29 January 2007

Me first

I'm disappointed in myself today.

Taped to the inside cabinet door in my bathroom, I have Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's list of 10 things to plan your day. I start my day by going over the list, then (usually forget to) end my day reviewing how much I actually accomplished.

Today, for the question, "what acts of kindness can I do today?" I decided I was going to be more patient with other bus passengers, and not worry about getting pushed out of my place in line (for all their politeness, Canadians simply cannot figure out how to queue for a bus).

This morning, the bus was at the stop and I had to do a little jog across a parking lot to get there in time. A woman my age, shape and size ran up behind me, stepped past me, and literally shoved herself in front of me as I was putting my foot on the first step. That immediately got my shackles up, and I quietly spit, "excuse me" between clenched teeth, then shoved myself back in front of her.

She was wrong, yes, but I was wronger*. While she was, no question, extremely rude and pushy, there was no need for me to react the way I did. There was plenty of space on the bus and she and I were the last two people getting on the bus at that stop. There was no way I was not getting on that bus. All I had to do was step aside.

I made my resolution this morning, and within an hour, I blew it. I was tested and I failed. I am so disappointed in myself for letting this woman get to me. What if she had fought back? How embarrassing to be involved in a pissing match over which of us gets to get on the spacious bus first. What if she was having a horrible morning, and honestly didn't notice me there? Perhaps if I had stepped aside and let her go first, she might have noticed me and apologized. And then made her own resolution to be more observant.

Tomorrow's acts of kindness? To be better than I was today.

*It actually is a real word. Honest. It's just not seen in common usage. English is a much more fun language than we let it be.

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