We are all guilty of the thought that says, “If they would only do it my way…” it would all be good. I thought it might be cool to be Mussolini for a day (without the bad fascist stuff) but I have an aversion to large crowds that hang folks up by their thumbs. More to the point, I get lost in my own blinded lane that eventually intersects with your blinded lane. But, there comes a point where the golden rule must apply.
I live in small town where the median income is pretty high. With that type of citizen, you get some benefits like the prioritization for safety (law enforecment), a semi-high degree of education of your fellow citizen, and an appreciation of good schools for your kids. And yes, the food is kinda bland. What you also get is a supreme sense of entitlement, narrow, republican-esque “my-way-or-the-highway,” Tommy Bahama wearing, cigar-smoking, misogynistic frat boy, (and for the women) former cheer leader/beauty queen neighbor that thinks the real battle we are about to fight is not with the Demos in the senate but with an invading Negro Army of Oakland.
But I digress. I was talking about navigating, not the dysfunction of my fellow citizens. Well, maybe a little. I recall, when my son was six, I attended his school Halloween fair. The police department provided a representative officer and car for our amusement(?) I asked the female officer how she liked working in our small town and she said that it was harder than working in other, less wealthy, crime-ridden towns. I asked how that could be possible. She said that when she has the onerous and dangerous task of pulling over a local for running a stop sign, she usually gets “You cannot be serious. Do you know who I am? You are a public servant. I am your employer.” She said that in the “‘hood,” folks there know what a cop is and for the most part, respect their role.
The other day I was shopping at my local Safeway and the woman in front of me had used a standard, large shopping cart. Aside from the fact that she was a dead ringer for Lovey Howell (see: Gilligan’s Island, Thurston Howell III’s wife), she picked up her bag and left her cart in the checkout lane for someone else (me) to put away. I would not let this stand. I strongly reminded her that she had “forgotten” her cart. She turned and looked at me as if I had said something in Chinese. She then turned and left. I asked the cashier if this was a common occurrence and she assured me that it was.
My point in all of this is the application of the golden rule. I realize when I get cut off in traffic, ignored by an attorney, line-jumped at Peet’s, that my blood pressure is more important than your selfish act, but there is a fundamental reaction that gets kicked in from the magnetic center of my amygdala that says it may be a better if I kill you now than later. And waiting will make this worse. It’s hard to ignore. If we just applied the golden rule across the board, the world would be awesome, and when I say awesome, I mean AWESOME!
Sigmund Freud said (sort of) that the goal of talk therapy is to change “Hysterical misery into common unhappiness.” I can’t wait, literally, for that day to arrive.