It’s 5:45 a.m. on a cold, New England, February morning. I’m in a total coma, surrounded by the warm blankets. Suddenly, the friggin alarm goes off. What the hell? What’s going on here?
My spouse gently kisses me on the check and reminds me that the night before I had promised to go to the 7-11 the minute they opened up to pick up snacks for our son’s 8th grade field trip to the Occuquan Sewage Plant. I had to get up at 5:45 because, as everyone knows, 7-11 stores now open earlier than 7. Ours opens at 6:00 a.m.
I throw on some sweatpants, a sweatshirt, socks and sneakers and head out the door. I am hit with a ridiculously cold blast of wind, numbing my body. There is a light dusting of snow on the car windshield and when I climb into my Honda my way-too-big butt practically freezes to the driver’s seat. I crank the ignition several times and it reluctantly engages. It is dark. It is cold. I don’t want to be here.
The 7-11 is only about a mile away, so it takes just a minute or two to get there. When I pull up, my car clock says it is 5:56. There are no other cars in the parking lot but I can see that the lights are on and there is some activity inside. I park the car, brace myself for the cold breeze that will greet me when I open the door, open it and run to the entrance. I grab the door handle, pull it back and my arm almost falls as I realize the friggin door is locked.
I look inside and see the clerk behind the cash register. He is sipping a steaming plastic cup of 7-11 coffee. I wave to him nicely and point to the door as if to say “hey, can you unlock the door?” He responds by looking at his watch and pointing to it.
It is now 5:58.
For the love of God, what the hell is this? This guy is sitting on his stool all comfy and cozy, with his freshly brewed coffee, and I’m outside, staring in like a kid gazing at the toys in the window at Macy’s. The clerk just won’t budge. He’s got his rules, he cannot violate them or, or, well, who knows what the hell would happen if he opened them up before 6?
Give me a break guy.
I finally screamed to him: “HEY, GANDHI, OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!!”
That, of course, clinches it. I am forced to wait another minute and a half to get my stupid overpriced snacks.
We see this kind of behavior all the time. Rules are the rules, you can’t bend them at all. God forbid a store owner or a bureaucrat or anyone else should go out of their way to show a little humanity. Nope, I’ve got my instruction manual and that is my Bible. If I actually interpret it a little, if I use some discretion, I’ll get struck by lightning. Don’t want that to happen now, do we?
We seem to forget that we live in a community of human beings. We are too focused on ourselves, on our jobs, on our next recreational activity. Life is way too short, folks. The next time someone tries to get attention, remember that there’s another human being at the other end.