I am trying to understand why for the past few days I’ve allowed others to piss me off so many times. I try to blame hunger…the need for a nap…or even just hormones during that time of the month to explain how easily I’m being annoyed so much this week. Frequently, I go to my cuz to help me understand why I’m so annoyed by things that I know I can’t control. But let me give you a “for instance” to help you understand the context of what I’m talking about.
The other day we went to the supermarket…we each had a handful of items we needed to purchase so we chose to use one of those rolling basket-on-wheels instead of a huge shopping cart…especially since the place was so crowded it would be easier for us to maneuver around anyway. We wait on line behind like 8 other people…it really did seem as though all of Puebla happened to have been shopping just in our Mega at the same time as us. I was hungry…but I had eaten so my getting impatient should not have been blamed on that. Regardless…my three items were placed in one plastic bag by the old lady at the end of our lane who bagged groceries and my cuz’s 6 items and her 5 (no, 6) gallon jug of water were put in two bags. We each tipped the woman 10 pesos and as my cuz was paying, I asked the old woman if she could get us a cart to use to wheel our stuff out to my truck…knowing that the rule is that the basket-on-wheels is not allowed out the front door…leaving us stranded with out items to lug all the way to our vehicle. When I asked the woman for the cart, I even motioned towards one that was just sitting there…when she explained something about how that cart was being used to signal that the neighboring aisle was closed…in case the fact that there was no cashier at the register didn’t give it away.
Now mind you, this is one of the biggest supermarkets in Puebla, a city of over 6 million people…with, I’m pretty sure, no shortage of grocery carts! I told her I hadn’t needed that specific cart, but had just needed one since we had brought our items down the aisle with a plastic basket-on-wheels which we knew we couldn’t take outside with us. (This, of course, was after this sweet old lady had already pocketed the 20 pesos we had tipped her.) Even the cashier told her to find us another one! But she refused to leave her post at the end of the line, maybe fearing that the next customer might have the chance to bag his own groceries, possibly costing her a tip?!?!
I was livid…seeing only red…I excused myself back up the aisle where we had tucked our basket under the counter, to keep it out of the way for the customers on line behind us, to get the basket-on-wheels again for me to then put our bags into it to wheel them out to the truck…along with the 5 gallons (no, 6 gallons) of water that my cuz was purchasing. And what do you think happened when we got to the door? That’s right! The guard wouldn’t let us pass through with our basket-on-wheels so we had to now reload all our groceries into any of the carts just sitting there to take the home stretch out to our vehicle. How many different ways can I spell inefficiency?
There’s context for you…
Am I crazy for having lost my shit over this woman? Am I crazy for having lost my shit when I then couldn’t walk out of the supermarket with my basket-on-wheels because this woman couldn’t go find me a cart?!?!
In this case, one might say, “Catherine, What’s wrong with you? Couldn’t you go find your own cart?!?!” I mean, after we had tipped this woman 20 pesos to do her job, I guess I just hadn’t expected her to do such a half-ass job!
But I think that my problem goes deeper than that! I think that my problem is with things that I can’t control or accept as they are…
Let me give you another for instance…
Two years ago, my cuz and I joined a gym together. I had prior experience with this gym so I knew the deal with how to pay for the gym, but my cuz was fairly new living in Mexico and really had no idea how some things worked yet. When it came time to pay our bills, I knew that the only times you could go to the gym to “pay your bill” was M-F from 9-5 and since she works M-F 7-7, I knew that was never possible for her. So I told her I’d take care of it for her since I had to pay my own bill anyway. So the first month…she gave me her gym card along with the 400 pesos to pay the bill. I went to the gym to get the slips you need to actually pay the bill at the bank. I waited on line for them for more than 30 minutes, I showed the woman at the gym the two cards and explained how I need the slips for both of us.
Ready for this?
She tells me that she can’t give me the slip for my cuz because she’s not physically there. I explain that she’s my cousin and that since she’s working then this was how her bill would get paid. “Oh, well, if she’s your cousin, then I can give you her slip.” Huh? Ok, well that’s how she became “my cuz.” I take the slips and go to the bank…wait on line for 30 minutes for a deposit ATM where I can pay the bills…requiring me to enter a 35 digit reference ID number (for each of us) in order to get a receipt which I then have to take to a copy shop where I’ve also been forced to wait for over 30 minutes to have each receipt copied twice to be turned into the gym as proof of payment. (I mean after entering that 35 digit code you’d think that there’s some sort of paper trail that says I’ve paid the bills, right?…I guess not.)
Tell me, any way to make that 6 step, 2 hour process shorter in your opinion? I did that every month for us for over a year until finally the gym closed for remodeling and we ended up falling in love with running outdoors instead of at the gym. (Of course, if the gym spent the money remodeling to include machines where you can go to pay your bills directly, I might choose to rejoin that gym again…quien sabe!)
But the point of this story…is to say that back then I was more accepting of how things were. And suddenly I’m not anymore. I seem to get annoyed and pissed off more now…frustrated with the system I used to accept as it was. I seem to lose my patience for the same things that can not be changed or controlled. I preach all the time to people who have control issues when I explain to them how when they go to the beach, I ask them what happens to the water. It goes out…it comes back in…and I ask them if they could ever stop that from happening. That’s the way they should be viewing everything going on in their own lives that they can’t control…whether that be a boss, an employee, a friend/work colleague and their decisions, or a boyfriend/husband and his decisions…or the actions of a cashier in a supermarket. The ONLY thing in your life that you can control is YOURSELF!!!
I know this! But why do I now keep forgetting it?
Spoken so well by Elsa…