Just About Anyone Can Become Irrational If Given The Right Circumstances, But…
by: Janet Arango
It happens to everyone at least once in a while. We’re in a hurry. We run in someplace to grab a few items, maybe a soft drink, and something else. And ‘POW!’ we’re smack in the middle of a dispute. Suddenly the fur’s flying, and our distress is out there running the show; decorum… completely forgotten. Nothing fits, nothing works, and nothing we do resembles our normal, sensible character. And ultimately, everyone leaves the situation feeling really stupid and miserable. With hindsight, thereafter, struggling to reach full-bloom, and for the rest of the day we’re thinking about how we could’ve or should’ve said or done, this or that.
Well, one of those annoying incidents happened to me the other day. This cashier actually calls us over, and out of our line.
“I’ll take you over here,” she insists. But within the time it took us to leave our line, and get over to her register, she was already deeply embroiled in giving some traveler directions across town. So we stood there… and we stood there… and we kept standing there…
“If we’d stayed where we were,” I thought, “we’d be finished and on our way by now!”
This is the moment… Now what? Do we make raving idiots of ourselves, as we start filling up with exasperation? Where do we go from here? How do we escape with our sensibilities intact? The incident has no solution, no magic wand, and what’s worse, every situation that sneaks up on us is always different. What do we do now… explode?
I’m in a hurry…!
“What would someone I admire do?” I thought. Who do I admire? Who would know how to handle this? Who would know how to complete the transaction, and exit unembarrassed and unscathed? Humm…
Well, maybe she’d grab the right amount of cash, politely put it down on the counter, and smile appropriately, while getting the attention of the cashier. Then, perhaps, she’d slowly begin walking out of the store. So I dig, and I dig some more… I don’t have the right amount of cash, not even close.
“I’m running late!” No… she wouldn’t yell that.
“Excuse me… Miss…” So I say that, but she ignores me. About now, I’m inwardly seething. What would someone I admire do?
Why do I have to be extra calm because someone else is being extra rude?
“Ma’am,” I say to the woman asking for directions. “If you would just allow me to borrow the cashier for a moment, I’ll be on my way and you can have her back again,” I smile sweetly… even sincerely.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she responds, immediately stepping away from the counter, while smiling back.
Within less than three minutes, we were out the door heading towards the car, and noticing all the happy little girls, in the SUV, that the female driver was chaperoning. Suddenly I begin to realize I’m not so upset, and that they look like mini baton twirlers… cute, with pink makeup on their cheeks… really cute.
And as I pull out of my space, with a full tank of gas, and a gallon of milk, it occurs to me that drawing on someone I admire, and considering what that person would do, doesn’t diminish me. It doesn’t diminish me to become extra calm when someone else is being extra rude.
In fact, “what it did,” I thought, driving away, “was force me to become someone I admire.”