Veruca and the Voice of Reason

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My husband listens to the radio every morning during his workout. On a normal day, I get the nutshell version over coffee and school lunch making. This past January, however, one frosty, dark morning had a slightly different twist. On this day, the workout was cut short and the wooden stairs coming up from the basement creaked beneath his feet a few minutes early. The light in the bedroom clicked on and sent me hiding under the pillow.
“There’s going to be a food truck festival here in the spring!” he exclaimed, knowing how absolutely thrilled I would be. I love food. I love food trucks. I love festivals. Plans were set in motion straight away.

It was no small feat to carve out time. I know everyone can relate…between soccer practices, games, work, family obligations, guests, a new puppy, spring concerts…the list goes on and on. I am not the busiest person I know (mercifully), but I am certainly never lacking for things to do. After securing the time off work and clearing all but one soccer game from the schedule, I went online to purchase tickets for the event (as the Facebook page recommended doing) and printed them off.
 
In a momentary lapse of organization, I forgot to bring the printed tickets with us that morning. I somewhat frantically scrolled the Facebook event page to find out if I could use them from my phone. (Clearly this gives you an indication of my age, because the younger crowd never would have printed the paper tickets to begin with…they all assume that you can show the tickets on your screen.)
 
What I read in the comments of the Food Truck Festival page launched me into a rant that I am still barely past. The Festival page proudly announced the Sell Out of tickets and mentioned there would be a few available at the door this afternoon. That wasn’t the moment I lost faith in all of humankind (yes, I promise that’s a slight exaggeration).
 
I don’t remember the name of the author, but I’ll call her Veruca Salt for your benefit. Veruca’s post was dripping with a lack of dignity, tact, and primarily a void of ownership. “It’s my birthday weekend,” Veruca whined over social media. “I spent two hundred fifty dollars on hotel rooms, drove all the way here, invited a bunch of my friends, and now they are telling me I can’t get tickets to THE main event of MY birthday weekend.”
 
The post went on to describe how unbelievable this whole turn of events was for poor Veruca, and the utter despair she was encountering. Against my better judgment, I opted to stay out of the conversation and simply settled into the passenger seat and watched it unfold, reading posts aloud as other Food Truck Lovers chimed in.
 
What happened next quickly restored my love for humanity and showed exactly how much power a little kindness and realism combined has over even the most unreasonable of souls.
 
The posts came shooting in, updating every few seconds:
“???”
“Not clear…isn’t this YOUR fault?”
“WTF? It’s pouring rain anyway…who cares?”
And then, the beautiful voice of reason.
 
“Sometimes my friends say I plan things too well, so please know I am not trying to be critical. But the FB page was quite clear that you should purchase your tickets ahead because of the likelihood they would sell out. Please don’t blame anyone else here…a lot of people worked hard to make sure this event is successful. Next time be sure to read more carefully and also, don’t blame other people for your lack of proper planning. I do hope your birthday turns out to be wonderful…maybe someone would be able to sell you their ticket? The FB page mentioned that tickets are transferable…”
 
Within five minutes Veruca Salt had deleted her post. I am making it my new goal to carry that beautiful voice of reason in my back pocket and bring her out whenever necessary. Calm, composed, to the point, kind, and real. Rather than focusing on the negative, Voice of Reason looks for a solution. Instead of bashing Veruca for being obnoxious and sounding like a spoiled child, Voice of Reason sends birthday wishes and gently reminds her of many, many important points.
 
It ended up raining sideways all afternoon, which was here nor there to our crew. The Food Truck Festival featured the Rolling Cones and Meat on the Street…the craft beer was flowing, and, though I scoured the crowd for two hours, I could not find Veruca Salt among the festival crowds. Perhaps she wasn’t there, perhaps she was playing drinking games with her friends in her overpriced hotel room. I’d like to think, however, that she was there, that some kind soul transferred their tickets to her and she had a Rock Star Birthday party. And that when she tells the story of her birthday weekend, it begins with “At first I was so mad, but then I realized…”

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