Holding people accountable. It's one of my favorite things to do. I think, should someone ignore my wishes and plunk me in the ground with a headstone, said headstone might read:
Stefanie Le Jeunesse
She Wrote Letters
And those morbid types who like to mill around cemeteries, or kids looking for an "edgy" place to make out might be all, aww; how quaint! But no, not those kinds of letters. Not love letters or even hey-how-you-doin' letters (which I do, actually, write sometimes). Complaint letters. Why did it take 20 minutes for someone to respond to the robbery-at-gunpoint that happened at the convenience store behind my house? or, Your employee asked me to move my breastfeeding baby to the "nursing room," which is a poorly lit storage closet with a vase of fake flowers; would you like a copy of Washington State law regarding public breastfeeding? Oh, here it is anyway.
The other edge of this admittedly crotchety sword is that I write complimentary letters, and the ones I get the most joy out of sending regard people in the service industry. Because I have worked in the service industry and oh my god, is it terrible. If you can serve me food without palpable contempt, my hat is freaking off to you, my friend. I once sent an email to Macy's about the woman at the Christian Dior makeup counter (dear Reader, pause here to consider what a different life I once led) that apparently warranted a run-toward hug the next time I wandered through the store, ending with a jubilant retelling of how she'd received a candy bar at the monthly staff meeting. Score? I don't know; she was pleased.
I know I sound old when I lament the work ethic of young people nowadays, and truth be told: I'm a hypocrite, as well, because the day I quit work to have George rivaled his actual birth day as the happiest of my life. Just the same, I worry that he will fall victim to whatever it is that plagues these kids, making them apathetic and dim: something I don't think I could've ever been mistaken for (it was by the grace of benevolent bosses and my own smarts, I think, that I kept jobs while people bitched about my sarcasm). My hope is, though, that George will stand out as one of those I write to commend, no matter what job he chooses. Meanwhile, I'll keep writing letters -- I'm happy to say, at a rate of about four positives to one negative -- and urging others to do so, too.
for those about to serve us tater tots: we salute you.