Friday, August 26, 2011

This train of thought is goin' nowhere

As I was standing in line at the grocery store I noticed an interaction going on between the cashier and the two women standing in front of her. The cashier had given the woman $10.43 in change for a twenty when the woman had actually paid with a fifty dollar bill. The cashier immediately opened her cash drawer and saw that she had indeed put a fifty in with the twenties. So she puts the fifty where it belonged and then looked at the receipt and the $10.43 in a distressed way and said 'this is too complicated to figure out' and then calls the manager. The women were very nice and talked jokingly with the cashier as they all waited for the manager to show up.

Not one of the three women seemed to have the slightest clue how to go about getting the correct change. The manager came up and said exactly what you would think she would say "she gets $40.43 back."

Now I could tell that the cashier was over stressed, but you can't get more basic then adding 30 to 10.43. At this point the normal thing to do would be to bemoan the public education system or something equally as banal, but I am not going to because I don't that is the issue. It wasn't that none of these women could do simple arithmatic, it was that none of them had the confidence to even try. We live in a society where the prospect of failure is so frightening that so many people are afraid to risk it even in the small things. (If you are wondering why I didn't say anything, I was close enough to hear what was going on, but far enough back that I would have had to shout over three people to be heard, that would have been awkward)

It is strange how this lack of confidence manifests itself. Not only do we shy away from trying things because we are afraid we will fail but we cover that fear by being uncharitable in regards to the things we do know. One example is how anyone who mixes up there, their and they're is branded a moron, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I know that everyone has their pet peeves and preferences, I have many of them. For instance, I think it is rediculous how people like to call every small quirk they have OCD. You don't have OCD, you're just human. But we get to obsessed with it, too mean-spirited. The idea that we need to look down our noses at each other for being a vegetarian/meat-eater or being an atheist/theist or preferring Glee/Community only shows how insecure we are about our own positions.

The other side of this coin is taking it too personally when someone else doesn't share your position.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be passionate about things, we definitely should. And we can dislike things too and be passionate about that, but does it always have to be about our own egos? The problem is I really think, more often than not, it is.

Humanity sure is plagued by insecurities. It's all pride, of course. It is just so hard to let go of.

I don't know. It's a fine line between dignity and pride. It is probably also a fine line between humility and apathy...

I'm a little scared to post this because I just know you all are going to judge me.

(see what I did there?)

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