Perspective

This blog post isn't about acupuncture, or health. It's about something that happened at my second job last week, and it hasn't left my mind since. Sometimes we all need a reminder about getting some perspective in life, and last week I got mine. As many of you know, I work part-time at a restaurant to supplement my school-loan fund. I have worked in the restaurant industry since I was 19, and I have been employed at all types of establishments. I did my time at horrible corporate chains, then moved up to casual bar/restaurants, and then to more upscale eateries with higher check averages, and crumbers. For the past three years I've settled into a place that's a great fit for me, and I have to say I really like the clientele...for the most part. Obviously, there will always be a few difficult people to balance things out, but mostly I really enjoy the crowd.

I'm a bit of a foodie, I suppose..but I hate saying that, because of the stigma attached to the term. I love food, and I love really good food, but that is where it ends. I'm not a food snob. I don't spend time explaining to my waitress that I love bolognese sauce because I ate it in every city in Italy. I don't drill the restaurant staff on the former diet of the chicken I am eating, who caught my fish and if he received a fair wage for his work, or on what farm every freaking vegetable on my plate came from. Why is that? Because I'm not an obnoxious, know-it-all twit. Sad to say, that's how most of these so-called "foodies" come across. But I digress...

Last week, one of my coworkers was blessed by the presence of one of these "foodies" in her section. During the hour she spent describing everything on the menu, where it came from, what type of parents it had, and so on, there was one question she couldn't answer. That was all it took to get our foodie going. He demanded a dissertation on the cow that was providing his steak before he would order. He wasn't content until the chef left the line, in the middle of service, for a long and involved Q&A session.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the restaurant, I had been seated with a party of four, a family with two young kids. The father ordered a bottle of the most expensive wine we have, and I wondered what they were celebrating, since it was 6:00 on a Wednesday night. I poured the wine and waited. As I stood there, the father raised his glass and toasted, "Here's to a really, really small brain tumor,"

I thought I had misheard, when the little girl burst into tears. "But it's still there!" she wept. "Even if it's small, it's still there!"

"But it's small...look," the father said, rolling a piece of bread from the table into a small ball. "It's this big. That's nothing, right? Look how small that is!"

I wandered back into the kitchen, wondering which one of them had the tumor. I couldn't help but admire the father's attitude-whether it was his health issue or his daughter's, he was facing the issue head-on and not trying to hide it from anyone. Still, my heart broke for that family.

And as I walked by the other side of the restaurant and saw our lovely foodie once more torturing the waitress with his endless needs, I marveled at how utterly skewed perspective can be. In the overall scheme of things, who the hell cares about whether our truffle oil is imported straight from Italy? How is it possible to become so self-absorbed that you can actually get angry about something so insignificant? On one side of the restaurant, this family was struggling to turn the most vital issue of their lives into something insubstantial; on the other, a man was expending all of his effort to create issues where none existed. I wished I could drag that foodie over to the other side and force him to listen to what was going on...something that actually mattered.

So today, when I am inevitably stuck in traffic for an hour on my way to work, I will think back on this situation and remind myself to relax and let things go...because all of these irritating little things that happen throughout the course of the day really don't matter, in the end. A little perspective can go a long way.