A Test of Patience and Anger
Waking up this morning and finding myself once again without water, I sat down for my regular morning meditation. I mention the water issue, which I have not written about even though the problem has been ongoing for over 2 weeks, because this morning I received an interesting insight into the lesson I’ve been given the opportunity to learn, or the test I have been given the privilege of taking.
For over two weeks now, I have woken up every morning to find there is no water in my room. It generally ceases to flow sometime during the night. In addition, there have been many days where there is none in the afternoon, and even evening. So each morning, I have to go downstairs, find the “room boy” and tell him I have no water, which is obvious to him by the embarrassed smile on his face, and then they do whatever they do (open the spigot, change the flow from one pipe to another…I don’t really know) and 5 minutes later I have water. This happened a few times over all the months I was here, but very rarely and never enough to warrant even a comment. I just went down, said “pani nahi hei” (there is no water…it is one of the few things I will NEVER forget how to say in Hindi), smile at the guys, they smile back and me and the problem in fixed.
But it has been over two weeks now that EVERY morning I have no water, and it started getting annoying. I asked what the problem was, and got all kinds of different explanations (yesterday, I finally got the real reason,
which involves a water dispute and the pipe to the main tank in the area being shut off to this guesthouse…so that they have to kind of ration the water around to the rooms as best as they can…this is a real problem for a hotel, believe me), but I really didn’t care what the reasons were. I wanted the problem resolved so that I would have water whenever I turned on a faucet, as I should.
I’ve been patient, something which is not easy for me at the best of times, and always make light of the issue when I tell them I have no water, never allowing myself to show anger or frustration, because the truth is, they just work here and it is not their fault. They laugh every time I come down and understand what the problem is, and I see no reason to make them feel bad about something they have no control over.
People have told me, among other things “demand a discount on your room”, “shout at them in an aggressive way so that they will understand that you are pissed, maybe then they will do something about it”, “complain to the owner about the bad service”, “stop smiling at them all the time as if everything was OK”, “you are too nice to them, that’s why they don’t fix the problem”.
Well, first of all, none of the above is true. I am ALWAYS very nice to these guys…they work so hard for so little money and whatever goes wrong here is truly not their fault. And in the past, any time I’ve had a problem (plumbing, electricity, whatever), it’s been fixed immediately. This water problem seemed to be a much more serious issue (and now I know it is) that with all good intentions, for some reason they were unable to resolved over the past few weeks since it began. They are always embarrassed when I come and ask for water and know it is not a good thing, and there would be no sense in making them feel bad or even threatening to pay less money when the solution to the problem is not in their hands . If it was, it would have been resolved by now.
But, for me, each day that goes my, begins to get on my nerves, and here is where my lesson, or test, comes in.
Continuing to be patient and not regard the lack of water as a personal insult or problem or lack of concern for me is the first thing. I always HAVE water in the end, even if it is not always at the time I “planned” to use it! And I am never pressed for time…it is just the thought of not having continuing running water which is annoying. Patience is not my biggest virtue, so keeping patient over all this time has been a very good feeling for me…and it has not been a huge effort. I feel very pleased with the way I am dealing with this and it is a good feeling.
Most people think I should be super angry as well! And the whole idea of not paying full price, or shouting, etc., is the way to go as far as they are concerned. These things never entered my mind, and the few seconds now and then when anger begins to arise, are over very quickly, since there is no sense at all in being angry about the situation. It will not change anything.
So, I feel good about this whole “water issue”, and although I have to deal with it for another 2 weeks yet, am completely comfortable with the inconvenience and thankful for the lessons I’ve learnt from it and grateful for really being able to deal with the issue patiently, and without anger or frustration. It says a lot to ME about ME.