Sometimes being right isn’t enough and being “wrong” isn’t enough either…Both sides suck in their own special way.

So my new knowledge about the way life seems to work was gained being frustrated with a lady at my work smoking right outside my window. Grrr. I don’t want to breath that crud, and I don’t need my throat closing up because she is too self absorbed to read any one of the signs posted every 30 feet about not smoking within 50 feet of the building. Anyway, I went outside, walked up to her, and asked her not to smoke next in the alley that our windows to which our windows open. After the flood of our office caused by smokers dumping their butts and clogging the sewer drains our office is moldy so any fresh air is appreciated. In any event, she said she would move so I started waling back to my office. After I walked a ways away, I turned and looked back. She was in the same place still smoking and talking on the phone.

I headed back her way at which point she got kind of indignant asking what I was doing. I said I was noting that she was still smoking outside my window. She again said she was moving. At that point I said the one thing in the argument I kind of regret: “BS”

She then started screaming that I was calling her a liar, and one of her friends came to see what was going on. I asked if I needed to call her a “liar” as she was still standing outside my window with her lit cigarette. At that point she kept going on about how I was calling her a liar. Periodically, when she took a breath, I would ask if it was true that she was still standing outside my office with a lit cigarette despite her promise. The conversation continued with a few variations for the next 15 min while her cigarette burned down.

It was a thoroughly amusing if not productive argument. It did however give me something to think about as I cringe thinking about A. and her visit with her biological family tomorrow. As foster parents, we have no rights when it comes to trying to protect A from neglect or mistreatment that we suspect will happen when/if she goes back to them. If the foster agency were to tell to go away and never give her another thought, they would be within their “rights.” That said, I suspect I’d take it worse than the smoking lady took my admonishment. My need isn’t for a cigarette. It’s to protect A from potentially not getting the care she needs, and I’m not sure they will care for her given the info we have been given. I’d like to think my motives are more noble, but my reaction…

I don’t know. I will say I can understand the not necessarily logical reaction of the smoker. Being “right” was never going to convince her she shouldn’t smoke there. I’m not sure the lack of having the “right” to protect A will keep me from fretting and wishing things were otherwise.

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