You know, letting things go, holding my tongue, closing my cake-hole.
Remember all those things your grandmother used to tell you about nice girls not giving their opinion unless it was specifically asked for, and how if you didn’t have anything nice to say then not to say anything at all?
Well I’m shite at all that.
Proper shite at it.
I do think sometimes though, that the quality of my life might be improved somewhat if I could manage to master the art of tactful diplomacy. I imagine myself; a picture of equanimity, smiling in a noncommittal fashion at that which I do not find pleasing, discovering the middle way with grace and good temper, and serenely closing my cake-hole at every opportunity.
There now. Isn’t that nice.
So every now and again – particularly at work, and particularly in meetings – I vow to myself that I will not say a word. Unless of course it is something pleasant and fluffy or along the lines of, ‘could you pass me the pen please?’ Today I will not talk, I tell myself. I will not tell anybody what I think about anything, and whatever comes into my head will stay there and not find its way out of my gob. Good. That’s settled then.
The other day was one of those days. I was determined and doing well if I do say so myself. I had successfully let all manner of annoyances and stupidities go, and was busy saying nothing. Nada. Zip.
My colleagues then began a conversation over their lunch time coffees regarding how great it was that another group in a nearby town had started having a homeopathy practitioner come and do a monthly surgery with their service users in order to discuss any health problems they might be experiencing, and to dole out various appropriate ‘treatments’.
Now didn’t I think that was a good idea?
To which I smiled my best noncommittal smile.
“Gappy! Don’t you think that’s a really good idea?”
Keeping my trap shut, keeping my trap shut… Keeping. It. Shut.
“Seriously though, what do you think Gaps?”
And all of a sudden it was all over…
“Oh for gods sake that’s the worst idea I’ve heard in ages! I mean for crying out loud, we’re struggling on our last legs due to a lack of funding and some group somewhere decides they’re going to pay some charlatan to give the women sugar pills?! When in some parts of the county they don’t even have a proper outreach service?! Where the hell is the sense in that? It’s a totally shite idea. Obviously.”
So yeah. Tact. Diplomacy. Equanimity. It went well as you can probably tell.