From the Source

November 17, 2013

I think the best teacher is the most basic and obvious observations of others, to see how you would look doing or acting how others around you act. A recent experience of mine is a perfect example of what I mean. I was at the Main Post Office in Binghamton waiting in line to mail a package. There were a dozen or so people in line ahead of me, and after just a few minutes in line at least the same number were behind me. Only one postal clerk was working. The people first in line had several items and needed a lot of time to do so. Then a fire alarm went off! A recording said that an alarm was sounding in a different building and that customers may continue business unless instructed otherwise. This recording repeated continuously for almost 10 minutes.

It was the perfect time to observe people! What fun! These people had no idea they were giving me material for an entire column. The two men first in line were quite old and obviously knew each other and were talking, oblivious of the ever lengthening line, the wait or the repeating alarm. The other 25 people or so in line however were becoming more and more childish as time ticked on. A woman ahead of me actually yelled “ I have a real job, I can’t wait for this idiot (the clerk)”, a man behind her started making funny voices, mocking the clerk and the alarm, a guy behind me said “ I guess you only need two brain cells to work here”, a guy behind him chirped loudly about wasted tax money in this place, another talked about how all the other employees are probably goofing off in the back room, and yet others muttered words children shouldn’t hear and then tried to get the clerk to notice them rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in disgust.

I stood there – I had a slight smile as to not to look like one of the mocking ones and made direct eye contact with all the customers and waved to the clerk to say hi so he saw at least one supporter in line, and I thought about all of them. The woman looked like she worked in an office somewhere, the postal clerk probably has better pay and benefits and a better real job than she did. The guy who mocked everything looked more stupid than anyone who has ever worked in the post office, the guy who spoke of needing only 2brain cells to work there looked much less intelligent than the experienced clerk, and the clerk looked much less worried about the line and the mob scene than everyone else there. In fact he worked hard and smiled a lot, making sure each person was really taken care of as their turn approached.

Then I noticed that everyone there was fairly well dressed. They all probably made a lot more money than I do and had good jobs with health insurance. Something that I do not. I could have also guessed that most had fancier cars and bigger houses than I do. I wondered then, why all of these people were unhappy and unthankful for all they had and treated the clerk so badly. He didn’t ask to be the only clerk working and have to deal with persons mailing 7-8 packages at once.

I am thankful for anything and everything I have, so why aren’t they? When I came to the counter one woman yelled “hey idiot, wait on that happy one so he will get the hell out of here so we can get back to our jobs”. Referring to me?? Oh…big mistake!! So, I gave the clerk an FMK pen and gave one to each person inline who did not appear to be mean and as I left the counter I waited for the clerk to be waiting on the next person so he wouldn’t hear me and be embarrassed, I told the clerk he was doing a fantastic job and said to the other patrons “hi children, while all of you get high blood pressure, feel like crap for hours because of how you are carrying on and hate everyone, I am smiling and I will be smiling when I leave here because people respect me and they respect me because I don’t act like you do”. I looked each in the eyes as not to allow a reply, smiled and left. A fun time, but very sad at the same time. Please use this example to learn how you can appear to others when you place yourself in a position to be extremely negative towards others.