Today is the start of a long weekend in Ontario. I suppose the government felt the need to give us this bonus vacation to keep us at par with the rest of the country. The official name of the holiday is, “Civic Holiday.” How’s that for originality? Of course, I’m not complaining because I’ll welcome any day off with pay.
As with all long weekends, Friday tends to be pretty crazy for shopping, banking, and getting any last-minute details out of the way. This does not bode well for one who suffers from social anxiety. There is just something about crowds and long lineups that puts me on edge – that’s why I usually try to avoid doing anything in a public place before or during a long weekend. In fact, I go to great lengths to make sure that I’ve got everything I’ll need far in advance.
Unfortunately, this long weekend I’ve been caught off guard because of some shift changes at work and have been forced to endure the crowded stores along with everyone else. Actually, if I weren’t going away this weekend, I’d probably just hibernate and do my shopping next week.
Anyway, I decided that I would venture out early this morning and try to avoid the crowds. I knew that it would be busier than normal; however, I figured that I’d still be in and out in no time.
My first stop was the bank. The teller lines were already filled so I decided to use the ATM instead. Because I had a fair amount to do, it took me a while. As I was finishing up, I could hear people groaning and sighing in line in an effort to let me know that I was taking too long. I mean, it’s not like there was only one machine, I was simply using one of four that was available. People just seem to be so impatient these days. Do they honestly think that I’d be spending any more time than I needed just to inconvenience them? That started my day off on the wrong foot.
My next stop was the grocery store – this was by far the worst. The place was already a zoo with cars speeding around the lot looking for the closest spot, or even worse, parking in front of the store and blocking the entrance. Fortunately, I was on foot and I didn’t have to worry about finding a parking spot.
As I entered the front of the store, I made sure that I used the designated walkways. By law, cars must give pedestrians the right of way, and must stop to allow people to walk across the lane and into the store. Unfortunately, there are many selfish people that are totally oblivious to this fact. Today, I nearly got hit (within inches) by some idiot who sneered at me as though I was doing something wrong. I’m surprised he didn’t give me the horn. I was really starting to get pissed off at this point.
Inside the store, things weren’t any better. Now, instead of cars, you had people racing their grocery carts around as though they were the only ones in the store. God forbid that you should accidentally walk in front of one – they won’t slow down, I kid you not.
Since I was only buying six items, I assumed that I’d be able to check out quickly in the express line (eight items or less). Well, wouldn’t you know it, I had this couple race me to the express checkout with no less than 30 items in their cart. Keep in mind, that all the other checkouts had at least four or five people in line. As they started putting their groceries on the belt, they looked at each other and snickered as though they had gotten away with something. The checkout girl didn’t bat an eyelash and proceeded to check out their 30 items – I was fuming. I was right on the verge of saying something, but for some reason I decided against it. I don’t do well in confrontations, and they looked like the type that would welcome an argument (or a fight).
After about 10 minutes, I was finally able to check out my few items and that was it for me. Leaving the store, I couldn’t help noticing how my mood had changed in a matter of a few hours.
Is it that I’m oversensitive? How do normal people deal with things like this? Am I making too much out of nothing? Should I have been more assertive?
Well, at the end of the day, I just chalk it up to the fact that a few greedy, mindless people can spoil it for everyone. I used to feel as though all of society was like this. Now, I know that it only feels that way because these are the people that I notice. I don’t pay any attention to the other 90% that are civilized enough to show a little courtesy and kindness and follow the rules that we all have to adhere to.
Fortunately, episodes like this are very short-lived afterwards. I used to dwell on things to the point where I detested everyone and felt nothing but anger and hostility towards society as a whole. These days, I seem to be able to deal with this type of thing much better. Whether it’s due to the success I’ve had in battling social anxiety, or that I’m simply becoming more mature, the bottom line is that there will always be a small percentage that are out to get whatever they can – anyway they can. And they don’t care who they step on to get it. I suspect that most non-SA types would not let this bother them and would continue on as normal.
Still, there is a small part of me that is tired of being stepped on and taken advantage of. I suppose, ideally, I’d like to strike a balance between standing up for myself and turning a blind eye.
Ok, end of rant – I feel so much better now!