I’m going to try something new here, specifically so I don’t keep negative thoughts in my head and also so I don’t unnecessarily present them within my writing (which I tackled again today) as the opinions and viewpoints of my characters. The first lets me chuck any negative thinking, which I need to do to keep on an even keel in this new stage of my life (post-layoff and post-stroke), while the second lets me make sure a character is unique in their own way rather than possibly being a poor reflection of my current “reality.”
So … venting, and today’s observational complaint relates to how people generally live within bubbles nowadays.
One guy sits in his car in the Kroger parking lot, focused on his phone, and doesn’t see me pull into the spot behind him. He doesn’t see me get out of my car, but does open his door just as I try to walk past so that I have to backtrack. He does shoot me a dirty look, because I’m an inconvenience to him now — because he’s dropped his phone into his car’s footwell, and I’m an inconvenience because he doesn’t have enough room at the back of his vehicle to stand comfortably and open his trunk to get out a jacket since it’s raining.
Another guy inside the store shoots me another dirty look as I wash and dry my hands after using the bathroom — apparently because he isn’t washing and drying his hands, and my action calls his decision into question, and people don’t like their choices called into question, don’t like being wrong as everyone (even villains) are the heroes of their own lives.
And don’t get me started about the other drivers on the road. The ones stopping at a green light before turning right, when the traffic going straight is already moving through the intersection and there isn’t any clear reason to pause. Then, after making the turn, driving at 10 mph below the speed limit, and stopping a good 15 feet back from the coming left-hand turn so that when the oncoming traffic moves past they have to still roll forward that distance before they can turn left instead of just turning left. This latter one almost always seems to happen where Liberty and Scio Ridge meet by the Liberty Sports Complex when there’s a car getting ready to turn left onto Liberty. It doesn’t happen every time, hence the use of “almost” in my description, but it does occur 95 times out of 100. I’m exaggerating for effect here. I don’t tally these types of situations; I vent, usually with an occasional tap to my car horn, a muttered profanity, or the ASL sign for “no nothing” (which I originally thought was the sign for a**hole until recently).
That all being said, I feel better now. I’ve cleared my head, and I’m going to put some words down on paper. I’ve struggled with that for a while now, blaming my new job and the odd retail hours I keep and my stroke from several years back (“my brain is different, so I’ve lost my mojo”) when the truth is anyone is capable of doing something if they set their mind to it. The new sales manager at work said something to me on Monday, explaining how to approach a guest and learn their objections to a purchase by asking them what was holding them back. It’s not a yes-no question, as those kinds of queries shut down a conversation rather than beginning one.
Which allowed me to ask myself what was holding me back. Answering that is something I hope you’ll find interesting, as I’ve wasted too much time over the last 20 years.