Why do we act the way we do?

In the words of the Simone and Garfunkel song, “Slow down, your going too fast”.

I was in the grocery store the other day, standing in line waiting to check out. It was a long line and was moving slowly. Eventually, there were just two people in front of me, a man of about thirty or so with just a few groceries and at the head of the line, a woman of about the same age. She did not have an excessive amount of groceries herself but when it came time to pay, she had apparently left her credit card in the car. A quick word to the cashier and she ran off to get it.

Meanwhile, the rest of us had to stand and wait as the cashier could not complete the transaction until she returned. I could see that the gentleman in front of me was growing agitated and all of a sudden, he produced his own card and told the cashier that he was going to pay for the other woman’s groceries which amounted to $32:00 and some change muttering something like “Life is too short”. He then checked himself out and his bill was less than hers by some considerable amount. As he walked out, there was still no sign of the first lady for whom he had paid.

I moved up to the register and commented to the cashier that I needed someone to pay for my groceries like he had. She said that she had never had that happen before and I believe her. I have no idea if the guy had any intention of getting the money from the other lady or whether he was so impatient that he was willing to blow it off. I collected my things and inserted my card looking at the person behind me who didn’t take the hint. The other lady had still not returned as I walked out of the store.

This got me thinking not just of this series of events but of our younger and middle aged generation as a whole. Both of the people involved in this incident were about the same age, one who unfortunately forgot her credit card and the other who did not have enough time to wait for her and went ahead and paid her bill.

Why did he do that? Was it because he was just being a nice guy or because he was so impatient, he didn’t have time to wait.  Did he have to be somewhere or was it just plain impatience?

Which brings us to the bigger question of our current generation who are always in such a hurry. If you happen to be in rush hour traffic or any traffic if it comes to that, which I can tell you from experience is NOT a good place to be as you are quite literally taking your life in your hands when driving on the roads in and around  Austin, Texas. You get cut off from both directions, speeding cars, tailgated, get the finger and the ever present honking of horns, cars driving on the shoulder and a general air of selfishness and bad manners and it all comes down to time, intolerance of the other guys on the road and impatience.

If anybody should be worried about time it surely should be us older people. After all, we don’t have much of it left compared to the people in those other cars that are still working. We should be the ones in a hurry to get places as every minute we can save, gives us one more minute on this earth to enjoy life. Instead, we accept the fact that all the hurry up in the world is not going to accomplish much except frustration and anger at the other guys all around you. Lets face it, feeling angry and frustrated is NOT a good feeling.

I wonder if the rest of America or maybe, the rest of the world are like this. Is it something that is common to our current generation? What has happened to good manners and respect for the other guy? Have we become so selfish and self centered that we believe that the whole world revolves around us? In some ways, I am glad that I am old and don’t have many more years on this planet as I personally don’t like the way the world is shaping up. There is a lot to be said for the good old says. Life sure was a lot slower and much simpler and most people respected and helped their neighbors if they needed it and not for the same reasons that the gentleman that we first wrote about. He was in too much of a hurry to wait…



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