I’m sitting inside a tire shop while fresh winter tires are being put on my vehicle. It’s been over an hour and I haven’t seen my vehicle move from the place I parked it, despite making an appointment ahead of time—weeks ahead in fact—but it would appear my work order was just filed in line with everyone else that’s pulled in off the road today.
When I arrived, they said, “Oh since you have an appointment we’ll get you out of here in under an hour.” As I write those words I see an employee jumping in, well over an hour since I had that conversation.
Frustrated, I think, If you can’t stand by your own word, what can you stand by?
Today’s experience underscores disappointments that have been in and out of my psyche lately. Be it an annoying service-related incident, a lackluster client experience, or a friend that just doesn’t seem to follow through with his or her word. I’m searching for reconciliation on this topic of “Why do people behave the way they do?” and it’s been tricky to find.
I’m reminded of my own thoughts surrounding being unable to control such actions or reactions. That the best any of us can do is be kind, be understanding, and be willing to be let down over and over again. None of us want it, but all of us must allow it because of how consistent it will be in our lives.
I look up towards an old man across the waiting room and we lock eyes. Slightly caught off guard at first, I settle in for a few heartbeats. He stares back, blankly.
I wonder what disappointment he’s facing. I wonder what heartache he’s endured, or even caused. Surely it doesn’t come close to the “worries” I’m ruminating over. These are passing fads, something to grasp on to and be temporarily upset about.
His face is leathery and dark as he returns from the meager refreshment corner, sipping a hot cup of mid-afternoon coffee.
What is he thinking? Is he content; is he contemplative; is he sad? His attire screams blue collar, pride in ones work, and someone that’s put in a hard day for many years. You can bet he’s seen a thing or two.
A young serviceman, ripe from school, calls my name at the front door. I walk over and see my car ready to go. I’d watched my car idle for 75 minutes, then walked out the door in 90 flat.
“I’m sorry about that… the wait I mean.” Automatically, I tell him it’s OK and that things like that happen; that it’s no big deal.
As I get to my car and sit down, I look over at the semi-tinted glass of the building and think to myself, “Why did I say that? I’m upset about this, right?”
In a period of 10 seconds I think these things, see the silhouette of the leathery man staring out the window, and exhale.
Thing is, it’s really not a big deal.