Update: it is now day 6 of back pain and it has only subsided somewhat because I relented and went to the doctor. In other words, I’m still angry!
I made it out of my house on day two (irrationally thinking things were getting better at that point) to do the weekly grocery run that didn’t get done over the weekend. After having struggled to walk and push the cart for a good 45 minutes, I finally unloaded the groceries in my trunk and went to put the cart away. Our store has large carts and small carts, and at the cart collector (For lack of a better term. My quick online research also led me to people calling them cart corrals, but I just don’t think I have it in me to call it that) there was a lane for both the large and the small carts. I went to push my large cart in, and of course, right in the middle of the lane was a small cart, gumming up the works and not allowing me to fully push my cart in to the connection. I pushed my back more than I wanted to, but I rearranged and got the carts into the correct section while cursing out whoever did this in my head.
This seems like a small inconvenience, right? A first world sort of a problem if there ever was one, but I think there is more to it than that. At first I thought it was just another sign of me growing more and more crotchety, but it is a sign of something else that always seems to anger me. This action irrationally upset me in the same way as watching someone clumsily attempt to back into a parking spot, or watching a driver ride in a lane they know will eventually end only to try to get over at the last second and cut someone off. In all of these situations, there are either posted rules and expectations or assumed rules and expectations. In all of these situations, these people knowingly and willfully ignore those rules and expectations in order to either save themselves some time, or because they think their way just works better.
All of the actions that really upset me involve people doing things that negatively affect others for selfish reasons. I see someone making me wait behind them as they take an extra minute to back into a space so that they can save 10 seconds when they leave. I watch those people ride in a lane that they know will disappear, saving themselves a few seconds of traffic time while I sit in a traffic line that keeps getting longer because of people cutting in at the last minute. That person with the cart either didn’t read, or just didn’t care about the signs and created a problem for someone else to handle. Maybe I’m not just getting old and waving my fist at the clouds (Simpson’s reference anyone?), maybe I just dislike selfish people.
I wonder, sometimes, if I think and act the way that I do because I am a teacher. I have spent parts of my adult life trying to convince teenagers of the importance of following directions and explaining what could happen if they miss an important step. I have spent endless hours trying to get them to see the bigger picture of how they fit into the world and how they can become productive citizens of the world while also realizing their own dreams.
Is that why seeing people either blatantly or ignorantly disregard the expected norms and rules disappoints me so much, or is it the other way around? Do I naturally see the world in this way, and is that what makes me perfect for my job?
I think in some way, no matter how much we are “built” for the job we end up doing, our jobs definitely affect the way we look at life. I probably spend way too much time thinking about trivial things like putting a shopping cart in the correct spot, or generally keeping up with assumed traffic standards, but I’ll make myself feel better and tell myself that what I’m really upset with is the fact that not everyone shares the all for one and one for all mentality that I think we need to make the world a better place. I think we are all influenced in some way by the job we do every day, but I also think that groups of like minded individuals go into similar fields and bring those traits and views with them. I’m annoyed by these selfish people because I’m a teacher and coach who sees how selfishness can ruin harmony, but my hatred of selfishness definitely influenced my decision to become a teacher.