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I Wish/I Want

July 23, 2002

I wish that everyone could be considerate of others. So many of the things that annoy me are, at their root, selfish acts perpetrated by other people. Surely they would stop doing these things that vex me if they could, right? The question to be solved is why they can’t manage to do things the way I think they should be done.

There’s the guy who doesn’t prepare his deposit before he gets to the ATM, making the rest of us in line wait while he endorses the checks and fills out the slip and gets an envelope from the bank’s stock and seals it up. He could do this at home, or in his car, or anywhere but right in front of me at the ATM. Maybe he lacks the mental capacity to understand that the bank will take the money even if it’s in a plain envelope like he has at home. Maybe his budget does not allow for wanton personal envelope usage. Whatever the reason he can’t provide his own envelope, I wish he’d just grab one of the bank’s from the machine and step out of line while he gets his stuff together. I’ve done it myself when I’ve suddenly I remembered I have a check to deposit, so I know there is not a “no line reentry” clause in the fine print of the ATM usage agreement. In fact, Mr. Unprepared could grab several envelopes and save the extras for his next trip to the bank. Perhaps he has a brain disorder that prevents him from planning ahead. Perhaps I should feel pity for his reduced ability to get along in this modern world instead of fuming.

There’s the woman who picks ice cubes out of the tray and puts it back into the freezer, leaving one or two lonely cubes languishing in a sea of empty spaces. I wish she could empty the cubes into the bin conveniently placed two inches from the tray and refill it with water, which is available only steps from the freezer. It’s not that hard; it’s not that time consuming. Perhaps she is baffled by where ice comes from and imagines it regenerating in the cool and mysterious confines of the freezer, magically appearing in the open spaces in the tray. Maybe she missed that day in science class.

There’s the man who doesn’t use his turn signal. I wish he would at least use them in situations where other drivers can’t tell what he intends to do. Sitting in a left turn only lane, I can understand him not using his blinker. But at an intersection where the lanes aren’t marked, and where he has stopped his vehicle in the middle of the available space without signaling, thus giving me, pulling up behind, no clue as to whether I might pull up beside him and without getting smashed as he turns, I am at a loss as to why he can’t indicate what he plans to do. Maybe he lives in the moment and doesn’t know himself which way he’s headed. Maybe he’s using telepathy to communicate his intentions, and I’m just not sensitive enough to receive the message.

There’s the fellow who doesn’t rinse out his cans and bottles, or at least let the liquid in them dry out, before returning them to the grocery store to get the deposit back. This makes the area where the return machines are disgusting, smelly with beer and sticky with pop. Maybe he’s desperate for money and really needs the dimes. Maybe he has no sense of smell, or maybe his house and car smells like beer, too, so he doesn’t notice the stench when he walks into the store. Maybe he was raised in a barn.

There’s the lady who leaves audio books in the middle of a tape when returning them to the library. I wish she would just fast forward to the end. Maybe she hates the book so much that she cannot stand to have it in her tape player even one more second. Maybe she was abducted by aliens mid-tape and, while these visitors from another planet were smart enough to cover their tracks by returning items to the library lest the overdue police come looking for them, they were unfamiliar with our Earth custom of starting to listen to tapes at the beginning of side one.

I want to believe that people just don’t realize that they’re being annoying or rude when they do these things. Sadly, that’s probably not the case. They probably just don’t care, don’t want to expend even the slightest effort to make life for their fellow humans a little more pleasant. I want to believe that I’ll be able someday to ignore these behaviors, the same way I can now see the fresh roll of toilet paper sitting on top of the empty holder in the office bathroom and not curse my coworkers for being too clueless or too lazy or too arrogant or too fastidious to change the roll. It’s a goal worth striving for. Maybe next year. (You know, when I’m thin and organized already.)


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