And so is yours. But some folks believe their time is so much more important than everyone else’s and act on that narcissistic premise.
For example, grocery lines. I’ve not been in a grocery store that doesn’t have an “express” line for folks with less than about 10 items. Yet, I regularly encounter folks who qualify for the express line pass it up because…there are a few folks in that line and these self-annointed VIPs cannot be inconvenienced to wait in line for a few minutes as if they were members of the lumpenproteletariat.
Instead, they lurk around a “regular” line hoping that the next person in line will recognize their exalted status and allow them in since they only have a few items. I ignore these folks.
When I was once directly asked by someone who appeared to be a frat boy with a case of beer and a few bags of chips to go with it to let him in line, I pointed out that he was in luck…he had enough items to qualify for the “express” line and pointed him in the right direction. He slunk away, recognizing that the chastening I had delivered was quite proper.
And woe to you if you are ahead of me in a line and let someone in. I’m going to point out that your action was quite rude. You have no right to delay me by doing that.
The “equitable” approach is to give up your place in line to whoever you want to let in and go to the back of the line. Then, the relative order of positions is maintained. But I have yet to see anyone do that. Which tells me that they believe in “charity” only if they incur minimal personal cost. Which means they truly lack charity.
Let’s do the math. Assume that the person who is let in line needs only two minutes to check out once at the counter. Also assume they do not have to wait even one minute to get to the counter. (Otherwise, add that time to the math.) If there are six persons waiting, they each lose two minutes and now a total of 12 minutes has been wasted.
So “kindness” to one person has inconvenienced six persons and without a single one of them being asked to consent to the inconvenience. Because only one person is happy and up to six are not, it is clear that Jeremy Bentham would not approve.
Another example is folks who think I’ll be happy to take their business call during my lunch period. Since I don’t make the big bucks that the clerical staff who buy their lunch every day obviously do, I brown bag it and stay at my desk during lunch while I read the national news online, which is allowed by my employer’s policy.
But at least once or twice a week, my phone rings during lunch. It doesn’t happen at a “gray” time, such as 12:05 or 12:55; I’m talking “no doubt it’s lunch time” periods, such as 12:30. Caller ID tells me it is a consultant. And he’s not calling knowing it’s lunch to leave me voice message for later. He wants to talk to me right now because when I do not answer he does not leave voice mail. He calls back after lunch…as he should.
My attitude is simple: my lunch period is my time, not yours. Folks have eight hours a day available to call me but no one will intrude on my time. I am not paid for it, and I use it to unwind so that I can do a good job for the rest of the day. So do not expect me to answer the phone during lunch!
Then, there’s the attitude of so many folks on the road. They are in such a rush to get wherever they’re going they’re willing to risk my life to save a few minutes. If it was only their life at stake, I’d have absolutely no problem with these folks.
So, for the last few months, I’ve taken it upon myself to provide free lessons in patience to these folks. Whenever I notice someone attempting to pass me, and the opportunity presents itself (and it often does), I increase my speed just enough to “box in” the driver trying to pass me by closing the gap between my vehicle and the one in the adjacent lane. I’ve been giving these free lessons about 3-4 times each weekday. Of course, with rising gas prices, I suspect I will be giving fewer lessons since I expect to start regularly passing SUVs for the first time since gas was over $4 / gallon.
Time is on my side….
You may have noticed that one of the tags is “postaweek.” While I was aware of the “post a day” challenge because I know a blogger who’s doing it, I only recently became award of the lower level challenge. Since I already post once a week, I decided to join up. May bring a few new readers my way.