I made a small discovery the other day. Some may even call it a revelation. We all have funny little encounters with our fellow humans nearly every day and there are lessons to be learned from all of them. Recently I tried to put one of these learnings to good use.
It happend a couple of nights ago when I went for a run. I needed to get some cold and flu tablets for this horrific pestilence which is still upon me (personal note to self get to the damn doctor hero you’re still not better). So I ran down to the chemist hoping to, wait for it, “sweat it out of me”, while at the same time picking up the much needed substance that might see me through the week.
To say I was quite puffed as I walked through the door is an understatement. Picture a sick werewolf, with a runny nose, having an asthma attack, mid transformation, and you may get some idea of the sight I presented walking in.
I was all like cough, splutter, ahhhh, ahhh, ahhh, g’day mate, cough, ahhh as I greeted the security guard. Understandably his reciprocation was rather standoffish. Can’t say I blame him, no doubt I was also foaming at the mouth.
I walked up to the female counter attendant and ordered the medication.
I remember thinking she’s probably going to return with the crap stuff here. If you’re not sure what im talking about, it’s the stuff without the pseudoephedrine. It’s the pseudo pseudoephedrine.
Anyway she came back and just as I thought, she brought the crap stuff but she also brought some cough medicine which I had not asked for.
I mentioned to her that I didn’t want the cough medicine and she looked at me with a kind of accusing /questioning look in her eyes. “The cold and flu tablets won’t get rid of the cough” she said. I replied by saying that I had some cough medicine at home and so I didn’t need to buy more. Even if I didn’t I wasn’t very happy with the up sell on the cough medicine that I hadn’t asked for, nor presented any symptoms for.
Then I went on to say that I wanted the proper tablets. Her eyebrows rose. “The pseudoephedrine ones?”
“Yes” was my reply.
Following this exchange was a brief moment’s stare down, a mild battle of wills that lasted but a moment. “May I have your license please” she asked.
There was a stormy ocean between us, seas crashed, winds roared, lightning flashed and all along the silence was deafening. I handed over the licence and waited.
She entered my details and after a short break handed over the medication. At this point I also asked for an asthma puffer.
The next inevitable questions followed.
“Is your asthma under control?”
“Has it been checked by a doctor lately?”
“What type of asthma puffer would you like, the Asmol or the Ventolin?”
“It doesn’t matter, whichever one’s the cheapest”.
My replies were short and sharp. I was being childish and spiteful, taking revenge for the interrogation.
But then out of nowhere I concluded with “I just ran down here and my asthma started playing up as it really only does when I exercise these days”.
Somehow, this broke the tension.
Maybe it was the small concession on my part, a subconscious effort to lighten the situation.
Her smiled beamed and as she handed over the medication, she wished me a good night and told me she hoped I felt better soon. I too lit up. “You have a great night too, all the best.” The words came out over enthusiastically and I hoped then that they were not misconstrued as sarcasm. I was positively beaming as I walked outside.
On the run home I got to thinking. It’s amazing how much we humans can dictate our own circumstances. We create the situations that we become involved in and we can mould and change so much of the situation with either a variation in our tone or the kindness of a smile.
Dealing with humans is not difficult. We operate a lot of the time through reciprocal gestures, a smile for a smile, a kindness for a kindness and a slight for a slight.
I’m not perfect, she’s not perfect, and no one is.
Had I walked in and understood the ladies position better, I would have expected to be questioned when I asked for the cold and flu tablets. After all she was only doing her job.
And perhaps had she in turn been aware of how uncomfortable most of us feel when asking for the somewhat controversial but far more effective product, she may have been a little bit more understanding of my situation.
In the end we almost stumbled accidentally into an amicable goodbye. At the heart of it, most of us want to get along. We just need to put those defensive guns away, give a little bit more of ourselves to the situation.
These little channels of interaction fascinate me. So often we focus on the negativity of the media, the corruption in all governments and the greed as the rich get richer.
But are these perceptively insignificant little interactions able to make a difference?
Are we each and every one of us aware of every tiny act of us ordinary people, billions of us across the world and what they might mean? Are we really trying hard enough for each other?
Let us ask ourselves the question. Are each and every one of us with each minor daily interaction piling up the scales of good verses aggression and tipping the balance of our race somehow? Or is it the same old story that nothing can be done?
Is it only the leaders and the power mongers of the world making the difference? Or does our world and race have a spirit that ALL contribute to, a spirit that dictates where our race might go?
How much of an effect are the ordinary people of our world having on our kind? And which side are YOU contributing to.
I hope as much as possible I may be adding to the latter, and that the latter is real. Not just the musings of a sick werewolf during transition.