At work today, we were a little short-handed. Nothing major, nothing out of the ordinary. I was working at the cashwrap, helping customers, and was the only one up there because everyone else was doing something else. I was helping a customer, another customer was waiting in line, when a woman walks over, plops her stuff down and clearly expects to be waited on next.
I don’t think so.
She got so angry, and so offended when I helped the woman waiting in line before I helped her! She said (rather snottily), “You ought to have someone else up here to help me. I’m in a shopping group, and I’m holding everyone up.” Keep in mind, gentle reader, that she had been waiting MAYBE 3 minutes. She proceeded to be a snit to me for the rest of our relationship, and left in a rather large huff.
One of the women I work with (who underwent a double masectomy for breast cancer) watched her leave, then looked at me and said, “Wow. I truly hope that no real tragedy ever hits her. If she gets that pissy when she has to wait in line, what will she be like if she’s really suffering?”
I thought it was an excellent point.
In a world where terrorists plot to blow innocent people out of the sky; in a world where children are being blown to bits in Beruit; in a world where 1500 people died violently in Bagdahd last month; in a world that still doesn’t have an AIDS vaccine; in a world where children are going hungry and homeless, THIS woman gets her nose out of joint because I wouldn’t let her take cuts and purchase her $100 novelty jacket and $89 blouse before other people who were there first?! Who the hell does she think she is? An American who can drop $200 on clothing without batting an eye, that’s who.
It’s just ridiculous, the amount of ingratitude that exists in this world, you know? We’re always trying to tally the wrongs done against us so that we come out blameless, without ever once really stopping to realize that no conflict is one-sided. If it IS one-sided, it tends to just go away. We think the world owes us so much, but it doesn’t. We don’t have any more of a right to survival than any other human being on this planet. Our life is no more or no less valuable than that two-year-old in Beruit who’s mother is mourning her dead baby tonight.
I guess I just get weary of the hubris contained in a human heart. How blinding it can be. How it can deafen our ears to the cries of our fellow human beings. How it can make us feel so smug and so right and so superior and so critical. But we’re all just dancing on the edge of disaster, my friends. That’s what life is, and what makes life so damn precious, because in the blink of an eye: it could be gone.
So take a lesson from my customer this morning. Think of what you have to be grateful for, and think about all the things that have gotten your panties in a bunch today. Are the panty bunching things really worth it? Mine aren’t. Not really. Not in the big scheme of things.
I let them obscure the joy of:
*A note from Nea’s teacher saying, “Um, Linnea had some pink playdough, and then we couldn’t find it. Don’t be surprised if she ate it.” Which, for some reason, cracked me up. I’m putting that note in her babybook. We’ll xerox it and send it out with the wedding invitations.
*A precious half-hour of family time this morning, spent in our bed, the three of us all nestled together while Linnea sang us the song “Little Blue Man” with great gusto, “‘I wuv you! I wuv you! said the little blue man. I wuv you! I wuv you to BITS! I wuv you I wuv you said the little blue man, and he scared me right out of my WITS!’ Mama? What are wits for? Do I got wits?”
*Time spent with a dear friend last night. Shots were done, stories were told, and laughs were had. True friends are one of life’s biggest blessings, and we so easily forget that–or misplace that trust.
*As I was driving home tonight, it was pouring down rain, and the air was full of that “cool rain on hot asphalt” smell.
*My favorite pair of pajamas are clean, and I’m wearing them even as I type.
*I stood in front of our ridiculously full fridge tonight, complaining to M about how we had nothing to eat. In light of what I wrote above, I’d like to say: I stand corrected. We had a ton of food to eat, I was just too picky to want to eat any of it.
*I have a husband who is doing dishes right this very minute. Dishes! And not expecting me to help!
*I found a bunch of books that I thought got lost in our move. Dear books. Important books. Books that I treasure for the knowledge contained and because I so love the hands that wrote them. Finding them was like finding a box full of friends I thought I’d never see again–I hugged them, I smelled them, I flipped through them and read my favorite passages. It was a good day.
I hope yours was, too. And if it wasn’t, I hope you’re able to scrape out a small little space of peace for yourself amid all the chaos, a moment in time where you can stop, catch your breath, and find something for which to whisper, “Thanks.”