If you regularly saw someone behaving unfairly and unkindly, what would you do?
For a long time, I was terrified of confrontation. I would do just about anything to avoid it.
My dad was manipulative and my mom was and is passive, and these were my role models. I mean, they were many more things than that - plenty of positives. But our family was not direct, and there were lots of things we weren't allowed to talk about.
I mean, my dad could talk about anything he wanted. But for the rest of us, there were parameters. Voicing dissent or negative feelings? Not OK. My brother and I were taught early that we were fine. I'm fine, he's fine, she's fine. We're all fine. Fine, fine, always fine. Everything is fine.
One of my dad's phrases was, "End of discussion." He could say this at any time to shut down a conversation.
Makes you want to respond with a big, "Fuck you," doesn't it? Which of course none of us ever did.
And thus I may have this unrealistic need for fairness. I realize the world is not fair. But I do my best to make it so when I can.
It took me an inordinately long time and a lot of work to learn how to be direct.
Actually, let me back up. I didn't even know I wasn't. It took me a very long time to learn how to recognize my feelings. And then to learn how to voice them to myself. And then to get the confidence to realize that they were valid and that I could express them to others.
I mean, I've always blurted out inappropriate, awkward things. But that's different.
So at this point, I think of myself as a fairly self-aware individual. I have the ability to put together a reasonable argument, and to hold my own in a discussion. When I know I'm right, I don't back down just because someone pushes.
I don't go looking for fights, but I don't shy away from them.
All of this leads me to needing some advice.
India goes to this day care that we love. Jordan was there before her. We adore the woman who runs it, and the staff is terrific. Very kind and caring and attentive. I totally trust them.
There is, however, a kid there with a dad who is a giant asshole. And this is where I need some help.
He is so rude to the staff. They are all women, and all Latina. They all speak English, but to varying degrees. There is a power differential. He's essentially their client.
And he's just a dick. I've never seen him not be rude. He walks in and bosses them around. He snaps at these very nice, competent women.
One night he was there when I was picking up India. We were there minutes before it closed, and so most of the staff had left. The ones still there with the very last of the kids couldn't find the little paper you get at the end of the day that tells you what your kid ate and how long they slept and that they enjoyed swinging and sliding at the playground.
He stomped around and complained and glared and huffed and puffed.
I wanted to say, "Seriously? Here - take mine. They had cheerios and bananas for breakfast. Quinoa and carrots and peas for lunch. Crackers and pears for snack. They slept from 1-3. They enjoyed singing songs at circle time. It doesn't vary that fucking much from day to day."
It doesn't. They'll call you if your kid is sick. They tell you if he got a scratch on the playground. They tell you anything of note.
Anyway. They apologized and he stomped.
But he's always a jerk. And I don't say anything. But I want to the next time. But here's the problem.
If he were doing it to me, I could say, "Please don't speak to me like that. There's no reason to be so rude."
He's not talking to me, though. And I know they won't say anything. They'll just keep being polite and he'll keep being a douche. It's not fair, and it makes me so angry.
I don't, however, know what to say.
What would you do?