Confession is good for the soul. As a United Church member I have no access to a Confessional box so a blog will need to do. Here goes.
At the Hubbard’s Market today everyone was getting on my nerves. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault but mine. The large crowd meant long line-ups. I’m a little different when it comes to my impatience with line-ups. Whereas most of my friends get cranky with slow service, I get cranky with entitled and demanding customers. I feel the urge to interrupt with, “I think this café is not designed to service your high-end needs, they don’t have any vegetarian cows out back for your dairy needs.” But I don’t say this. I don’t think I have ever complained about slow or insufficient service but I have let customers know that they are, as Sarah Silverman would say, “being ridiculous!”
After explaining to my daughter why I find line-ups so irritating, the entitled middle class folks “it’s all about me”, we decided it was time to go home. Lucy breathed a sigh of relief, no more rants about privileged whining, “first-world problems” as I refer to them. It was crowded today so making our way to the car took some time to find a passage way. As I turned a corner a woman was walking directly toward me. I assumed we would lock eyes, both say “excuse me” and make way for each other to pass. But no, this woman with a purposeful stride kept coming, soon she would run right into me. At the last second I moved to the left and she barreled right on by. No eye contact, no move to the right or the left, she just kept on walking. As I got out of the way I muttered, “WOW!” I must have said it louder than a mutter because Lucy heard me. More importantly another woman immediately came over to me, touched my elbow and said, “You know, she has no peripheral vision.” Oh no I thought. Lucy heard and saw the whole thing. “Why did you say WOW so loudly?” she asked.
Good question. I have been thinking and praying about this. I realize I have a real attitude about how people treat one another. I consider myself to have had a blessed life, that everything I receive is a gift. I don’t want consideration, praise or special treatment. In fact I feel I really deserve to wait, given that I am a white, straight, male, a middle class Christian Minister. I resent people like me expecting things to go their way, entitlement is easily the most irritating human behavior I encounter. Still, I am very self-righteous and judgmental when I see something that appears to be entitlement, people who have what I think they need demanding more. I don’t acknowledge this sin very often, thinking somehow that my advocacy for others reduces the sting of this sin. But I realize that is all self-justifying, as this incident revealed today. These kind of attitudes on my part end up stinging innocent people, all because of my predisposition to assume entitlement from my middle class peers.
I shall have to work on this sin. Today was a good lesson in humility and judgment. “For these and all other sins which I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me…”