The Tude

I was tired, hot, and frustrated.  I had gone into a store for something.  I don’t think I found what I wanted, but I was leaving with some things. The children were much younger.  I felt like I had spent more of my time trying to keep them by my side than I did looking for what I needed.  A few minutes turned into an hour or more.

I had been to the store before so I knew the rule.  Customers were not allowed to leave with their carts.  That day I didn’t care. I had three or four children with me.  I was tired, and my hands were full. So. I took the cart.

It felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode.  Was it the one when George tried picking from the garbage?  No. Maybe it felt more like the one when he tried to regift a stained sweater hoping that the recipient wouldn’t notice.  Yeah.  Maybe it was that one.  I figured I could just do my thing and leave.  So.  I did.  I chose to leave with the cart.

I approached the door.  And then I left.  I thought I had made it without anyone noticing. I was wrong.  The lady from the store noticed me and called out to me.  “Maybe she’ll stop,” I thought. Nope.  She didn’t. She caught up to me to take the cart.

And then I looked at her and tried to explain to her my situation.  She didn’t seem to care. I was so upset at her that it was quite obvious.  I had a tude.

I walked away with the children to the car probably huffing and puffing at that point.  Until I heard in my thoughts the lyrics to an old song, “She works hard for the money. She works hard for the money. She works hard for the money so you better treat her right.”

And then I realized that this lady who I was so upset at was really just trying to do her job. I couldn’t just leave.  My children were with me, and I knew I owed the lady an apology.  I caught up with her and apologized to her. I think I even told her I was a Christian, and I didn’t treat her the way I should.

What would happen if we shook off the tude?  What would happen if we looked past our own frustrations and treated people with more respect?  Maybe she could have bent the rules.  Maybe she could have been more compassionate.  But the point is my attitude toward her didn’t make me right.  It just made me feel worse.

Tudes have a way of making us bitter if we hold onto them.  And this life is way too short to get hung up over the little things.

IDENTITY

She had just moved to our department.  And every time she answered the phone she would identify herself as the former secretary of President Nolan.  At first I thought that’s just her way of refreshing someone’s memory.  But the more I heard it, I realized something.  I realized that she had built her identity on the foundation of having worked for someone very important.

I understood what it was like to have worked for someone like that.  And I also understood what it was like after that person retired. I’ve seen people treat me with the utmost respect because of who I worked for. And I’ve also seen people treat me completely differently once that changed.

People are funny like that. I think it stems from insecurity.  Fear of rejection.  I think those who work hard at staying connected never feel connected to anything or anyone including themselves.  And that to me is a lonely world.