Two short stories from last week I want to share tonight.
My friend Lauren, who was out of town last weekend for a reunion, called me up (a week ago) Friday morning at 11 and asked me if I was surprised to find her dog, Luke, outside and fed when I got there. I went into panic mode and said, “LUKE! I forgot about Luke! I’ll go feed him right now!” She laughed and said, “No, that’s GOOD! I forgot to tell Virginia that I had someone lined up to feed him on Friday morning, so she already went and fed him. I was just worried that you showed up and were confused as to why he was outside. It’s good that you didn’t go, too…”
I felt horrible and was laughing, all at the same time. Some friend… didn’t remember I’d said I would feed your dog… and yet, it all worked out in the end because another friend, who didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to go on Friday morning, went.
So I ask you… in that situation, do I say, “I’m sorry”?… or “thank you”?
I said both.
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When I went to the workshop last weekend, there was a sauna available to guests. I hadn’t been able to use it all weekend, so when I went to shower on Sunday morning I was happily surprised to see that the sauna was on and a woman was in it. “I can use the sauna!” I thought. So I got undressed and looked at the dial. The dial was set at 2. Out of 10. I thought, “Well, that’s not very warm, but whatever. I’ll check it out.”
I went in and sat down on the top bench. It was luke warm. Barely warmer than the changing room. In fact, I wanted to go and put my clothes back on to warm up, it was that cold. I quietly asked the woman (who knows how long she had been in there!), “Would you mind if I turned the heat up? I won’t be in here for very long…”
She replied, “Oh, I was sort of taking the long, slow approach rather than the fast, sudden approach. But if you want to turn it up, go ahead.”
I told her I wouldn’t turn it up much, I just wanted to warm up. So I turned it up to 4. For my Finnish relatives reading this, the ones who turn it up to 11, 4 managed to warm me up at least.
After a few minutes, I asked her if she’d mind if I threw some steam. I felt a little guilty for asking, because here she was, taking a long, slow (read: COLD) sauna, and I came barging in and (politely) changed everything! She told me to feel free to “do whatever you need to do.” So I threw some steam. Not much, but some to at least make it feel a little like a sauna!
I didn’t stay long, but then I felt guilty for leaving after changing her entire experience!
She came out after I had finished my quick shower and commented to me, “You weren’t in there for very long…”
I told her that I didn’t want to completely barge in on her experience; I just wanted to warm up a bit before my shower.
She replied, “Oh, well, I’m sort of a sauna (sah-na) novice.”
I couldn’t help it. I replied, “Well…. if you want to at least appear like an expert, you can start with the pronunciation. It’s SOW-NA. It’s Finnish. You just pronounce every letter: sow-na, SOW-NA… See?! Novice no more!”
I’m sure she thought I was nuts, but at least she got a traditional sauna experience, pronunciation and all. Even it if was only luke warm.