The office receptionist on the phone: “I know what document you want, but I don’t know what you expect me to….Oh, you want me to FAX it. You didn’t say that. You didn’t say to FAX it. You just said…”

Apparently there was some push back on the other end of the line, and then from the receptionist, “No, you didn’t. You just told me what document you needed, and you didn’t say…..What?….No, you didn’t. How was I to know that? You just said that you had to have the report from……”

To my disappointment she then disappeared into the back of the office and I was unable to hear the rest of this provocative, unproductive interaction.

Just a guess here, but I’m thinking that the original purpose of the call might have been to get a document from point A to point B? The conversational snippet that I overheard did not seem to contribute to that goal. In fact, it showed a lot of promise of contributing to a full, acidic snit. I’m sorry I missed it.

Have you ever been the one who gets sidetracked by an irrelevancy, possibly because it offers relief from a tedious conversation, or because it lets you not be the one at fault- however minor that fault may be? Or have you been the one who gets pulled into the side drama, all the while knowing that you are wasting your time and fire power? It is sometimes irresistible to point out the errors of others, and it can be equally compelling to defend oneself from accusations.

But skirmishes like these rarely end well. Neither warrior feels really victorious, only bruised and confused, and it takes some energy to puff oneself up to a wispy self-righteousness, which doesn’t last very long, based as it is on hot air.

So many invitations to do battle- some really delicious, some subtle and small, many just idiotic. But we don’t have to accept them.

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