Dude has not responded to my letter (sent in an email, actually). Not even a “thank you for your concern” brush-off. I’m a little steamed about that, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s away. Maybe he gets hundreds of emails a day. Maybe he’s setting up a subcommittee on School Scheduling and waiting until it’s more developed to give me a response. Maybe.
I do that. I give people the benefit of the doubt, making up imaginary excuses for them so that whatever they have done is not an intentional insult directed at me, but just the result of a perfectly logical string of events. Homer is not at all like this. If someone pisses him off, he immediately assumes the worst.
Case in point: The after school care we have for Bart and Lisa has been extremely unreliable. Since we started with the caregiver in December, they have not been able to go there one full week. Every week there has been one day that there has been a problem: the caregiver has been sick; one of her kids has been sick (requiring a doctor’s visit); one of her kids has a dentist appointment in the afternoon. She told me just last week that the family will be taking a vacation (7 school days) at the end of February – sorry. Make no mistake, my stomach is in knots over the whole thing. I obviously need to find someone who takes the job more seriously, but I find myself arguing with Homer that “she can’t help getting sick” and “maybe her kids are so sick they need the doctor” and “why shouldn’t she be able to take her kid to the dentist in the day; maybe the dentist doesn’t have evening hours” and on and on. Homer is a raving lunatic, wanting to blast her over the phone and fire her on the spot (and then do WHAT, exactly, with the kids, smart guy?)
The proper response to the situation is obviously somewhere in between “shiny happy people” and “stark raving lunatic”, and eventually we do get there. My approach calms Homer down enough that he refrains from following his immediate instinct to tear a strip off the offender; his approach makes me look at the situation more critically and allow some kind of action so that I’m not serving as the world’s punching bag. Sometimes it takes awhile to get to that middle ground, but we always do.