You have a Friend in Me

A couple of months ago, my jolly friendly parking attendant was replaced by two strangers. They were rude and they did not understand the arrangement that I had previously made with the other attendant and attendants before him. I found them generally annoying and had to keep myself from uttering names under my breathe after interacting with them. In fact when I drove into the parking lot, I often thought, ooh I have to deal with tweedle dee and tweedle dum. I felt that because they refused to understand me, they were intent on simply making my parking time unbearable. I was highly unpleased with them.

Then one day it hit me that these two are probably someone's father and possibly grandfathers. I saw one of them pull into the parking lot shortly afterwards and he had a Marines sticker on his car. I started noticing various things about the men that made them less...annoying.  I decided to adjust my attitude and the next morning, like I'd done with the previous attendant, I waved to them when I drove in and said a cheery good morning when I handed them my payment. The next day I noticed they waved first as I entered the parking lot and we exchanged greetings. All of a sudden my painful interaction had became a friendly place. With a simple attitude shift, I had made new friends.

I remember going to the market with my mom as a kid and she seemed to know soo many people! We would generally leave the house around 5 am to get the freshest vegetables...it was usually too early to be coherent let alone friendly, but my mom made her stops around the market and talked to her "friends". I learned as I got older that these women were virtually strangers to her, but for the purposes of her shopping experience, they were her friends. They had little nicknames for her and she always had something to tease them about.

We tend to treat people differently once they lose the mystical strangeness about them. During traffic my anger quickly dissipates if the person that just cut me off turns out to be someone I know. This has happened on several occasions with friends and coworkers who were just in a hurry. I've dismissed it with justifications of inattentiveness, which is generally unlike the irritation I feel towards all the other strangers on the road. We tend to forgive faster and not get so worked up when there is a connection with the other person.

I find that making this application to all aspects of my life can be very beneficial. Of course I do not have to trust everyone I encounter or make friends with everyone, but by seeing others as people and not barriers, harmful creatures of the other world or roadblocks in life, I can get to my destination with so much less stress and anguish.

Park Geun-hye
So a few weeks ago when I drove into the parking lot, I asked one of the gentleman whose name I now know, what's new, as  he was reading the newspaper. He informed me that South Korea had just sworn in a new president...and she's a woman. Wow! I learned something new.

Half-stepping diva