Today I had the pleasure of learning what life feels like when, far from spreading the peace, you actually turn people against you.
Baby had gone down for a nap and I raced out of the house to get some errands done. With work days long and weekends full, it’s been hard to get to some of the shopping I’ve wanted/needed to do. Since I wanted to be back before she woke up I was in efficiency mode: route planned out, purchases clear in my head, moving with purpose.
I ended up at the mall and was speed walking to the other end to check out some make-up at the drug store. And yes, I was walking quickly and my mind was not really on what was around me. Did I mention that, at the best of times, I tend to drift in front of the person I’m walking with, cutting them off? (or so my husband lovingly informs me). I got to an intersection and brushed past/in front of two women. I know I swerved to try and avoid them; I think I tried to apologize or say something as my body auto-piloted its way forward. However, apparently it didn’t quite happen because I heard some muttering behind me and then, loudly and sarcastically, “Excuse me!” As in, “you rude SOB, I can’t believe you’d plow into me and not apologize.”
I kept walking. Really, why turn around? I acknowledge that I could have apologized. Probably should have. But at that point I just didn’t want to get into it. Though I had done something not nice, it had been accidental. I could not see that conversation going anywhere positive.
Besides: though probably justified, the rudeness of the response to my rudeness did not inspire me to engage. And this reminded me of my own responses when people do rude, stupid things to me. Like really poor service from businesses, being cut off in traffic, etc. I was reminded of how often that rudeness is likely accidental, or the result of the person’s attention being elsewhere, or reasons that have nothing to do with deliberate rudeness. What am I doing when I reply to seeming rudeness with actual aggressive responses? When I swear or want to at someone for something that only momentarily inconveniences me? In fact, I would argue that that response is worse than the initial [potentially] rude act.
So, out of my anti-social act today I have a new commitment to responding civilly to others even when I don’t want to.
And a new commitment to really watching out for others when I walk.
Recently out: worn-out diaper, 1.5 inches of paper from the file cabinet
Recently in: 3 new pairs of socks, 1 new nursing bra, 2 new undershirts and some make-up (eye shadow & liner). So … in the spirit of one out, one in, I got rid of 1 bra, 2 night shirts & one nightgown I’ve outgrown. The socks, well, they’re kind of needed for winter and add to the wearing-out ones I have on the go right now. As for the make-up, I have NONE aside from this, having purged the rest recently.
I think baby needs me; must go.