Great Expectations at the Jumbo (pronounced Yumbo)


I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time worrying about expectations,  my wife’s, my boss’ my friends’, my son’s, the check out lady at the grocery store, the woman behind me who I think is in a hurry and worry that I may not be bagging my things quickly enough.  In Amsterdam it is all self bagging – the belt is about 2 feet long and the bagging area the size of your bathroom sink…so whether you have 50 items or three you have the same amount of space.  What usually happens is as I am rushing as quickly as I can to bag the items as they come through, which is not very quickly, I scramble to keep up but inevitably my items pile up on top of each other and over the side smashing each other.  And as I am scrambling it is time to pay – and pay quickly…I fumble for my wallet, because I forgot to have my pincard ready, and get the “f’ing hurry up you idiot” eyes from the cashier, the social norm is to have your pin card out and ready to go, items already bagged.   Once I have paid and before the receipt is even done printing she is checking out the person behind me…their things start to pile up onto mine and I quickly have to decipher whose is whose and immediately assume the woman thinks I am stealing her things.  I eventually get most of the items into the bags, toilet paper or tampons always somehow end up under my arm and I scramble out as quickly as I can.  aah, i am having a small anxiety attack just writing about it.

I digress.  What all this means to me is that I create so many stories in my head as to what others are thinking or expecting, some of which may be true, or maybe none of it is, I will never know.  What I have realized is that I create my own hell/suffering in my mind.  I create stories about what others are thinking or feeling, about their intentions and usually it is a negative assumption. If I instead assumed the woman behind me was feeling empathy as she too dreads the checkout line routine, walla, I wouldn’t be stressed or anxious, I may feel relieved and connected instead.  So next time, that is just the story  I will tell myself.

The time I spend making negative assumptions could be spent giving myself a break and changing the story, relieving stress instead of creating it.

So next time you think the person in the car behind you who is riding your tailis annoyed at you for going slow, change the story.  Maybe they have some medical condition and don’t have depth perception, or maybe they are rushing to the hospital for the birth of their child, or they have IBS and really need a bathroom…it may have nothing to do with you at all.

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