which also means the Angry People are out. In full force.
Today I found myself at Target. As I was checking out after my leisurely (half hour) stroll through the entire store to buy a pack of cold cuts, I saw the first Angry Person in front of me. She was yelling at the cashier for giving her the wrong change. Apparently the cashier had dropped a dime and couldn't find it. The transaction was over, so she couldn't pull another dime out of the register. The customer was angry for being short by that dime. She yelled. She called the manager over. He was confused. (In all fairness, this was a lot of noise over a dime). He took the time to listen to her. (We all listened, as she was explaining it quite loudly and with anger.)
He took a dime out of his pocket and handed it to her. She stared at him.
"You think this makes it right?" she demanded.
"It makes up for the dropped dime," he explained, "and the amount of change you'd be short."
Unsatisfied, the customer looked at him narrowly, "SHE dropped it. Not me." She went on a tangent about how adding and subtracting isn't hard, holding money should be easy, and she should be given back more than a dime for her considerable trouble in losing the first one.
Those of us uncomfortable enough to be near to this spectacle just stared. Silently suspended in unified disbelief.
The lady left. The manager left. Suspended reality reactivated once more. It was my turn to check out. (Finally.)
Only, now it was the cashier's turn to be Angry.
"Can you believe her?" she asked me.
"Um...." I began, reluctant to comment without knowing the lady in question or her situation. "This time of year can be stressful......"
(Please just ring me out).
"Whatever. I don't do the change--the register does."
(Well, if we're going to put a fine point on it, the register calculates the change but it takes the hands of a human to dole it out. Just saying.)
She mumbled through my time with her, tossing my items in a bag, and handing me a receipt with a gruff, "Whatever" by way of departing greeting.
Meanwhile the lady in the lane next to me felt the 2-people-ahead-of-her line was too much. She shoved her full cart forward (blocking the lane) and left.
"This is ridiculous!" she declared, storming out. 2 people ahead of her. Just two. Each of whom had a small handful of items.
What the smack, people? Come on.
Look, I know this can be a stressful time of year. November comes and suddenly, we're all certain we're in a hurry. And that no one else is. And they're all out to get us.
But wouldn't it be great if this year we all just calmed down a bit? Tamed that inner rage that tells us we cannot be patient when something doesn't go our way? Take a deep breath when we have to wait in line at a store? Smile and treat others with respect instead of spilling our own frustrations out on them?
Wouldn't that just be dandy?
Believe me, I'm not judging anyone, not even these three Angry People. I have enough inner grumbles going on of my own when I go into stores this time of year. We all do.
But this year I'm going to try to put silver linings on it. All of it. The crowds, the busy-ness, the rudeness--I can't control any of that. I can, however, control me.
I will wait with patience.
I will smile with grace.
I will slow down with peace.
I will open my eyes and really see others--
(And I will repeat this mantra as necessary until it happens).