When “good” people do inexplicable things

Years ago when, for the first times ever, I rode public transportation in a big city, I was once in a crowded subway when I saw a woman’s bag about to slip to the floor. I reached out to catch it for her but she jerked it away with a “strong” verbal warning for me to keep my hands off. I was shocked and embarrassed but willing to learn the lesson: what seems like an innocent or maybe even admirable action on my part can be completely misunderstood and reacted to in unbelievable ways. I was relatively young at the time but too old to have not learned that lesson earlier. Talk about naiveté. You mean people understand and react as THEY can or wish, not as I want them to? Huh!

Now, this many years later, I continue to be given examples of this phenomenon and have to relearn the same truth over and over. Why do people do things that hurt my feelings when all I am doing is positive? A few years ago, I was up for a promotion to a permanent, benefited position in an institution where I had worked diligently and responsibly for over a dozen years. I was the only one, or so I and my co-workers thought, who was really eligible for the job. However, a few days after I had assumed the process would be completed, we received an email announcement from our supervisor that a new hire had received the position. There was no personal explanation to me, no rationale that I could see and no recourse.

I can’t count the times I have experienced this to one degree or another. Most people have. It turns out that I (we) have no control over what others think and do. Imagine that. Sometimes we are all in sync and other times, it seems, on two different planets. This is the case, in spite all our efforts to express, explain or exhibit our worthy and laudable behavior. So, it seems to me we have two choices, either waste a ton of emotional energy in reaction or remember what one of my favorite tee-shirt mottos says: It isn’t about you. Well, maybe sometimes it is a little bit but the same principle still applies. People who, under most circumstances, would not, if they thought of you at all, do the least mean thing to you, will sometimes effect you in hurtful ways.

What may be most frustrating is that nothing can be done about it.  One could have email addresses or phone numbers and even possibilities of face-to-face confrontations but all the argument and explanation in the world won’t really change anything. It is, as the trite phrase goes, what it is. That being the case, forget it and go on to something more fun, an NFL game on TV or a nap!

P.S. Women like the one on the train have it right. So, guys, leave them completely alone unless you get an authentic invitation from them.


Marking time is not the ideal (by a long shot)

What does a run-of-the-mill blogger write about having three successive flights cancelled and ending up stranded 1500 miles from home? Probably nothing new except for a few unique experiences attributable to our whims.

To wit, we visited the Textile Center in Minneapolis. In this high-tech digital age, it is refreshing to see what artists can do with small strands pulled from the cocoons of worms or a bunch of one inch square scraps of fabric. Such a place makes it easy to ignore sub-zero temperatures outside.

Another personal quirk, liking to wander aimlessly in a city, took me to the downtown Minneapolis skyway system. I parked in an indoor ramp near the Metrodome and entered the maze of fast food, convenience stores, ATMs, and the entries to every variety retail establishment one could imagine. All this covering blocks and blocks without ever going outside in the cold.

Several times this week I have seen the light rail train sliding back and forth between Target Field and the Mall of America and thought that maybe a couple of round trips might be fun. I wouldn’t even have to go out because I could park near the Mall door and drop down to the Metro Transit station to jump on board. However you may be happy to know I haven’t gone completely stir crazy because I headed for the MOA Apple Store instead.

This whole parallel universe thing seems about to shift back to normal. We have our place in the boarding line for tomorrow evening, the weather has moderated along our route, and even if we get cancelled again we are driving the rental car back to New Hampshire. However, never let it be said that we just sat around and fumed. We did stuff. Isn’t that what life is all about?

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