credit card battle, and I’m on the phone with the assistant to the executive of this credit card company. We’ve never met. We’ve talked on the phone several times, and I’ve politely expressed my frustrations in getting a resolution. She gave me a result that I found unacceptable. I told her so. She said something. I said something. She said something.
And that’s when I hulked out.
In the driver’s seat, parked in front of my daughter’s preschool, on the phone with a woman I’ve never met.
Like, ripping off my clothes, making pterodactyl noises into a phone and listening to the assistant to the executive make pterodactyl noises back at me. SHE WAS WRONG. I WAS RIGHT. I mean, I was really right. So right. Extra right, and personally I think it’s BS that they didn’t go “omgggg we’re so sorry, let’s get this fixed ASAP and not let this issue languish on our to-do list for nearly a year.” So I let her know that. I used words like “appalling” and “wildly irresponsible” and I was setting preschool front yard trees on fire with my retinas. Junk was crazy.
And the call ended, and I started driving, and then I said to myself…
“You did not pass that character test.”
I love my pastor’s wife. If you’re entrenched in church culture, you may picture a woman with a lot of Mary Kay makeup that wears pastel pantsuits, but she is this super chill, super smart, loving-for-real person, and I go to her often for life advice. Last year, I was lamenting to her about an instance where I felt I was treated unfairly, and someone had been unkind to me, and circumstances were such that I could not simply remove myself from that scenario. Her words were good. “You’re not responsible for how anyone else acts or what anyone else says. Don’t worry about justice and don’t get caught up in it. Think of it as a character test, and your only job is to pass it.”
This is how I try to live. When an unpleasant circumstance arises, I remind myself that I just need to pass the character test. It’s so helpful because I’m only responsible for one element of any rough situation – and that element is simply my reaction to it.
I called the assistant to the executive back. She answered. I identified myself. She sounded immediately displeased. HEY SO SORRY I WAS A DICK CAN YOU FORGIVE ME AND NO LONGER HAVE FEELINGS OF WANTING TO PUNCH A STRANGER IN THE FACE? except a million times nicer and cooler than that, and then she was like “Nooooo I’m sorry” and I was like “Nooooooo I’M sorry” and I had a little kumbaya sesh with this girl in North Dakota and I almost had tears in my eyes because 1) I feel emotions and I’m not always a robot and a good commercial can put me into the fetal position and 2) it’s amazing to see how many barriers fall after I am willing to accept the blame for my poor, poor, Hulky actions.
Burritos aren’t even that great, anyway. (LYING.)