I had a very unpleasant experiece on Saturday. I took my daughter to see Sinterklaas arrive in Aarschot (if you don’t live in Belgium, it’s equivalent to seeing Santa Claus come to town).

Sinterklaas arrives (albeit in a car – presumably his horse got sick on the way here from Spain) and gets up on stage. He announces there are no naughty children in Aarschot…much to my daughter’s delight, and my surpirse 🙂 Everything was good. It was better organised than last year, I met up with a friend and her two children in the queue, and the general feeling was one of conviviality. Apart from being surrounded by other people’s kids, but I did this to myself.

The gates open. Or, more accurately, one of the gates open. There are four gates, which allow everyone in the queue to feel like they’re moving forward. It’s a good idea – in fact, I think it’s the best way to do something like this – but the side-effect is that the individual gates open and close frequently.

My daughter was standing next to my friend’s daughter, and a couple of meters away from me, when the gate opened. They both went through. I started to follow, but the gate closed. I told the guy at the gte my daughter was already in the enclosure and I wanted to be with her. Before he could answer, the lady at the front of the queue started shouting about how her kids were first in line and I should wait.

Hold on, there’s a good point coming eventually.

So, someone told me – a guy who wasn’t bringing any more kids into the enclosure – that I couldn’t be with my daughter when she got her presents from Sinterklaas. I counted to ten, thought of a reply, and then just let it go. I repeated myself to the guy, and he said “Of course!”. In I went. Photos were taken, and smiles were smilen. But I was really pissed off. *Really* pissed off. But, now I’m in a bind. I was with my daughter, as I wanted, and to escalate the issue would be to ruin her kids’ day. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so damn nice.

But, of course, being pissed off generally does no good. So, I figured to myself, there’s got to be some way I can write up this whole episode and turn it into a parable for software development. I thought, and then thought some more, but I couldn’t make that leap. Then I thought to myself, why take that approach? I seem to be surrounded by bloggers who are able to apply everything that happens in their life to software development…but maybe they’re just pissed off at something too, and are writing it out. Or, of course, they’re just a lot more talented than I am.

Did I succeed in avenging myself on the person who made the most fatal mistake ever? No. Because at the end of the day, it’s no harm no foul. If I had said nothing to her frankly insane demand that I didn’t join my daughter, I would have been even more pissed off – but at myself. If I had started an argument, I would also been pissed off – again, at myself for ruining her kids’ day – and I imagine, I would also have missed the exact moment I wanted with my daughter. Sometimes option C is the best – if someone is screwing with you, just ignore them. Don’t give in, dont’ blow up…just ignore them.

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