OMG, Did I Really Just Say That?

The older I get, the more I wish I could say whatever I want without fear of repercussions. It gets tiresome having to always be politically correct and feel responsible for people’s feelings. I am constantly searching for the right language to use so as not to hurt, upset, offend, anger, alienate, or demotivate someone.

Not that I want to be a jerk, but once and a while it would be a relief to tell someone what I really think, exactly as I am thinking it, instead of keeping my mouth shut or censoring my words.

Like that former co-worker who clipped his fingernails at his desk. I wanted to shout, “Why in the hell would you do that here? It is disgusting and unsanitary. Who raised you to think that’s okay?” Instead, not trusting myself to find a polite way to ask him to stop, I said nothing and cringed each time I heard a clip.

How I long, even for a day, to do away with the filter and speak my mind as I please.

In response to that job interview question: How do you cope with stress? “Mostly I do yoga and journal, but on really bad days I drink an entire bottle of wine, then pick a fight with my husband.”

To the delusional college senior who is applying to medical school and asked me to write a recommendation, even though her GPA is 2.6, she flunked chemistry, and has yet to volunteer in a health care setting, “Girl, you do realize that your chances of getting into medical school anytime soon are like no way in hell?

Twice in my life I actually said what I wanted without a filter and the feeling of freedom was liberating. The first time was in a supermarket checkout line. An item rang up higher than I’d expected, so the cashier put on a blinking light to alert the manager to come over. The people in line behind me started to shift impatiently.

Then one guy said, “There’s one in every line.”

I could have chosen the path of dignity and kept my mouth shut. Instead, I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, are you referring to me? Yeah, because I purposely selected an item that I knew would ring up incorrectly just so I could hold up the line and wreck your day. Because it’s all about you.”

He went still. Said nothing. In a moment, he slinked away. The others in line avoided my gaze. Turns out the item had rung up incorrectly. Ha!

The second time was when the worst plumber on the planet entered my basement to inspect a leaking pipe. I followed him down and told him that every time I turned on the outside hose to water the garden, a loud, thumping sound roared through the pipes. The resulting conversation went something like this:

“Lady, I don’t know anything about a thumping sound,” he sneered. “I don’t know what’s wrong with the pipes.”

I said, “Neither do we, which is why we called a plumber, so you can figure it out and fix it. By the way, did your boss mention that we don’t have hot water in the kitchen sink and the downstairs toilet is running?”

“Jesus,” he said, “No, he didn’t. It’s almost four o’clock. I wasn’t planning on being here all night.”

We went back and forth like this for several minutes, mostly with him bitching and moaning and gesticulating, until finally I exploded.

“Listen, mister. My mother-in-law passed away last week, just before that my husband was in the hospital and almost died, and now I have to stand here and deal with you? If you don’t want the [expletive] job, leave.”

I feared he might strike me, so aghast did he appear. Instead, he held up his hands as if surrendering.

“Calm down, lady. I’ll take care of everything.”

While part of me could not believe I had just spoken to him like that, another part was glad I had. Clearly, it was the only kind of language he understood.  Some people need to hear it straight, no filter involved.

Imagine if everyone in the world said exactly what was on their minds? We would either be at war constantly or maybe we might start behaving better. Then there’s the matter of having to take in what we dish out. Would we want to know what people wish they could say to us? Probably not.

As I was writing this, Justin Timberlake’s “Say Something” kept playing in my mind. Here’s the song if you want to listen.

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22 thoughts on “OMG, Did I Really Just Say That?

  1. Oh boy, can I relate to this. Mostly I keep things inside but I’ve found as I’ve got older that the filter has loosened and I’m not afraid to say what I think. Sometimes we just have to. Good on you for speaking your mind at the check out Kim and to that plumber, who, by the way, must be related to the plumber I got out here recently. Great post. Take care

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha, ha, what’s going on with the plumbers? Seriously, though, I think you hit the nail on the head in saying that there’s less fear involved with speaking one’s mind as we get older. I have a good friend whose outspokenness used to make me cringe (she’s 20 years older than me), but now I am beginning to not only appreciate it, but emulate it! Have a great day, Miriam!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good to see you writing again, Kim; it’s been a while. Like you say to Svet, it’s all about picking our moments, I think, and gauging who can take it and who can’t; so I don’t think it wise to use it as a purging method, as that can (or should?) be done internally, so to speak. All best wishes, Hariod.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hariod! It’s nice to be back. Thanks for reading. I’ve missed blogging. I didn’t want to start again until I knew I could commit to it at least once per week. The last year was busy. Hope all is well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve not been blogging myself for this past year, Kim, as I’ve been busy writing in long-form again, though I do keep in touch and read all my subscriptions still, as you can see. Yes, things are well, thank you, and I hope the same is true for you. All best wishes, Hariod.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Kim, I think so many of us can relate! Sometimes it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. We feel resentful and angry if we keep our thoughts in, but if we let them out and they hurt someone, then we are guilty and upset. I agree with the other comments in that it is usually a matter of knowing when we can speak our true thoughts and when it’s best not to. But there are still always going to be times when we blurt them out regardless. I think at those times, it’s just best to apologize if necessary, forgive yourself, and move on.
    PS: I think what you said to the plumber was exactly what he needed to hear! Bitching to your customers is not okay, and he needed to be told that. And I would have been very tempted to respond tot he guy in the check out line the same way, although probably would have chickened out. And then been resentful that I did!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely agree, Ann, especially about the plumber. I couldn’t believe his behavior. The experience was actually way worse than I wrote, as he picked back up complaining and was driving me insane. I went out into the yard and called my husband crying and said I want to tell him to leave, he’s awful, but he told me to just let him finish up because we needed the work done. I ended up going by the business and complaining to the owner. Not sure if anything was done about it. My saving grace was reminding myself how lucky I am not to be married to someone like that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you followed through with the owner, because he needs to know why you will never call his company again if there is even a remote chance you will get that plumber! So sorry you had to deal with that…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I admit I have been very bad with filters most my life and have had to learn to have better ones as the years have progressed. I usually tackle big issues like prejudice and inequality or unfairness. Ugh, it upsets me so much that I find I really can’t keep my mouth shut. What I have learned to do is how to say things (I hope) so that the person the receiving end can hopefully hear what I am saying these days. That’s the real trick rather than staying silent or just blurting out our feelings. Sure, some things may not be necessary to say and I am learning not to say everything I feel, but at my age, I have no problem expressing myself. The other trick is being able to handle the fall out of the response with dignity and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, grandmothers, must be careful. As for the nail clipping, I don’t get it. I also have a relative who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, always chooses to file her nails in my car whenever she is a passenger!? I have yet to get up the nerve to tell her to stop.

      Liked by 1 person

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