I don't want to sound ungrateful.
I don't want to seem unmannerly.
I don't want to strike you as unappreciative.
But I want to tell the truth.
I'd like a day where I didn't have to say 'thank you, thank you so very much.'
I'd like a day where I didn't have to overtly show my gratitude.
I'd like a day where I didn't have to carry the burden of gratefulness.
But I'm afraid to tell the truth.
I was brought up to say 'yes, please.'
I was brought up to say 'no, thank you.'
I was brought up to show gratitude for what was given.
But truth is bursting inside of me, it will out.
Today I said 'thank you' to a clerk who moved a trolley, of stuff to be put on the shelf, dead centre of an aisle that I needed to go down. Others, those who walk, shifted to the side and went on their way. Silent. Not at all grateful for the ease of their passageway. Me? I waited for the clerk to come, labouriously unlock the wheels, and push the cart away. Then they looked and waited, for the gratitude to flow. And I said 'thank you' I like saying 'thank you' I like showing appreciation. But it was the thousandth time I've had to do that. I want to pass in silence. I want to simply go in and out. I simply want to do what others do, they take for granted, I take with gratitude.
Today I said 'thank you' to one in a stream of people who stopped to let me use the ramp. The ramp is right by three stairs. The ramp takes up about a quarter of the space - the stairs are wide an inviting. But everyone wants the ramp. Some run up it. Some jump in front of me, not wanting to slow their pace, not wanting to take the stairs. Some simply are oblivious to me, with no option, waiting for a break in the stream of people. When someone finally stops to give me passageway, they look at me, expectantly, and I say 'thank you, thank you very much.' And I do mean it. I really do. But sometimes I want to simply go up the ramp that was made for access. Sometimes I want the one option for me to actually be an option for me. Sometimes I want to silently ascend.
Today I said 'thank you' to a group of people standing and talking on a sidewalk. They stood, confident in their privilege to take up as much space as they want. They left a bare minimum of space along side. Others, those who didn't need extra space just slid along side. I couldn't. I stopped. I waited. I began to ask them to move, I was shushed. SHUSHED. I waited until the woman with the finger up, teacher to unruly student, master to servant, nobility to nobody, finished what she was saying. Then she looked at me, granting permission to speak. I asked them to move over so I could get by. They did. Waiting with eyes that waited for a signal, a sign, of my gratefulness. I said 'thank you' but I didn't mean it. But it didn't matter if it was meant. Some people are completely comfortable with the forced gratitude of the lesser - it's like oil to the flame of superiority.
I want to tell the truth.
I'd like a day where I could have gratefulness in my heart but not constantly on my lips.
I'd like a day where I could silently accept the gift of access, silently make my way in and out, down and through, across and over.
I'd like a day where I could feel what people feel when they simply expect to go where they want to go, do what they want to do, have what they expect to have.
Yes, I'd like a day like that.
Just one would do.
A vacation from the expectation that I live for the gratification of the needs of others to profit, in any way, from my needs.
I've told the truth.
But, oddly, it hasn't set me free.