Reflection & Action: I chose a poor day to renew my driver’s license. That day, problems with the phone lines made credit and debit card transactions impossible. Customers dug for checks, scrounged for spare change, or dashed down the block to the cash machine.
The cashiers did their best, but progress was slow. A fellow who arrived just moments after I’d entered the queue didn’t appreciate the delay. Like a bull in the paddock, he shifted from foot to foot, snorting and pawing the ground. Jingling the change in his pocket and rustling the papers in his hand did nothing to calm his jangling nerves. Neither the repeated checks of his wristwatch nor the disgusted glares he zinged at the cashiers brought him relief.
A few minutes after his arrival, a newcomer fell in line behind the restless rustler. In the loudest possible voice, the raging bull cautioned her that he hoped she’d brought a book and planned to spend the day because he’d been waiting in line all morning!
In less than five minutes, it was my turn at the counter. I leaned in close to the cashier and told her I hoped she had 911 on her speed dial; I thought our friend, the raging bull, was about to pop an artery. She chuckled and rolled her eyes, clearly relieved to connect with an understanding customer who showed a sense of humor.
Life is full of delays and detours. We shouldn’t be surprised when life doesn’t unfold as expected. Forget snorting and pawing the ground. Look for the humor around you. Empathize with others caught in the bind. You can always find a response that will be far more helpful than a frustrated, raging bull reaction.
Quotes Of The Week: The greatest power is often simple patience. – E. Joseph Cossman
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. – Michael McGriffy
Readers Write: DC writes: Our expectations fuel the spiral we’re all in. Change will come about when each of us makes the conscious decision to relax our expectations of everyone around us. We must realize that every time we expect instant service, response, food, and entertainment, we’re validating all of the instant demands made on us.
The golden rule defines what will save us from ourselves: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What would happen if irate customers in line at the bank, food outlet, or post office would think about how they’d feel if they were the ones serving that line of impatient, rude, and irate customers. Maybe they’d cut some slack for the poor sots who are trying their best to make everyone happy.
Summer Reading Bookshelf: Here’s a read to calm life down: One Minute Mindfulness by Donald Altman. Subtitled: 50 simple ways to find peace, clarity, and new possibilities in a stressed-out world. New World Library 2011.