My wife and I picked up lunch for my family today. My mom and dad wrote down their orders on a piece a paper, and Sarah and I went to Subway.
When we got there, I took the piece of paper up to the counter and began to read. My mom had requested a six inch turkey sub on whole wheat with everything except hot peppers. As I stuttered through the list of ingredients, the woman behind the counter strained to make out what I was saying. It was touch and go for a moment, but the sandwich was completed.
Next, Sarah ordered her sandwich: tuna on wheat with lettuce, tomato, pickles, vinegar, salt, and pepper. I caught myself feeling jealous about her effortless delivery.
I was up again. I began to recite my father's order, but the woman behind the counter could not understand me. She apologized and seemed genuinely upset that she was unable to decipher what I was saying. I tried again... and again, but as my tension level mounted, my stuttering became worse. I did something that I never do.
"Sarah?" I looked to my wife, and she immediately knew what I was asking. She gently took the piece of paper from me and read it to the patient sandwich artist. I looked down at the floor in shame. "It's OK, baby," Sarah said.
I couldn't go out like this. I began my own sandwich order, and I stuttered like a fool, but I got the idea of a chicken-salad-on-flat-bread across to my friend the sandwich artist. She smiled sweetly and made my sandwich. That was the worst part.
When someone makes fun of me, I can choose to let it go, or I can choose to get angry. If I let it go, I am not bothered. If I get angry, I can deal with it. On the other hand, when someone is sympathetic, I feel crippled. I feel like someone for whom people should feel sorry. That is hard to let go. I haven't had to ask someone to speak for me since I was a child. Today, I felt like a child.
After a hard ride (and one or two adult beverages), I feel OK, but today hurt.