Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jessica's no good, awful day at the library

Ok, I'm at my wits end.
I'm so tired of people walking around acting like they are little islands unto themselves, completely ignoring those around them.
heads off to the side, no eye contact, pumping into you without saying a word.
I'm not sure why I am uber aware of this and why it bothers me so, but it does.

I enjoy interpersonal communication.. eye contact.... an occasional smile... a head nod... a wave.
All of those simple things make me feel that I actually exists in the world instead of being a shadow.
That someone cares.

I try my best to make eye contact, wave, and/or smile at those around me.
I tend to get either blank stares or the sudden head movements of those who want to act like they didn't even see me.
I just don;t understand this.
Do I live in a world full of people that are ignorant in regards to interpersonal communication?
Or am I surrounded by stuck up snobs who think too highly of themselves?
I'd like to think that it's the first one!
but sometimes, I'm just not sure and lean a little more to the second.

Take this afternoon for instants.
There I was standing in the library, being completely ignored as if I were a shadow person by the librarian even though I smiled at her several times, when all of a sudden Anna has a MAJOR melt down.
I try my best to get her to calmly pick out the books that she wants, allowing Paul time to pick out his books, but the darn 3 year old, who has a VERY strong will, is determined to yank EVERY SINGLE book in the children's section off of the shelf.   

She was in a rare form.

screaming to the tops of her lungs
Running a muck. 
Me calmly trying to help her to calm down, to get a grip on her emotions.

I finally had to remove her from the library but not before dragging her THROUGH the ENTIRE library to the front desk, SCREAMING, in order to check out the books Paul had decided he wanted to take home.

Did anyone make any sort of eye contact with me?
Did anyone give me that "oh I have totally been there" look?
Did most everyone look away, ignoring the fact that I was dragging a screaming and kicking 3 year old through the library about to drop all the books?

And get this.
When I got the the desk the librarian walked away saying "I'll be with you in a second" leaving me STANDING AT THE DESK WITH A CHILD HAVING A MELT DOWN.
Upon her return, while anna is still SCREAMING in my ear, the librarian had the audacity to turn the computer screen towards me (keep in mind I am holding Anna VERY tightly in my arms, she's screaming, trying to hit me in the face) and point out that I had a $5.00 fine on my account.

At that point I felt the urge to point out to her that at that moment I didn't give a rats ass that I had a 5 dollar charge on my library card and ask whether or not she noticed that I had a child having a melt down in my arms.

Instead, I smiled at her, very calmly saying "yes. I know that. thank you."
Once again, no eye contact from her, or anyone around me, just complete silence (not counting Anna).

I have never felt so ALONE.
I was near tears as I was walking to the car loaded down with books and 2 kids hanging off of me.

I got the kids in the car, buckled them up, got in the car myself and noticed a little amish girl sitting in the passenger seat of the van parked next to me.  
She was probably in her teens.
She gave me a HUGE smile and wave.
I smiled and waved back then pulled out of the parking lot thinking "finally. human contact. Someone noticed that I was alive and took the time to let me know that they saw me!"

The girl doesn't know it but her simple gesture of kindness turned my afternoon around!

I write this for no other reason than to say "you are not an island."
We ALL need and crave community.
We were born to live in community with one another.
We are not hard wired to be alone, to keep to ourselves, to ignore the sufferings of those around us.

The next time you see someone struggling reach out to them.
Forget these so called "American social boundaries" in which YOU are ONLY responsible for looking out for the well being of yourself.
People NEED other people.

Here's ya an experiment ....the next time you go grocery shopping try making eye contact with those around you.
You'd be surprised at how often people float through the world ignoring those around them and then go home complaining about how lonely they feel.


1 comment:

  1. Gah! That situation sucks! When I see other parked dealing with screaming children I usually try to give them what I hope is a sympathetic look and smile. Kids are nuts and there's no controlling them sometimes. So sorry it was so rough.