Sometimes the world says “no” when we wanted a “yes.” And sometimes, you realize later that “no” was the better answer.
It all started when I made reservations at a restaurant for my husband, Dave, and I. Because of Covid and knowing that the weather in Berkeley might be sunnier than potentially foggier San Francisco, I asked for outdoor seating. An hour before we were to be seated, I received a call from the restaurant. The hostess told me that although I had requested outdoor seating, it was full. However, she would seat us right next to the open window.
I wasn’t a happy camper and tried to convince her otherwise, but it didn’t work. When we arrived at the restaurant, I inquired again about eating on the patio, but, as she had informed us earlier, we were seated indoors.
It was right next to a very large open window. I sat on the bench that ran along the wall next to it. Dave sat opposite me.
That morning I had some intestinal issues, but I was feeling fine now and enjoyed my light Japanese lunch while sipping some genmaicha tea. After lunch I went to the bathroom and returned to our table. All was fine, until very suddenly it wasn’t.
I broke out in a cold sweat as the room started to spin. “I think I’m going to pass out,” I blurted to Dave who was seated opposite me. Next thing I know, without me being conscious of it, he is beside me wiping my head with a cold wet towel. I must have blacked out again because what I remember after that was five paramedics helping me lie down while they attached various medical devices to my arm.
In the emergency room, I was feeling better as all sorts of tests were being performed. The results didn’t show any reason to keep me in the hospital, so I was released.
Once home, I thought about the eventful day, I was grateful for the hostess’s “no” to my request to be seated outside. Had we done so, there was a very good chance that when I collapsed, I would have fallen off the chair onto the cement pavement. Instead, when I blacked out, the small section of wall supporting the window, prevented me from falling to the floor. In addition, I was already seated on a bench when the paramedics asked me to lay down. There would have been none outside.
I am fine now and recovering nicely. The incident has also taught me a great lesson. We may not like hearing the “nos” in our life but sometimes they can be our lifesavers.
—Allen Klein is the author of The AWE Factor
-Allen Klein ©2021