Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Trip to the Bathroom: Number Two

After leaving the bathroom, I went out into the main store to wait for Joe to finish and come get me to continue on our journey. I parked in the broad open area, I was several feet from the hallway to the washroom and as such there was easy passage around me. I am always careful of this, even before I became disabled, I don't want to feel that I'm in the way.

I learned something in the five or six minutes I sat in that space. Something that will leave me pondering, reconsidering and reevaluating much of what has passed in my life. I will certainly understand future events differently too. You see I hadn't noticed something, and now that I have it's a revelation to me.

Here it is:

As I sat there hundreds of people flowed into and out of the store. It's a very busy place on Sunday in the early afternoon. And of those hundreds almost all flowed by me easily, in front of me, behind me, they didn't break stride, they didn't even much notice a big guy in a chair in the entrance way. That's what I planned for, that's what I'd hoped for.

But the big deal is that there was a tiny percentage, but way more than one or two, who managed to find my placement a problem. Who stumbled and fussed in getting around me. And in order for this to happen, it had to be purposeful. It wasn't about me being in the way, it was about them wanting to upset themselves, wanting to bring attention to themselves and to me and to the weight of living that was on their shoulders.

It wasn't about me at all.

It was about their negativity, their need for the world to be a difficult place. If I wasn't there they would have managed to be upset by the tomato display, inconvenienced by the cantelopes. I just happened to be their tool, their pathway to internal discord and gnawing upset.

It's horrible to think that some people end up living with a need to be angered, and inconvenienced, and upset. But I think it's true.

And it really is about them.

And not about me. Or my size. Or my chair. Or where I'm sitting.

I can let the guilt of being a source of their annoyance go -- because, for certain the tomatoes and the cantelope don't feel guilt at all either.


Heather said...

I've seen that kind of attitude in other people too but also I know that I am perfectly capable of being that person.
There are days when I get so wound up by my own clumsiness and lack of spatial awareness. My irritability on those days is all directed at myself but often makes people around me feel bad too.
I know it and try to keep it to myself but don't succeed as much as I'd like.
To all those people who've been there and felt me bristling - I'm truly sorry! I'll try harder :-)

Molly said...

I think people like that NEED to be inconvenienced. They need to be forced to slow their stride, to take a deep breath and reset their heads.

Evelyn said...

Dare you speculate why people such as you describe 'need' to feel negative. What do you think causes them to approach the world so irritably? I know I find myself feeling that way sometimes, alas.

Belinda said...

That is a huge insight; a "wow moment."

Evelyn, may your "wow moment" come too. I don't ever think another person can give these to us, but they are there and we grow by leaps and bounds when we get them!

FridaWrites said...

You definitely shouldn't feel guilt after your observation at all--thanks, this helps me too since I get lashed out at similarly. I was very sensitive about it at first, while now I realize some people are just going to be like that no matter what--that makes me judge them, not feel bad about myself.

We probably all feel the need to be negative sometimes, but I don't target minority groups--people do target us, consciously or unconsciously, because they perceive us as lesser--they're not going to pick on someone they perceive as very high social status or someone who could or would harm them for being an (excuse me) asshole. Mosty it involves grumbling about housework I can't do (my house used to be *perfect*) or things that irritate me.

Anonymous said...

The wheeliecrone says -
Oh, Dave, you are so right. Those people of whom you spoke - I think of them as Centres of the Universe, or rather, I think that each of them believes him or herself to be the Centre of the Universe. Everything is about them. Painful people.
You encountered another Centre of the Universe a few days ago, a person who blocked you from crossing the street and then created an entire drama because you had the temerity to ask her to move aside.
I don't know what percentage of people are Centres of the Universe, but they make themselves known to the other occupants of the planet, every day.

MoonDog said...

am I the only one who found the title amusing?

Anonymous said...

Right on Dave....although do be careful when comparing yourself to fruits and vegetables LOL!

Terri said...

I remember my father telling me when I was a little girl that 'some people don't know they are alive unless they're making themselves unhappy and don't know how to communicate unless they're complaining.' He would say how sad that was (and perhaps we should choose a different path!) Wise man, my father.

It isn't you. It really isn't.

Kristine said...

Good observation... It's really not too hard to spot the people that just don't have enough legitimate problems in their life, is it?

It's true, we all have our moments of just looking for a target to unleash our anger. I certainly have mine! But it's sad when that's how some people approach every day of life.

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

Applause! What a great insight. I've noticed a similar phenomenon when people stare at me and then look away quickly. (I wear big headphones to block sound because I'm autistic and my hearing is extremely sensitive.) It's not really the curiosity of "Oh, that's unusual. I wonder why she wears those?" It's more the feeling of "Why is she doing THAT?" as though they couldn't concentrate on something that is truly bothersome, like war or poverty or disabilism or something.

Kristin said...

People like that will always find a reason to be upset...no matter what. I'm glad you realized you can shake off any guilt at being the source of their inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

I have met several people who aren't happy unless they're miserable.