Yesterday, while driving to the grocery store to buy rosemary for my too-fabulous-for-words roasted potatoes, I saw an overweight, shirtless man walking down the street. My first reaction was Ewwwww!—followed by mental banter that included:
• Who does he think he is to expose all that jiggly flesh to an unsuspecting public?
• Too much information! Too much information!
• Does he think he looks good?
• Does he think the rest of us think he looks good?
It went on like that for a few seconds, and I was getting increasingly more upset. I know…I know…it’s completely counterproductive and probably produces gallons of cortisol that will make me look like Tweedledum, but it’s what I do. People acting with utter disregard for others is one of my buttons.
Some might suggest that I simply turn my head, but that’s not the point. Looking away doesn’t make the oogy, half-naked guy go away, and my issue is not the fact that he’s in my line of sight, but rather the fact that he’s walking down the street obviously devoid of some necessary clothing in the first place.
Less than a block away from the fat man, still processing and fuming, I saw a little helmeted boy tumble off his bicycle onto the sidewalk. His dad was on a bike directly behind him, but before the man could react, two men who were standing in line at a nearby juice stand ran to the child. Their instant response to need…their immediate concern for another…their don’t-even-stop-to-think-about it selflessness…made my heart swell with pride. It also completely undid the corpulent-dude issue in a flash.
The lesson, of course, is that good stuff falls (sometimes literally) into our vision as well as bad stuff. The key is to learn to internalize and rejoice in the former and let go of the latter. As my husband has often said, “The rude people you see today are still going to be rude people tomorrow, and how you react to them won’t change a thing.”
So I’m working on developing an oh-well-let’s-move-on attitude and trying to focus on the positive. I know it’s out there.