“Hi May, where are Luke and mom?”
My heart skipped a beat. The mom and her 10 year old child slowly dragged their bikes towards us with a frustrating look. The chain is falling out and the derailleur is broken in half, with the second half lying nowhere to be found
“I have searched for it everywhere. I didn’t see it”
I was panicked. Since the beginning I have acted the role of a poised, know-it-all guide very well whom won their affection and trust. Can I say something funny to twist their perspective of this shit – that I don’t know how to fix a broken derailleur?
The normally romantic rubber plantations are at their worst time of the year: rainy season when tree branches fall off, creating a messy backdrop.
From all corners mosquitoes are screaming, waiting to eat us alive. Two little boys, 10-year-old Luke and 7–year-old Felix are losing their cheerful face. I called numerous people for a few minutes when Felix started his rambling
Why does it take so long? Uh huh, ahhh, mosquitoes
Their mom says nothing.
Deep down I know they have all the rights to complain. I am delivering a service and this should not happen. In this case, they need a problem solver and not an entertainer as usual. I happen to be in a situation when I don’t have what it takes to solve and people who can solve are out of reach.
When you are expected to be a problem solver
Normally, I am an escaper. I just do things I like and meet people I care about. If there is any hint of mess or discomfort, I just say NO.
No. You deal with it. That is not my shit.
No, I will not meet you (because I have no interest at all)
No, I will not meet you (because I have so much interest that I am scared of rejection)
But there are cases when I have no choice but standing in front lines. Being a tour guide is one of that. I talk obvious things in different ways to entertain people and when bad surprises happen, I am expected to be a problem solver.
Problems expose our vulnerability
If things go right, I will just make fun with Luke & Felix, listen to them eagerly sharing about their life in Singapore, act like I am so interested and then look at their satisfying mom’s face, happy that somebody is caring about her kids.
If things go right, I will just be poised, comfortable and in control. The mess kicked me out of that driver’s seat and just in seconds I became passive and frustrated. I felt so vulnerable, and somehow I feel that is a good sign. It shows me what I know I lack and force me to face it, find a way to deal with it, seeking help from others and grow from them.
If we feel stupid and vulnerable, that is a good sign. If we always feel confident, we are in the wrong environment.