Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear angry movie theater lady ...

This weekend my husband and I went to the movies. As we were buying tickets, we watched a woman storm up to the ticket window and berate the young woman working at the counter because the youth had forgotten to give the angry woman her ticket stubs.

"Can't you get anything right? It's not that hard," she screamed in front of an audience of waiting patrons.

My first thought was, "Wow, what a mean person." But I know that's not right. The woman—we'll call her Short Stack—behaved badly. And yes, she acted mean. But there's no way she was that mad because the youth working the counter forgot to hand her the ticket stubs.

So what was bothering her? I don't know. But I've heard similar stories before. A co-worker who is always short tempered later reveals she's suffering through marital problems or experiencing a difficult pregnancy. A boss who's so distracted he can't seem to remember his own name confesses he's trying to plan hospice care for a dying parent.

Perhaps Short Stack was going to the movies to forget something painful she's dealing with in her own life. Does that make her behavior acceptable? Absolutely not. But in the midst of doing something for herself—taking a time out to go to the movies—she forgot why she was there. To take care of herself. And that's all good, just as long as you don't trod on others in the process.

To quote Short Stack, "It's not that hard." So what gifts are you going to give yourself today? Here are mine:

1. Girl talk with a girlfriend
2. A special dinner with my spouse
3. Time to write

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