There are these two ladies who come in to the Café where I work. The only reason they stand out to me at all is their rudeness. They always come in together and almost defiantly refuse to talk to you. They are too busy talking to each other or just not paying attention.
I ask them, “What can I get for you?’
‘The usual,” is their uniform answer, barely looking up from their conversation, which I am clearly interrupting. I do find this amusing, because for the first 2 years I worked there, I had no idea what their “usual’ was. You’d think that after 2 years of me responding with a blank look would make them plainly state their order.
So why does any of this matter? Why did I let their rudeness poison me for the last hour of my shift? [Indeed, why am I even still thinking about it?]
It is not that I especially need these ladies’ approval, or even that I particularly want to chat with them. It is just that I, like most people, cannot stand to be ignored and really prefer it when people are respectful. However these are ladies well into middle age. They’ve no doubt lived a lifetime of such behavior because it has somehow benefited them in one way or another.
Of course I know in my head that it is not only useless, but senseless to spend any amount of time ruminating over these non-interactions. Even if I were to chastise them or point out their bad behavior it would probably make little difference.
I can cloud my mind with senseless thoughts of disapproval and resentment, [who do they think they ARE, anyway?] or I can let it roll off me like beads of water, as my yoga teacher says.L
Author, Gretchen Rubin says, “The secret is not to care.”
She explains, “Often I invoke this phrase….in a context where I find myself worrying about what other people will think. When I feel myself fussing about something, I ask myself, ‘Do I really care? Or is the secret not to care?’
I think that while this probably is the answer; that it is important to acknowledge that you do care and then move past it.
I’m really not sure that I am even in the place to judge. I have no doubt acted just as badly on a relatively consistent basis. Maybe they are meant to enlighten me to be more mindful of my own behavior, knowing how theirs can affect me so negatively.
Rubin notes an observation of Samuel Johnson. “Since every man is obliged to promote happiness and virtue, he should be careful not to mislead unwary minds, by appearing to set too high a value upon things by which no real excellence is conferred.”
Why should I want to set a high value on these two ladies, who are otherwise inconsequential in my life?