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The little big things

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Upile and Lusungu had been best friends from high school for 10 years before Lusungu decided to go and work in the engineering sector in Mauritius. The two continued to keep in touch and share their life experiences despite the distance between them.

Five years later, Upile took a trip to Mauritius for a training workshop. The training was for four days ending on a Thursday. Upile decided to extend his stay till Sunday and visit his best friend that he had missed so much.

Upile and Lusungu agreed to meet in a town that was closer to both of them and spend a boys’ weekend in that town. Since Lusungu was more conversant with the place, he decided to book Upile at a particular hotel that was also close to a sea food restaurant that had a particular dish he liked. He also decided that this would be all his treat as a host.

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Upile got to the hotel in good time since he had no other business in Mauritius except to have some quality time with his friend. Lusungu’s work meeting took longer than expected, leading him to leave his city late and arrive at their rendezvous even later.

Being a caring friend, he offered to order dinner for Upile from the restaurant. He told Upile he would order a specific prawn dish that was exceptionally delicious and have it delivered to the room.

Upile received the dinner take-out within 30 minutes of his call with Lusungu. At this point, Lusungu was an hour and half away. Upile tried the dish but found that it did not meet the standard Lusungu had implied. It did not have the flavour described and, to make matters worse, it had chilli, which he was severely allergic to, a fact Lusungu was well aware of.

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Just about 20 minutes after the delivery, an excited Lusungu called to check if the delivery was successful and if Upile was enjoying the dinner only to find him very agitated (from the chilli and unquenched hunger combined) and disappointed Lusungu did not take into account his chilli allergy.

Lusungu was taken by surprise and was confused. Combined with his own frustration from the late meeting and fatigue from driving, he lashed out at his friend for not appreciating his efforts and for being overly sensitive about ‘just a dash of regular spices’. He even went as far as calling Upile primitive.

By the time Lusungu arrived at the hotel, the mood had been spoiled by the little squabble along the way and Upile was in bed recovering from the chilli allergy after asking the hotel for an antihistamine. He was also waiting for a second dinner pack from the hotel.

Lusungu arrived just as the hotel was delivering the second dinner pack for Upile to the room. The waiter asked if he would like anything brought up for him. He retorted that he was fine and that he would have the dinner Upile had rejected. The waiter left. After some strained greetings and pleasantries, Lusungu went to the mini kitchen to heat up the take-out Upile had failed to eat.

He opened the package and noticed indeed the prawns and ‘accessories’ looked different. He tasted the prawns and found indeed they had a different flavour that was edged with very hot chilli that even ‘he’ could not handle. He called the restaurant in a hushed voice to find out what happened and they soon realised the delivery man had mixed up their order.

He soon realised his friend was right initially. He soon appreciated what his friend had experienced and expressed – that he had dismissed promptly. He then remembered his harsh words towards his friend. He had two options: to swallow his pride, admit his mistake or to stay quiet and pretend the meal was in order.

In essence none of the above needs to be an option to start with.

This is the situation most of us end up in when interacting with others in our everyday lives and in our close relationships. Little issues lead to big arguments and serious hurts in our interactions simply because one party did not pause to appreciate the other side’s opinion or experience.

Lusungu dismissed his friend’s experience without verifying the facts, if he waited to verify or paused to appreciate what his friend was experiencing, there would have been no need to explore the two options above.

Be mindful of little big things.

I rest my case.

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