Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why I will eventually stop going out in public...

Yeah, I'm back. Break was too short, too little time with family. But I'm also reminded of why I often act a bit as a hermit. I saw an awful lot of "me me me, I'm special!" behavior from my fellow citizens while I was out and about.

ALLLLL kinds of stuff.

And it makes me wonder, in a strange way, if the fact that people are getting bent out of shape over petty things, is really not something, in an odd way, to be grateful for.

I mean - if you have the time and energy to devote to complaining that the organic coffee a store sells is not also free-trade, that's evidence that you have enough to eat.

And the sheer fact that we all can, and do, complain about politics, and we do so publicly - that means we have enough freedom that jackbooted thugs are not going to come and frogmarch us off for saying we disagree with the President's policy on something. (Or even, if we think the president is immature and was unprepared for such a serious office. Or even saying worse things)

If you are holding up a line at a Cracker Barrel restaurant while you complain to the checkout-peon that it's not "fair" you are charged a dollar extra for requesting an extra egg in your carry-out order, it means you have enough money to consider GETTING food via carry-out. (And I would observe...a buck would buy quite a few raw eggs, even the fancy cage-free kind I choose to buy).

I tried...and need to start trying do for Lent this thing, to not let myself get irritated by people being people. Because that's something that's all too easy for me. To stand there and fume silently at the person ahead of me in line who takes twice as long to complete their transaction because they're unprepared, or they have to complain about something that has little import or that the person helping them has no power to fix.

Or to get p.o.'d at the person who's driving foolishly, instead of merely watching out for them, and maybe trying to take an alternate route to avoid them.

People do stupid stuff. I can't change them. I can't influence them. And it's not good for me to get upset about it.

But it's hard for me to do. It's actually a harder thing - and I've failed worse at it this Lent - than a lot of other things I've done in the past: giving up chocolate, giving up non-essential spending, limiting Internet time, making myself spend a half-hour a day in reading spiritual stuff and contemplation. (I ALMOST went with that this year. ALMOST. Then I realized that it was comparatively easy for me to do that - as someone said, it's easy to be a saint when you're a hermit isolated from people. What I find much harder is to take a deep breath and let it go when, as I said, "people are people." Actually, it makes me wonder how some of the monastics that closely with maybe a dozen to twenty other people, none of whom you are actually related to, all of whom have annoying habits...even simple things like the person with a deviated septum who BREATHES. SO. LOUD. (and yes, I know and work with someone like that. I know he can't control it but I have to work not to let it bug me))

So, while on the one hand I'd love to stop going out in public...or allow myself free rein to grumble and chastise people for being "stupid"...I can't. So I'm trying to work on letting it go. Letting people be people, telling myself that it's not my job to correct them or even get frustrated at them.

(Of course, if they wind up getting their comeuppance...I wouldn't be averse to that. But then, that's what makes me human and not a saint, I guess).


Jill said...

I struggle with with the same thing. I once got advice to pray for the person who is annoying me. It's not always easy and I don't always remember, but it is a good way to keep perspective.

Heroditus Huxley said...

I don't think they'd want me to pray for them--when I get irritated, my prayers kind of turn from "bless them" types to "smite them" types.

Glad to see you back, Ricki. Hope your time off was good.