Saturday, December 17, 2011

What The Barber Said

Joe was getting his hair cut. Our barbershop (oops, salon) is tucked away in the corner of a huge department store near us, so I went shopping. I picked up a couple of things and then came back to wait for Joe. We both have the same barber, who was working alone in the shop, so I pulled in the entrance way beside the counter. We were all chatting and laughing. In a flurry of energy a woman arrived, announcing that she had a noon appointment and demanding to know where the 'stylist' was who she had an appointment with. Our barber said that she'd be in momentarily.

With a frustrated flourish the woman threw herself on one of the chairs. She stated that she didn't have time, that's she's too busy to even wash her hair, that the stylist should be respectful of the needs of customers. It was five minutes to noon. Then after loudly complaining about waiting, she announced that she was going to go and return some nylons in the store and she'd be back. The stylist had better be there or there's be 'hell to pay.'

After she left, the spirit lightened for a moment - like a malevolent spirit had been exorcised, and our barber said, "Wow, it makes you wonder if people ever think about the impression that they are making on others." I said, trying to be nice, "Well, she did seem stressed out about time."

Instantly our barber responded, "What, and being patient and understanding takes time?"

That statement has stayed with me ever since he said it.

I realize that I sometimes blame time for the choices I make, the way I react, the shortness of my temper. I don't know a single person, not one, who doesn't constantly say that they are wildly busy. And not just during the holiday, year round. So, in effect, if one is rushed every day, then it isn't 'busy' it's 'normal'. Perhaps we've all, societally, come up with an excuse that is convenient to explain away the loss of manners and the increase in selfishness. Perhaps our 'i' products - phones, pads, pods - are well named. It's all about what 'i' need, what 'i' want, what 'i' expect. If I am the only important person in the room, then what the hell do I care about what U think (sorry, I don't have time to type out 'you' lol). And besides, U is twelve letters down the line, and 'i' is frustrated at having to wait for the eight in front.

So, I'm going to be careful with time.

I'm busy.

That's normal.

I'm rushed.

That's normal.

Kindness and patience.

I want that to be the 'new normal'.


Anonymous said...

Dave you are so right again! Sometimes I catch myself getting very impatient in conversations or interactions just because there is the next task to do, the next bus to catch or the next leisure thing to do.

Everything is getting faster and one has to be more flexible in planning ahead. You do not know the timetable of public-transportation any longer. You look it up in your i-thing. If you are not in time for an appointment you just call and tell you are late. You do not try as hard as before the i-thing age to get there in time. Sometimes it is easier to just call someone or write an e-mail than trying to talk to them while sitting in front of them (happend to my while talking to a psychiatrist because of my sleeping problems, three times he went out to talk on his mobile phone - grrrr).

And I hate that I have to listen to all those dumb conversations from people using the same public transportation that I use. Just because there is a flat-rate you do not have to do conversations "what he said - and what she said - and I am here now - and what she did wear" loudly so that everyone else has to listen.

Latley I think that only those people should have mobile phones who really really need them.

And I very often have to tell myself to be patient with others and myself. Just because our world is getting faster and faster I dont have to follow that trend. I am naturally slow...


Anonymous said...

(I !!!!) Love this post, well written - and (you, as I have enough time not just to say u! are) spot on! x

Colleen said...

I totally agree Dave!

Some of your posts about how people treat each other are about what my mother called "common courtesy" - we have lost it in all this "I-ness". Time to reclaim it!


Jazz said...

Great posting, Dave.

I think that our society (maybe more than Canada and the US) has lost it's sense of community, of caring for other's needs. Now it's all me, me, me. You hit it on the head with all the "i" products- they reinforce the self above all else, others be damned.

Over the past 20 or so years the sense of entitlement has become so embedded it's become a freakin' birthright. *Shudder* How did this happen??

Common courtesy seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird (along with it's cousin common sense), consideration of others is passe, and antiquated notions of treating others the way in which you would like to be treated have been mothballed. And left those of us with chronic health conditions and disabilities reeling, fighting to be treated with respect, caring, and dignity.

For how can we be treated with any form of decency if decency is no longer the rule of the day?

Seems we have been left to our bases instinct- survival. And survival of the fittest is the new rule of the day. Which leaves me totally screwed, for I am neither fit nor totally able any longer to fight.

Kindness costs us nothing. Consideration is so easy. Our humanity has not changed. While we may rail on and on about our special uniqueness, we still coexist. Wouldn't it make sense to make our lives better instead of worse?

Taking the brief moment to stop and consider other's needs doesn't place a huge strain our own time. Come to think of it, if our time is so strapped that we can't think of anything but ourselves then we really need to examine our life balance, don't you think?

There should be no excuse for treating others poorly.

Sunshine and Shadows said...

This is a great reminder to all of us. Thank you!

Kristin said...

I frequently lament the loss of common courtesy and am doing my best to drill it into my kids' heads. Great post.