Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Till Zen

I was at Tesco today.  Yes, I know.  But it was unavoidable.  Anyway, as usual, it was full of squalling kids.  One baby in particular, a little girl about 6 months old, was near the till when I came to pay.  She was getting herself in a right old lather.  Maybe she didn't like the little plastic seat on the trolley that she was in.  Mum didn't seem to be able to calm her down, no matter what she did; very embarrassing and stressful for a parent.  I really felt for her.

As I usually do, I made a quip about it to the cashier, just to lighten things up.  After all, its quite stressful to listen to a baby squawking like that, whether you are the mum or not.  It twangs the heartstrings of even the toughest child-free woman. The cashier, however, was not impressed.  What I got back, instead of pleasantries, was a tirade about how disgusting it was, and how the woman should take the baby out of the chair and out of the shop.  The cashier really was in a filthy mood.  And of course, filthy moods are like the plague.  Passed on easily.

When I got home, I realised I had spent the entire drive brooding over the cashier's rudeness, and what I should have said to her instead of just stomping out of the shop without another civil word.  I had wasted an entire thirty minutes of my life on this other woman's strop, when I didn't even know her.  Bad choice on my part.  But what I wanted to say to her was this:

'You must have to listen to that kind of thing all day.  It must be horrible.  And here you are sitting in a crap job, being paid crap money, and you can't get out of it.  I sympathise.  On the other hand, if you can't do anything about the screaming kids, why not just let it go, and use your energy on something you can do something about.  Something positive and worthwhile. Like having a cheerful little chat with the nice lady in front of you who only came in because she can't get frozen mango chunks for her breakfast smoothie anywhere else. Or think about something nice instead.   Don't waste your energy being angry about something you have to put up with anyway.  Use it for something better.  You'll be happier in the long run, and work won't seem so much like hard work.'

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