What we expect

I was waiting for the post office to open this morning, it was 8:27 am and the hours of operation were posted there on the glass door. It was clear that the post office opened at 8:30 am. Inside workers were rushing around to get things ready, you could see them through the glass. I was there to purchase a stamp. As I stood there a man came to the door, looked at the hours posted in large letters/numbers and said, “This is ridiculous!” He muttered for the 3 minutes loudly, he was very frustrated. I have no idea what important matters he was waiting to engage.

Later this morning I was at a coffee shop waiting to visit at the nearby hospital. There was a woman sitting at the table next to me, she waiting for her tray of fresh vegetables. When the waiter came and left the tray the woman became irate. “I cannot believe there was no carrots!” Clearly the carrots were important to this customer’s diet needs.

The man at the post office was young, wearing at outfit that clearly reflected his favorite TV show, Duck Dynasty. The woman sitting next to me was in her 40’s or 50’s, dressed in Lululemon. I share these details to demonstrate that this high maintenance society we seem to be living in cuts across all demographic lines; young and old, male and female, white and blue collar. The reality is technology has given us a false confidence that we can expect what we want, when we want it, how we want it. If we can watch and read news and information exactly the way we like it, the opinions we already share, why can’t we expect our purchases to be likewise?

The trouble with this approach is that we end up engaging each other with an impatience and a sense of entitlement that makes community, understanding others and other’s needs a challenging place to be. And guess what? People are not likely to be patient with us, hear us, and understand us, either. It works both ways.

I see people complain that this service is slow, that this person made them wait, etc..and then be frustrated that people are blowing up at them because what they wanted we could not supply fast enough. And so it goes.

Sometimes I deliberately go to cafes where the service is slow. I do this to test my patience and put myself in a place where I try to understand why things are moving at the pace they are. It has been a good discipline.

May we all get what we need, when we need it. And may we be aware of others and their needs as well.