“I think you should let them have it their way. It’s just a small change. It won’t take up that much of your time, will it?” Denny looks at me with what he probably imagines is understanding.
I have just sent four emails telling a tenant that I will not bill their employees individually for photocopying. Four emails. I mean, my heels are firmly entrenched into the ground. I will bill the tenant. They must bill and collect from their staff. That is their responsibility. I’m clear on this.
As Denny says this to me I realize something. This is my time, my energy and my dignity I am defending. How could Denny even suggest that I surrender?
I take a deep breath. Another breath. Mentally, I try to step back from the situation. Has this come to mean too much to me? Is Denny right?
In my mind I hear the voice of a friend who is a professor, “At the beginning of a class you have to draw the lines firmly, otherwise the students take advantage of you.” His words ring in my ears. I am new on the block. I have to set the standard.
“But you don’t want to lose a tenant. You don’t want to antagonize them,” Denny is speaking in his soft, cajoling voice. I don’t like it when he speaks to me that way when my adrenalin is up. Flight is not an option. I want to fight.
What is going on here anyway, I ask myself? I am being controlled by something. Is this about me saving face?
So what if I lose face. Or maybe I could find a way to give in without losing face. Denny thinks I should.
My boss has a suggestion. Call in the tenant so we can speak face to face.
I don’t think that is such a good idea. We also have a more serious issue of a breach of contract to address with the client. That is an email I haven’t sent yet. My boss told me he thought my first draft needed a bit of softening.
I finally tell Denny that I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It is bedtime. I go into the bedroom and he follows me and starts up again. I am firm. I am done.
He goes back to the living room. His sleeping on the couch is now almost a permanent arrangement. If my hot flashes and restlessness don’t keep him up, then his snoring keeps me up.
I’m still thinking about this the next morning. Denny has left for work.
I prepare my breakfast of a fried egg, sliced red pepper, sliced tomato, a wedge of cheese, and a rye cracker. My doctor would be proud of me. She actually touched my little belly yesterday and told me I needed to lose that. It’s causing the inflammation which is causing other issues.
I awoke in the morning and my arm felt numb and my mouth was drooping a bit. So now I have to have all kinds of tests and get rid of the belly fat.
I weigh like a hundred pounds less than Denny and she is concerned about my belly!
I don’t know where all this agitation is coming from these days.
As I fry my egg, something Denny said comes to me, “Sometimes the weeds have to be allowed to grow alongside the grain, because if you pulled up all the weeds the grain would be pulled up with it.”
What a strange analogy. We usually try to get rid of all the weeds.
Denny told me Jesus figured it was better to just let the two grow alongside each other. As I think about this I begin to feel myself soften, just a little.
I still have a fairly large reserve of aggravation, but this is a good start.
Do I really have to make this about building a winning case?
Denny does not see giving in to the tenant’s wishes as losing. In fact, he sees it as winning.
So, what happens if I give in? Then I have more responsibility, which will consume yet more of my time, and will cause me even more aggravation. And I will feel walked over, again.
Suddenly something rises up inside me and I see clearly. Weed control is my responsibility. These weeds will choke me if I don’t deal with them, no matter what Denny says, and then I really will quit.
It’s the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. How about that, Denny?