Friday, May 13, 2011

Combating the Drive-thru mentality

I have come to understand why people will see the glass half empty versus half full.  I also firmly believe that technology is wonderful, when it works.  Beyond that it is frustrating at best, infuriating usually. At one time, many years ago I owned a coffee mug that showed a duck with a sledgehammer poised to strike a computer.  The saying under the picture was “strike any key.”  I admit I have often felt that way as the years have passed and technology invaded my simple world.  I have tried for a long time to look at the positive side of things.  Being radically thankful, but it is very difficult to maintain a positive attitude at all times.  I have come to think that there is something to be said for looking at life expecting the worse, hoping for the best.  If I expect the worse to happen, then I will not be disappointed when it does and will be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t.  If I expect people to not respond in a timely fashion, then I am pleasantly surprised when they do.  If I expect technology to not work, then I will be pleasantly surprised when it does. 
I have been heavily influenced by the “drive thru, microwave” mentality that permeates our society and there in (I think) lies the problem.  I expect my computer to work instantly, I expect people to respond within a short amount of time (under 15 minutes.)  In writing this I realize how unrealistic my expectations are.  Although I don’t wear a watch, I am driven by time; pushing myself to do things quicker and faster and expecting others to do the same.  What would happen if I were to slow down and move in a decisive yet moderate pace?  What would happen if I just allowed things to “flow” and not seek to push?  That would be a foreign concept for this American to accept- other side of the earth foreign to me! 
Some of my best friends have recently returned to South Africa.  I remember when I visited them a number of years ago being struck with the African way, which means (my interpretation:) things will happen when they happen; a meeting will start when people arrive and end when it is done.  Granted, I live in America and work in an American company that runs by American standards and culture.  I cannot simply allow something with a deadline to go past stating, “it will happen when it happens.”  I can’t schedule a meeting, telling the invitees that the meeting will start when it starts and ends when we’re done. But what I can do is challenge my stress and frustration over things I cannot change (oh, I’m hearing the serenity prayer.)  Seriously, being able to let go of things I cannot change and putting everything into perspective is what I’m talking about.  Like I said earlier, I don’t wear a watch anymore, which is from my experience in Africa.  The other change that I am challenged with and committed to is relationships, the value of each human.  So now I am faced with implementing the “it will happen when it happens” attitude.  How do I do that while living in America?  I don’t have the answer to that question; it will be something I ponder for awhile.  It is the subject of another blog, I fear, but while struggling I would welcome any suggestions or comments.  And, as always…this and $2.50 will get you something, maybe a cup of Roobios Tea.
* roobios tea = sub-saharan tea from the red bush.