Today was laundry day. I decided to get to the Laundromat in the morning so that I could have the rest of the day to job hunt and write. I like this place because you can drop your laundry off or take care of it yourself. I was conversing with one of the laundry attendants when a tall, white, preppy-looking man walked in. His determined stride and facial expression made me think something had happened. He appeared to be heading in the direction of one of the attendants. It turns out that he was heading toward the back to use the bathroom. He never stopped to ask. The attendant had to ask him where he was going.
Within minutes, he walked out with the same determination as when he walked in. He never bothered to close the bathroom door and he never stopped to say thank you. It was as if no one were present in the Laundromat. Like a zombie he shuffled in and out.
I know that sometimes we get caught up in our own stuff and without realizing it, we forget courtesy. We forget that other people are around. The laundry woman glanced at me and shrugged. I don’t think she was bothered by his need to use the restroom. I think the absence of politeness was the issue.
Once I was in the supermarket and didn’t know that I had backed into someone’s path. It wasn’t until I felt a tap on my shoulder that I realized what I had done. I apologized immediately. I remember she laughed and said, “Don’t worry about it honey, you’re in the zone. I do that myself sometimes. My son says I shop like a ninja!” And other times, I’ve received dirty looks. It depends on a person’s mood. We all get annoyed occasionally. And it’s okay, as long as it doesn’t escalate into violence.
There’s so much going on in the world today—so much going on in our individual lives. I wonder if it’s possible to practice being more present. I wonder if it would create a connection with others and result in more dialog and consideration.
Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever been lost in your own stuff and by chance offended someone?