Today I had a fantastic conversation with neighbors of The Wicked Sister! We stood well over six feet apart, but we stood in the sunshine – face to face – and talked. I’m not sure how we got on the topic of empathy, but Kyra reminded me that empathy is free and stronger than fear when we let empathy be our focus.
I told them about the time I went to Walmart with a three year old and a baby still small enough to be transported in a bucket car seat – I’m sure there’s a better name for them now, but you know what I’m talking about – the car seats that go from car to cart! Daniel, as preschoolers are known to do, pitched an unholy fit in Walmart and culminated in the space between the double doors. I’m talking a laying on the ground, snot flying, no reasoning fit.
At the time, I’m a mom of two small children, one of whom is having a scene that rivals the Exorcist, in a very public space. I don’t know what to do, but I know we need to get the F out of Walmart as fast as possible! So I yolk up Daniel under one arm – no small feat with a child that is off the charts for height and weight – and I drag the cart with my daughter, car seat and all, behind me.
By the time we actually make it outside, all three of us are in tears. To add to the situation, Daniel as managed to kick off his winter boots in the parking lot. At this point, I can hardly care. I made a mental plan to drive by to see if I could quickly scoop up his boots but am resigned to the idea that I might have to buy new winter boots for him tomorrow.
As I’m buckling two screaming kids into the car, a woman came from behind me and set Daniel’s boots down in the cart. She didn’t offer advice. She didn’t offer criticism. She just put the boots down and said, “Have a good night.” She offered empathy. Today I know now that pretty much every parent has dealt with the Walmart Walk of Shame with at least one child.
Right now, I think we’re all a little uncertain, all a little bored and all a little lonely. People are sometimes acting differently than normal. Do we get to be social together on April 13? Do we have to wait until April 30th? Does science dictate that we continue Social Distancing into May? We are all processing this temporary normal differently. And maybe, we could all be more empathetic to each other. Maybe not. Sometimes people are outright assholes, but I can tell you that sinking to their level isn’t as good as pulling them to yours.
It’s easy to be short with someone or cut them down, but if I do that, I never feel good about myself. We could all be more empathetic to people because we don’t know what another person is going through: We should just assume that this whole “temporary normal” is affecting everyone differently. Maybe with a little empathy, we can just naturally make things better.
Bob canned 46 cans of Bloody Mary and Caesar mixes today solely for your enjoyment (and because I asked him to)! So I empathize with him because that wasn’t an easy task!
I spent part of tonight shopping for seeds for our home garden. A garden in which I might help plant, but by the time the garden needs serious attention – weeding, pruning, trellising – The Wicked Sister will be so busy that garden-rearing will fall entirely on Brian (and what he can guilt the kids into doing). You can empathize with them for having to be responsible for a relatively large garden that all started from a relatively large list of “things that would be fun to grow!”
Tomorrow, Kyler, my absolute favorite Goof in the Kitchen is leaving The Wicked Sister to move on in his journey. I knew when I hired Kyler, he would not be around forever. As a LSSU senior, he worked so hard to have his last semester end with uncertainty and some chaos. Kyler won’t get to walk across the stage to accept his diploma while his family cheers – a twenty second public recognition for countless hours of hard work.
I empathize with him, but I know he will be fine. He’s been a fixture at The Wicked Sister for the last three years – an absolute eternity in restaurant life! I know he will be wildly successful no matter where his dreams take him. But I also know that he will be dearly missed here: Saying goodbye is never easy.
Kyler is the person that drew an incredibly dirty picture in the snow on my windshield last year, and then sat outside giggling while I walked closer to see just what was going on with my car. Kyler’s first day was one of our busiest days all year, and I actually threatened to stab him if he didn’t leave the kitchen. He politely excused himself to go behind the bar and wash glasses for the bartenders. Imagine my shock when he came back for his next shift! He’s also the person who coined the phrase, “Yeah, I need you to get that stupid look off your face,” anytime someone, including myself, would go back and ask if the kitchen crew needed anything. I fell for it almost Every. Single. Time.
I’m looking forward to a fun weekend – one because we get to be open and serving our guests, but also because we get to celebrate Kyler AND we have killer Brunch options! If I get too sad thinking about a Wicked Sister without Kyler, I’m just going to eat my feelings courtesy of the Crab Dip Hash – which arguably isn’t a terrible way to spend a Saturday or Sunday!
(Kyler -- in the Red Wings hat -- is just the most recent to move on! This picture from Aug. 2018 has four others who have moved on to bigger and better things!)