I hereby resolve to treat everyone like I treat plumbers.
The plumbing van pulls into my driveway, and I wave. Our favorite plumber knocks on the door, and I shout through the kitchen "Come on in!" like I know he's my neighbor coming to drop off the Pampered Chef cupcake liners that I will use to make treats for my 3rd grader's Valentine's Day party*. (In the interest of full disclosure: *None of those things are real. Don't be mad at Pampered Chef.) I tell him to not worry about removing his manly workboots, make conversation, offer him coffee, and sit near enough to the leaky sink to know that he really doesn't want to steal my coffeemaker, but far enough away that he has space to wedge his body under the cabinet, talk to himself, and drop a wrench without an audience.
The locksmith, on the other hand, comes to our house at 11 p.m. when an interior door refuses to open, no matter how many friends with mafia ties try to coax it. To start things off, I give him the eye. Dude's not here to save me from mopping the stanky sink water off of the floor. He's here to break into my house and be compensated. My locked-out roommate is nervous, and his System of a Down tee shirt can't even remember the better days it's seen, adding to the tension in the air. He opens the locked-solid door WAY TOO EASILY and asks for $50 more than the previously quoted price. Cash only. I slloowlyy cross my arms, cooolly cock my head, and caallmly interrogate him with flashing words like blades until he mumbles that he will take roommate's check for the original price and he hopes we have a good night. We watch him slide out the door, my arms too crossed to wave goodbye.
Night and day, people. Night and day.
My dad taught me, when he managed a plumber's warehouse in Central Nebraska, to believe that plumbers need love too, and plumbers saved civilization, and plumbers are prone to some hyperbole, but overall, can be trusted. He also taught me to trust my gut and do what I could to avoid being taken for a ride, if you know what I mean. He ALSO taught me to not be afraid of giving people the kindness they deserved - remembering their inherent dignity would never put me at an eternal disadvantage.
I'm not going to invite Smithy the door-opener over so that he can demonstrate knob-unlocking techniques at Game Night...but I am going to remember that self-preservation doesn't have to stand in the way of kindness...