Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Missed appointment

Midnight didn’t get to see the farrier today. Here’s what happened, as factually as I can report it:

The appointment was at 10:00 this morning. I arrived about 8:45, just before the storm hit, and got Midnight inside as the first raindrops fell. He and I walked around the arena barn, enjoying ourselves. Some of the time I stood inside the back door of the barn and let Midnight stand out in the rain, nibbling grass.

I pretty much let him go where he wanted. He investigated everything. He watched the camp kids, all fifteen or so of them, riding around the arena. He introduced himself to all the horses in the barn, including a new horse, a pretty little Arabian, who announced to everyone with his whinnying that he was not happy with his new accommodations. Midnight, trying to be friendly, nearly got bitten for his trouble. Midnight's neck arched and he got that studly look in his eye that says, “I’ll show you, little man!” I backed him away before the fight started.

As it got close to 10, we hung around the front of the barn near Midnight’s stall and watched for the farrier. A couple of my friends were there. "Sally" had Spunky tied to the railing, and "Elsa" was there wondering if she should let her horse stay out in the pasture in the rain or go bring him in. I tied Midnight up to the rail while we talked.

We were standing there talking at 10:03—I remember looking at my cell phone. As it got later and later, I walked Midnight down to the other end of the arena barn again, then brought him back. At about 10:25 I called Stan’s cell.

“Hey, Stan. Just wondered where you are, if you’re on your way.”

“Horse wasn’t there. I’m on my way to Hazelwood now.”

I sputtered and asked him how that could be, because I had been there, walking up and down the aisle, since 9:30.

That’s when I got mad.

The rest of what Stan said, as nearly as I can remember, was that he had looked into the barn and saw that Midnight’s stall was empty. He saw a bunch of kids in the arena (all the campers) and a few horses tied up in the aisle, but that was all, and so he left. One of those horses was probably Midnight.

I asked him when he had been there, and he said, “Fifteen or twenty minutes ago.”

I believe I said I was sorry, and probably said I wished he had given me a call, because I was right there. It’s hard to remember, since everything had gotten pretty red and hazy. Stan started to check his schedule, but the traffic light changed, he said. I told him not to try to reschedule while he was driving, but to give me a call when he had a chance and let me know. I was furious, and I do believe I hung up pretty abruptly.

Anyway. Neither Sally nor Elsa remembered seeing anyone looking for Midnight. They both said something about a green truck quite a while before. Whether or not Stan’s truck is green, I have no idea. It might have been Stan, but if so, he was early, and didn’t park where he normally does. Actually, I now wonder if he even got out of his truck. That didn't occur to me earlier. It was raining, after all.

So I call Midnight's owner, pissed as hell, and tell him I'm DONE with Stan, that I'm really mad, that I'm never gonna speak to Stan again, etc., etc….. Midnight's owner, laughing, says, “Get over it. Talk to him, and let me know what he says.” Shit, says I. When pigs fly. And off I drove to the rescue ranch, my next appointment.

Anyway. Later this afternoon, when I left the ranch (where there's no cell phone service most of the time), there’s a message from Stan rescheduling to next Wednesday. After giving the date and the time, he says, “You can’t expect me to mess up my schedule for one horse. No one has to be there, as long as the horse is in his stall.” He still sounds mad, but with maybe a twinge of defensiveness.

He’s correct. I absolutely agree about his schedule, and I can see his point. After fretting about this incident all the way home from the ranch, I think I understand a little better what happened.

There seems to be a difference in the assumptions here, one that tracks pretty well with male and female ways of thinking. Logical, rational fact agrees with Stan: appointment at 10, no horse in stall, end of story. A more relational point of view has a different take: appointment at 10, no horse in stall. That’s odd. Let’s give the client a quick call and see if there’s some mix-up. Thirty seconds later, client appears. Appointment holds, horse is shod, regularly scheduled programming continues.

Do I sound pissed? Actually, I think I’m more disappointed than anything else. I enjoy hanging out with Stan. He's a gentle soul with a sometimes curmudgeonly persona (he would agree with that assessment, by the way). Kinda like Midnight himself: stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t tolerate fools. Lots of knowledge and experience and more than a thing or two that I can learn from him.

From Stan’s perspective, though, it might go more like this: It’s raining. Traffic is rotten, I hate shoeing horses in the rain, got a lot on my mind. Been out twice to this barn recently, and the experiences with the horses weren't great. Well, just dandy, look there: Midnight isn’t in his stall. That crazy woman probably forgot to keep him in. Forget this, I’m outta here.

And I can’t really say I blame him all that much. I would have done things differently, but OK.

Rats. So I’m not really mad any more. Not happy, but not mad. I’ll call Stan back tomorrow, on his voice mail, and apologize for Midnight not being in his stall. We’ll see how it goes from there. Definitely some hurt feelings on my part, though.

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