The Last Word

I was flying to Texas…many of my posts start that way, have you noticed? Well, I was flying to Texas, and my husband dropped me off at the Flyaway. (For those of you who don’t know, the Flyaway is a bus taking travelers to LAX.)

I like to sit toward the front because I tend to battle with motion sickness.

I left my luggage to be loaded in the storage compartment and got in the line to get on the bus—like a normal decent human being.

Most of us travelers went to the back of the line after leaving our luggage to be loaded.

Most of us.

Then…two ladies decided to take cuts to the front, forming their own line.

This ticked me off. How dare they take cuts?! So rude! I don’t like rude people. Do you?

I walked to the baggage handlers and asked, “Is that the line?” pointing to the two ladies taking cuts.

The reply was, “No.” And he asked the ladies to go to the back of the line. Ha! Take that rude people! (By the way, there was no way they were “taking cuts” on accident. It was clear they were cutting the line.)

Have you ever been in a big line of cars and one self-consumed driver decides to cut everyone off and go to the front?

Don’t you hate that?

Or is it just me?

If we point out the rudeness of these drivers, we risk road rage and open the possibility of getting shot.

On this particular bus occasion, I had the opportunity to address the injustice, and I did.

As I walked back in line the people behind me smiled, and one cheered for me with an affirming comment. As the ladies passed to get to their rightful place at the back of the line—where they should have gone in the first place!—one of them had to make a snide comment as she walked by.

“We’re all getting on the bus, you know.”

I didn’t respond. Her now double rudeness wasn’t worth my time.

After arriving in Texas and telling my daughter-in-law about my recent flight story, she reminded me of another incident. We had been in a return line at Target and someone was standing behind us. After we left someone else took cuts in front of the person who had been waiting behind us. Being the self-appointed cut monitor I walked back and pointed out to the clerk who was next in line.

Clearly, I have a thing about lines and cutting! It’s a level of rudeness I have little tolerance for.

We are a civil society, aren’t we? Let’s all have manners and common courtesy and decency. We’re not animals pushing and shoving and climbing to return an item at Target!

Now, calm down.

This got me thinking…

Why do we need to have the last word?

Like while in an argument with the hubs, why is getting the last word in so important? It’s like whoever speaks last, wins.

But do they?

Wouldn’t it be better to understand the other, instead of trying to make our point? Or even better, admit we are wrong? Like the lady trying to take cuts, blurting out rudeness when she was wrong. She wasn’t following the rules, and then, had to have the last word.

During a disagreement if we actively listen, we are more likely to reach a solution favorable for both parties. When we listen we may realize that we are wrong.

It’s hard to admit when we are wrong, isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s hard for me too. It feels like we are being weak, that somehow we will lose our credibility or be diminished in some way.

When in actuality we gain credibility when we admit to being wrong. Learning to admit we are wrong is a valuable life skill. Not doing so puts us right there with the animals, instinctively clawing and shoving to get what we want.

When we make a mistake and then acknowledge it, and even take a step further, and apologize, we become more trustworthy.

Maybe getting the last word in isn’t that important?

Be kind today and show others they have value—especially our spouse and our children.

We can save the last word for our pets.

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