Have you ever had a huge pile of self-realization dump on you all at once? I did yesterday.
I chose to eat lunch at one of my favorite spots, Chipotle, and as I was standing in line waiting, watching the customer in front of me, I felt genuine anger and some disgust well up inside of me. As she went through the line she was asked all the varying questions. It went something like this:
Employee: How can I help you?
Lady: I need a bowl for here.
Employee: Brown or white rice?
Lady: White rice. With extra. Like a lot of extra.
Employee: Black or pinto beans?
Lady: No beans. Just the fajita veggies. Like a lot. More than that. I mean a lot a lot.
The employee obliged but was running out of room in the bowl and seemed a bit concerned.
Employee: Would you like hot, medium or mild salsa?
Lady: I want all the salsas. And a lot. Also I want sour cream, extra sour cream and a lot of cheese. Oh and guacamole. And more than one scoop.
I bit my tongue pretty hard here. Holy cats! What was wrong with this person? This isn’t how you are supposed to act at a restaurant! My internal dialogue was going a mile a minute as I got really judgey with barely enough control to keep it in. I thought about how she was dressed in her way too tight shirt, way too short shorts, covered in poorly scrawled tattoos of religious figures and what I assumed were baby names. And then quiet. My internal judgment stopped and I heard one question.
Why are you doing this?
I started the process of answering the question. Thank God I didn’t actually audibly respond.
Why was I doing this? The lady obviously was not meeting my expectations of ordering etiquette. And when I became upset by my own invisible rules I started a search and destroy mission assault on her outward appearance. She didn’t dress how I thought people should dress. She made poor art choices and worse placement choices. And then another question.
Who the hell are you?
Wait. What? I pondered that for a minute. That was a good question. Who was I? Who was I to determine how all people should order? Who was I to determine how all people should dress? Who was I to cast judgment on someone who was just ordering food.
I began to run through scenarios where she might have been raised where a meal out was rare and to make sure every dollar was worth the expense, every indulgence must be taken. Maybe she was feeding multiple people? I really didn’t know. It didn’t matter. She paid her money the same as me and enjoyed her lunch. I ordered my food to go and ate in my truck as I pondered my actions. I hadn’t hurt anyone else but I felt ashamed of my judgment.
Why is my expectation that all people behave as I was raised to behave? Sometimes those behaviors that I emulate and were taught are wrong. Very wrong. I don’t achieve a higher life rank because of a different code of living.
From a broad view I think humans have some basal survival instincts built into them. Existence is easier when others reflect the same behaviors we do. When someone acts out of the norm the subconscious decides this is a threat. We jump to action or at least start to process why something is different and make skewed conclusions without research or discovery. Dogs and cats do this too. So do fish and most animals. I’m not a psychologist but I am sure there is some law or theory that explains this.
I concluded that I was flawed, made vows to get better and allow people to just be without my internal dialog. They never even knew it was happening but I did.
Being closed minded and internally judgmental is a barrier in every single walk of life.
In the kayak community we get preachy when someone asks about a $300 kayak option. We get bothered by differences of opinions. We have a known problem of everyone having a different definition of what “kayak fishing” actually is. Paddle, pedal, power and others are all dividing lines. The bigger problem is we want our personal definition to be seen by everyone as correct and argue to try to sway people to agreement.
If we allowed people to fish how they want (within the law of course) and were more accepting of people and their individual situations rather than trying to cookie cutter folks into agreement circles would we not see our community grow even faster?
If something you were doing or saying hurt someone else would you purposefully continue to do it? Even if it was something you liked? Some will say yes and some will say no but the root of the problem with my judgment doesn’t lie with any of you out there. It is right between my ears. I control my actions and thoughts. People of different circumstances, upbringings and family dynamics can never be expected to meet my personal expectations. I have opinions but cloaking others in them is unjust.
This is really more of a confession on my own issues rather than a plea for action but I can tell you today my experience in the lunch line was a lot happier. Even with a long wait time because of a complex order. Enjoy your food sir. I know I will today.