Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You Need To...Relax

Of all the hot buttons I know I have, maybe the hottest button of all is any sentence directed at me that starts with, "You need to..."

Before the fourth word even leaves the speaker's mouth, I am absolutely certain that no matter what it is, I don't need to do it. And really, It would take a gun at my temple to force me to do it...whatever it is. If that person were telling me I needed to hold my breath because the flood water is up to my chin, I think I'd still struggle with, "Don't tell me what I need! I'll hold my breath if, and only if, I decide it's what I need."

I mention this because, in the middle of an extremely busy and fairly stressful evening at my job, one of my coworkers stopped by my department and committed the two greatest sins in EvieLand: she messed up my bench and told me what I "need to do."

And even though I very much like my coworker...I like pretending I am the Mistress of My Own Destiny. If I identify it as a need...it's a need. If you do...well...don't.

Luckily, Casey the Phlebot is a compassionate and non-judgmental listener. And if she thought I was a lunatic, she was clearly raised well enough to keep it to herself. I ranted for a while, offered to break some dishes for her, and then settled down like a big girl. But I'm stuck musing about the "you need to" thing...in my intellectual head, I realize it's just a phrase people use because the think it sounds less authoritarian than "I want you to...", but really, it's not my need...it's yours. Be honest about who needs what from whom. Because my need is a cold beer, a good book, and a fluffy cat. If one of us needs a white cell differential on a bronchiolar lavage, it ain't me.

(Sigh)...semantics. It ought to feel inconsequential, but apparently I like my hairs split on a specific axis.


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