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Friday, April 25, 2014

I Just Can't!

There are so many different types of people in this world of ours. You might encounter three different people who do the same job, and all of them approach it differently. Some people love to help others, while some find service beneath them. Years ago, when I worked as a teller in a Denver bank, first in the drive-through and then in the lobby, I had a coworker-friend who thought that being a bank teller was degrading. When she asked me if I felt that the job was degrading, I was frankly mystified. I met all kinds of people every day, and had fun working with them. Yes, there were occasionally gross encounters, but for the most part, customers were very nice. I enjoyed giving the kind of service and treatment that I would love to receive.

I have noticed a lot of stories in the news lately, and seen things happen around me, that tell me there are a lot of people that don't have that sort of philosophy any more. For instance, the young woman in Australia who sent over forty text messages while driving, and ran into a bicyclist with her car. She pulled over a few hundred feet from where he was in the street, and did call for help, but never checked on him. She later stated on social media that she didn't care about him (there was a possibility that he would be paralyzed permanently) because he ran into her car and now she was going to have to pay a few thousand dollars for repairs.

And how about the young woman and her mother whose conversation I overheard as they walked past us in the supermarket recently? The daughter was catching up to her mom, and asked mom if she thought that she "scared that old man to death." Her mom said that she didn't think so, that he would probably survive. The daughter replied by saying that was too bad, she wished that she really had scared him to death, because it would be one less stupid old person for her to deal with. Sadly, her mother, to the best of our knowledge, didn't respond that grandma and grandpa were old people, or that if she was fortunate enough, she'd be old one day as well.

Maybe it's because I really do care about other people that things like this bother me. I am also a person who understands what it feels like to be belittled, or disrespected, or physically and/or emotionally abused. I was also taught to have good manners, which I think is basically about respect and kindness. When I see people with these dismissive, selfish attitudes, it makes me wonder. Why are they that way? What makes them so unkind? Why are they so proud of their bad behavior? I've come to the realization that while I may want to figure out what makes these people tick, I just can't. To be able to understand their motivation, I'd have to have their mindset, and I hope that will never happen.

Thinking about this subject reminded me of a manager, whom I had trained as a new hire in customer service, and some things she told me about her youngest child when we went through a training class together. Her daughter was incredibly bright. When she was still an infant and hadn't begun to talk yet, she would laugh when someone would tell a witty joke. And it wasn't one of those situations where the baby laughs because everyone else is laughing. She would start laughing before anyone else did, because she actually understood what was being said! Like most kids, though, she had her moments of not being able to get along with her siblings. One time when she was about five or six years old and was arguing with her older sister, her mom overheard her say how she felt about her sister's opinion. "I'd like to see your point of view about this, but I just can't get my head that far up your butt." It was very matter of fact, and mom had to go to another room to laugh it off. Maybe this is why we can't understand people sometimes. We just can't get our heads that far up there. I really don't want to, I guess...I just can't!