Case 1: I was at a eatery downstairs at my work. A new girl, she seemed to be, was ready to serve me. I politely asked for two kinds of salads: a beet/avocado salad and a pasta salad. I'm never satisfied with just a leafy salad, so I was banking on the tuna and pasta to fill me up. I guess the girl didn't hear me properly, because when I went to go pay, I noticed that she gave me a romaine salad instead of the pasta. When I was just about to alert her, I saw her boss walk by. She looked so nervous. I didn't want to embarrass her, so after a brief moment of hesitation, I just smiled and took the leafy greens. I was hungry again in 1 hour.
Case 2: It was 10:15 pm. I was just leaving my office after a looong day of work. I was exhausted and yearning to be in my bed. The next bus that takes me home was at 10:40. I knew I wouldn't be able to catch it via walking or street car, so I decided I would take a quick cab ride to the station. I rushed down to the street and flagged a cab. 10:25. I quickly asked to go to Union station while he's yapping away on his bluetooth head set. 10:29. We're almost there but he seemed to be taking his time. I asked myself whether I should tell him to hurry up a bit. I concluded that maybe it wasn't nice to rush the driver. 10:33. Felt nervous, but thought 'I can get there on time. I can just run out when he takes me to the corner.' 10:36. There were 3 cars in front of him making turns, the right lane was empty but he wouldn't take it. "Do I ask him to hurry it up? Do I?" 10:38. SHOOT. 'I'm going to miss it I'm going to miss it'. He was still taking his time. I finally decided to speak up. "I'm trying to catch a 10:40 bus. Could you please hurry a little bit?" He finally heard the urgency in my voice and quickly dropped me off by the station. 10:41. I watched my bus ride home drove away in front of me. Next bus came at 11:40.
Feeling frustrated yet? Unfortunately, I have many many more instances of being too "nice", which makes me think if it's actually me being genuinely genial or me just being incompetent in speaking up. And I'm not just talking about little things like salads and taxi rides – but bigger things, like with relationships or the working world. In some ways, I feel that it's actually an act of benevolence: I'd rather feel discomfort than impose that on someone else. Sometimes I take the blame or stay quiet, believing that one way or another the truth will surface. But in other ways, maybe I'm just plain wimpy to stick up for myself.
Truth is, it's a bit of both. I'm sort of a "big picture" person, so I often easily persevere little things when I see the greater good in it. I know that even if it feels a little unfair or disadvantage me right now, somehow it will benefit me or someone else in the end. On the other side, truthfully, I am scared. I know that when I speak strongly about something, that means I need to take responsibility for the consequences. It's not always easy to stick up for yourself, you know. If you're going to challenge something, you better be ready to fight. And when it comes to fighting, I'd rather lose to avoid it altogether.
So am I a saint for being able to stomach personal discomfort for the benefit of someone else or am I a loser for being completely non-confrontational? Hmm.. I guess it comes down to balance. I think it's about developing confidence and assurance in myself, while being considerate and attentive of others' needs too. In the end, it's about finding my own voice, while also being able to harmonize with the people around you too. I think that's where my solution lies. :)
Speaking of balance, let me tell you about a perfectly balanced cookie. This cookie is a solid combination of chewy and crispy and soft and dense. The delicious cookie dough is matchless with the abundance of chocolate chips. The recipe, carefully crafted by Food Network's Alton Brown, was specifically engineered to be the "CHEWY" cookie, using bread flour (additional gluten), melted butter, higher ratio of brown sugar, and extra drop of moisture from milk. Pop the dough into the fridge before you bake it, and it really is the perfect chewy cookie. I made these at a cottage with friends, and they couldn't stop raving. They couldn't stop moaning with delight. Now, that's nice.
recipe from Food Network
yields 2 1/2 dozen
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.