Friday, November 26, 2010
The Last (In Line) Shall Be First
Most people hate waiting in line. Including me. I’m one of those people who tries to “help” the person behind the register (even when there are five people in front of me) by offering to do a price check or suggesting that we call another department or open a new line.
Waiting tends to get the best of me. Especially when it’s unexpected.
Last week, I dropped Nick off for his “make-up” piano lesson -- a 30-minute wait that I wasn’t looking forward to. When we arrived, Nick no sooner sat down at the piano when another student (and another impatient mother) arrived.
The teacher had double-booked the slot! And one of us would have to wait another 30 minutes for the lesson to start.
So, did I do the mature thing and offer to go second? Not exactly. Nick had already started playing and I thought to myself, It’s a good thing we got here first.
But the other mother started ranting and raving about how she had so many errands to run, and the teacher was doing his best to be fair. So he said, “Let’s flip a coin, and the student who wins the toss can choose to go first or second.”
We couldn’t argue with the coin toss.
The teacher flipped the coin, and the other student won – fair and square. Rats! Nick and I would have to wait. So the teacher turned to the student and said, “Would you like to go first?”
To our surprise, she looked at Nick and replied, “No, I’ll go second.”
And then, her mother gave her the look of terror. A look that said, What are you thinking? A look that said, Can’t you see how busy I am? A look that said, How stupid can you be?
This sweet child -- who was more gracious than any of the adults involved -- was now both embarrassed and belittled. And I was started to get this yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. So I walked over to the piano chair, grabbed Nick by the coat and took him outside to wait.
I turned to Nick and said, “Remember, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
He just smiled and said, “Let’s go to Starbucks, Mom.”