My faith in humanity, that is.
As you may know I have recently started tutoring. This gives me the rare opportunity to visit, seemingly random, people's homes. It's not everyday that you get the chance to walk into a stranger's home and sit down and chat. I realize that doing this would cause most people serious anxiety, but not me. I love people, especially those I've never met before. It's a "Denney" thing as many members of said "Denney's" have mentioned a few million times. I've always been this way.
Today, as I was leaving the fourth new family I have met in the past week, I walked away so happy because of the warmth with which I had been received. Of course, I realize that I am there to help their children and it isn't costing them a dime so, why wouldn't they be hospitable? These families though, have been more than just hospitable. For example, the mother I met today just opened up and started telling me about the death of her grandmother , a year ago. Another family went out and got me a Gatorade ( I did not mention that I am currently not consuming sugar.)
On the way to my next session I stop off at Office Depot to pick up a printing order and instantly have my, "faith in humanity" bubble popped. I had plenty of time in between sessions so, I wasn't too concerned when I saw a rather hefty line filed in front of the counter and only two poor souls behind that counter. As I'm standing there patiently and happily waiting my turn I notice a woman who appears to be in a bit of a hurry with two large envelopes in her hands that she apparently wanted to mail somewhere. She doesn't get noticed at the side of the counter where she was originally standing so, she hurriedly gets behind me. We had been standing there a few minutes when she says in a not so happy way but, you could tell that she was trying not to sound pushy, "Are you in line or are you waiting for something?" "No, no, I'm in line" I say. With her one empty hand she gestures and says, "Then could you move in that direction?" This is the first puncture to my bubble.
Puncture number two comes from me when a man walks up and asks, "Can I cut in front of you, I have a class at 6:00 (it's 5:30) and I just need a few copies." My first thought was he shouldn't have waited until the last minute, my second, that I am kind of doing the same, as I only have 45 minutes to be somewhere and I don't know how long this is going to take. My response, "Sorry, I have somewhere to be also." Instant remorse. I should have just helped him out, I was in a good mood.
To make up for what I had just done I told myself that I was going to be as kind and as patient as possible when my time comes. Little did I know that there were going to be some missing documents from my order. But, I am happy to report, I kept my cool. After all, it wasn't the girl behind the counter's fault, she was just reading to me what the computer said. When the manager arrived to bring some support for the drowning employees ( the woman behind me had her order royally messed up by the other employee) she explained to the girl behind the counter (not me) that, "that's right, last night when we were printing this the system went down." My thoughts, "you couldn't have called this morning after you emailed to let me know the order was ready?" This stayed in my head, of course, I want to stay patient and kind. So, I wait until, finally, the manager realized that it's in another place on the computer, "Oh yeah, here it is" although it's only a portion of my missing documents. But, I tell the girl it's fine because she found what I needed for today and I'll come back later for the rest. Mean while, over to my right there was a lady who had been complaining loudly about every step of this process for her and all she needed was to shred some papers. I guess she just doesn't like standing in line.
When I get back into my car I'm brought back to reality a bit and I realize that I have plenty of time to go home, grab a quick bite and head over to my last session of the day. An adorable family of seven (or nine, I can't quite figure out who all lives there.) On my way home I had more time to think about how it wasn't really anyone's fault what happened earlier. There are a lot of people who live in that area and there is only one office supply place and they really were doing the best that they could.
This all comes on the heals of hearing a friend talk of how she was talking with a kid about how people aren't inherently good or bad but, we do what we can, we try our best, we try and learn from our mistakes and do better next time. Of course we've all heard this before but, I don't think I had ever really thought about it. And, today it was right in my face. The "rude" girl behind me in line could have been having a really bad day and who knows what events lead up to her acting like it was life or death that her envelopes went out today. Maybe she had that horrible look on her face because she was born that way or someone near her just farted. I don't know. I do know that it isn't my place to decide if she or anybody else is a yucky person based solely on this one encounter. Lord knows I have acted rude, impatient, or down right mean to people and you all know that's not the real me. The real me loves to be around people and interact with them because they are all unique and interesting. The real me knows that perfect strangers will invite you into their homes and give you Gatorade and tell you about their life because deep down, I believe, they want to connect with other people and they like to be around others as much as I do. That being said and thanks to the same friend who got me thinking in the first place, I also know that there are people out there who do not like to interact or connect with others. They are not like me deep down and that I need to respect those people as well.