Marti's Theory

Archive for August 2015

I moved to Lahaina, Maui from Hana, Maui about seven years ago and it took awhile to adjust. Like, maybe six years to adjust?  Hana is a very down-to-earth, very Hawaiian “local” kind of community where I lived for twenty years. But Lahaina is full of hotels, restaurants and luxuries like fully stocked grocery stores that are open later than 7pm and even a movie theatre.  It also is full of mainland visitors and the recently moved.

What I noticed right away was that people treated me differently than I was used to being treated.  They were polite, of course, but there was something missing.  In fact, there was one grocery store checker that really kind of bothered me. She was courteous and efficient, but not really “there.”  Then it struck me.  She treated me like a …

… tourist.

I didn’t consciously think about it, but under the surface, it bugged me.  I wanted to pull out my “Twenty Years in Hana” hat or fake pidgin street cred and say, “Hey, I’ve lived here half my life!”  But of course, I didn’t.

Nevertheless, I began to behave a little differently whenevah I went to da stoh.  (see how I did that, there?  Yeah, that’s what I’d do).  For some crazy reason, I wanted her to know that I wasn’t a tourist or recent transplant.  There are a hundred different ways in which that’s a messed up attitude, but the one that fits my current train of thought is simply:

I had an agenda.

I wanted her to see me in a certain way.  Odd, yes?

Once I understood that, it was easy to let go of it. Pouf! Gone!

But it got me to thinking … do I have agendas when dealing with other people?  Think in terms of the phrase hidden agenda for this to make sense. It’s when you do something that seems one way at face value, but under the surface, you actually want something specific from a person.  Some common, relatively benign social ‘hidden agendas’ are:  Do I want this person to like me?  To do something for me? To think I’m smart? Or cool?  Do I want them to adopt a certain opinion?     And yes – I sheepishly admitted to myself – I often have those agendas, without even realizing it.

It was one of those “moment of truth” times, where we fluctuate between patting ourselves on the back for being so self-honest and wondering why it is necessary to always be so damn deep.  Okay, maybe I’m the only one who fluctuates thusly.

Anyway, the point is…

I spent the next year or so honestly examining my motives when dealing with others.  I mean, yes – we like to be liked.  But no, I’m not running for Prom Queen.

At this point, those of you who have known me for a long time are probably thinking, “When in the hell did ‘what people think‘ ever stop her from saying what’s on her mind?”  So I will qualify it by saying – this wasn’t a HUGE issue; it was just a little quirk that had gone previously unnoticed.

These days, I’ve hit a good balance.  Life is good so I’m happy, and “happy” leads to kindness.  But on the other hand, I’m technically a senior citizen, so regarding most opinions of me (or anything, actually), I really don’t give a shit.  Really.  I don’t.  [Young people take note: This actually makes getting older worth it.]

What brought this one?  The other day I saw a notepad thing with AGENDA as the heading, but someone had scrawled

I have no agenda!  across the page.  And I decided it was a sign.

So I am going to dust off my “no agenda” agenda and make sure that it’s still valid.  “Being Present” – I think that’s what the kids are calling it these days.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Oh and an anecdote:
A few years ago that grocery store checker needed some college advice and – even though I was only my regular, no frills Marti, the Haole College Lady self – she now calls me Aunty.

Funny how that works.

heh

heh

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