Friday, August 6, 2010

is the glass half full or half empty?

One of the most formidable, annoying, and insipid tasks to do is serving water. When my uncle and his family visited last month, I had the "honor" of performing this task repeatedly. Every other hour, my uncle, lying on the sofa, the t.v.'s remote control in his hand, would ask me "if I minded getting him a glass of water". Of course I minded. It was summer. I was languid and hot. I wanted to be in the basement, hanging out with my cousins. Despite my opinion, I went to the kitchen, washed the glass, and then deluged it with water. The few seconds it took for the water to flow from the refrigerator's nozzle to the glass, was enough to get me thinking: was a full cup of water really necessary? An ephemeral thought, I ignored it, and went, forcibly smiling, to my uncle to fulfill my task. I saw him gulp down a portion of the water, thank me, and give me the glass -- with half a cup water remaining -- back. Astounded as was, I took it and drained it down the sink. No, I answered to my previous interrogation, a full glass of water was not necessary.

At every restaurant, the waiters inundate the glasses so even a slight movement on the table or a small, tentative pause before a sip, could spill the drink. The other day, my mom served my dad's friend a whole glass of orange juice only to discover that he was hyperglycemic.  At the movies, you pay $3.99 for a small soda, which inadvertently is left almost full in the theater's empty seats. As different as these situations might be, they're analogous by the fact that the drink -- either water, juice, soda or coffee -- is wasted because quite frankly, no one drinks a full glass. I mean, to substantiate my argument, next time "people-watch" at McDonald's. People keep their cups underneath the vendor, until they are filled with Dr. Pepper, sit down, drink a couple of sips, and throw it away: half way done. Why in the first place would you take too much? Again, I answer my own question: for respect. for dignity.  

If a waiter, one day, someplace, poured half a cup of water, he would be looked down upon, shamed, and maybe even fired. Because, filling a glass all the way + serving it = I respect you. It's the reason we, yes me included (hence the we), perpetuate this cycle, this custom, this tradition. As the childhood phrase goes: treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat people with respect (filling a glass all the way), and in return, you'll be respected. 

So, ask the world: is the glass half full or half empty? The world will answer half empty, because people are never satisfied with a half cup. I, on the other hand, am waiting for the day someone serves me half a glass of water. 


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