Why Don’t?

You don’t have to cut that one.

This observation seems to throw buddy for a loop. Head hanging down, he looks uncertain, almost worried. As his supervisor heads off to the kitchen, she speaks again, over her shoulder.

Only cut them in half if they ask you to.

Buddy preparing my breakfast sandwich looks at me guiltily — I have, in fact, not asked him to cut anything — so I speak cheerily across the pick-up counter.

And I think it’s great that you cut it.

I give him a thumbs-up; he smiles, straightens up a bit, and continues wrapping up my sandwich. After all, it’s already in two pieces, so the only decent thing to do is to validate his choice, even if I really really wanted it in one piece for some obscure reason. It’s clear that he’s doing his damnedest, giving this job his all.

As I leave with my on-the-road breakfast, I consider my reaction to this obviously mentally challenged man and wonder why it emerges so rarely.

Why don’t I assume that everyone I meet is doing their damnedest, too?

Why don’t I feel that same compassion for everyone I encounter?

And why don’t I feel it when I look in the mirror?


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6 Responses to Why Don’t?

  1. Life is mostly froth and bubble,
    Two things stand like stone.
    Kindness in another’s trouble,
    Courage in your own.”

    Adam Lindsay Gordon

  2. Tom Watson says:

    I love that Adam Lindsay Gordon quote. How apt!

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    Maybe “mentally challenged,” maybe not. Some people have difficulty dealing with ambiguity — among them my grandson. Their logic is “because… therefore” not “If… then…” And especially not “Always this… unless that…” They don’t want to deal with exceptions to the rule. It’s not my way of dealing with life/employment/whatever, but it may only be my own ego that inclines me think of it as somehow deficient.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Hmm. I wondered what word to use. He seemed to me to be what we would have called “slow” a while back. So your point is well taken. He might be slow in handling this problem, but it’s a judgemental to see that as deficient.

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