I can think of few better ways to wake up than with the sun streaming through my window and a good day ahead of me. And the greeting is all the better when accompanied by the peaceful sounds of morning coming through the window.
Construction is not one of those sounds – especially not at 6:30 in the morning.
Beep. Beep. Beep. The dump truck reverses into position. A bulldozer revs its engine as it clears the rubble. Noise fills the air as the construction crews tear up our street.
Grumbling, I get out of bed. I’m not a fan of noise – all the more when it wakes me up.
Why do the crews have to start so early? Do they not know people are asleep at this hour? Do they not know people don’t want to hear their noise? Surely they’re out to bother me.
home i go
to see those i know
the trip better not be slow
I’m heading home after a day downtown and am looking forward to getting back. I get to see my wife. I get to see my daughter. And supper will be ready when I arrive.
I walk down the stairs, tap my transit pass, and go through the turnstiles. Once on the platform, I take a quick glance down the tracks. The train’s stopped at the previous station. Excellent. It will be here in a minute or two. Perfect timing.
Five minutes pass. Ten minutes pass. Fifteen minutes pass. Twenty minutes pass. The train remains at the previous station.
Why is the operator not pulling forward? Doesn’t she know I’m not in the mood for waiting? Why is she holding up the train? What’s happened this time?
stuff laying about
get rid of it, no doubt
My wife and I have been working hard to get rid of stuff we don’t need. But just because we don’t need it doesn’t mean no one else does.
Someone’s coming soon to pick up an item. Yay for clearing out the apartment. She just called to say she’ll be here in twenty minutes. Perfect. I can read for a bit, run the item downstairs, and go make my coffee.
Twenty minutes turns into an hour. I’m getting impatient. Why is she not coming when she said she would? Why is she not respecting my time?
so easy to tell
it’s time to bid farewell
My current pair of shoes nears the end of its useful life. After years of wear, I’ve walked them into the ground. It’s time to invest in a new pair.
Picking out the shoes I like, I place an order online. It qualifies for free next-day shipping. Hooray, I won’t have to wait long to get them.
The scheduled delivery time arrives. At last, I’ll have comfortable shoes. Checking the status via the postal service website, I learn that the address listed on the package is invalid. The shoes won’t be arriving today.
What? Why did they mess up and put the wrong address on the label?
the water and spray
is the perfect place to play
The water may be cold, but on a hot day nothing beats taking a swim in the lake. Temperatures soar, and a strong wind gusts in from the east, which should also create some decent sized waves.
I put on my swimsuit, grab a towel, and walk toward the beach. On the way, I reflect on other fun times I’ve had in the waves. It’s going to be amazing.
I near the beach. In the distance I can see the white of the crashing waves. As expected, they look big – or at least as big as they get on this lake. It’s going to be fun.
Reaching the beach, a red flag waves over the sands. No swimming allowed.
Those lifeguards, why do they always have to keep people from having fun on the beach? Why are they so overprotective?
Circumstances don’t always work out how I’d like. People don’t always act the way I want them to. My response is sometimes to assume the worst – to believe the person is out to make life difficult for me. I blame them.
But, most of the time, I’m wrong.
they make noise
the road they destroy
so i can have what i enjoy
The construction crews are working on a major improvement project on the water mains, gas pipes, and sewer lines. Their work is for my benefit. Not only do they combine all three projects into one – and avoid having to tear up the road multiple times – their work is essential to many of the luxuries I enjoy.
Because of their work, I get clean, drinkable water delivered straight to my tap.
Because of their work, I’m able to cook on my gas stove and keep warm during the winter.
Because of their work, the sewers don’t overflow after heavy storms, filling the air with an unpleasant smell.
at last here
with apologies sincere
a greater need was near
The train finally pulls into the station. The conductor apologizes for the delay. She announces that there was a medical emergency on a train ahead of us, and they had to wait for the fire department to help the individual in need.
The conductor had nothing to do with the situation. She probably wanted to get moving again too. And what about the person in trouble? Wouldn’t I want the train to stop if I had a medical problem? Getting home on time is not more important than that.
and downstairs i bring
the requested thing
The lady rings the doorbell to pick up the item. As I head down the stairs, I ponder the delay. Who am I to judge her situation? Maybe she had an emergency come up. Perhaps she got sidetracked by a conversation with a friend she hadn’t seen in a while. Or maybe it took longer to get to my place than she expected. I’m sure she has a good reason.
Reaching the door, I greet her. We chat for a moment, I hand her what she came for, and she heads out. She seems like a nice lady.
before becoming irate
that the packages is so late
Frustrated at the delay on my shoe order, I check the receipt from my purchase. Oops. The mistake was mine. I made a typo when I entered in the address. They just used what I provided.
And when I call to correct the mistake, the customer service team is nothing but helpful. They notify the postal service of the correct address, making sure the package doesn’t get returned.
A few days later, my shoes arrive. They are just what I expected them to be. I put them on and go out for a stroll.
can’t get in
to go for a swim
maybe they have a reason
I stand watching the waves and ponder the decision of the lifeguards to close the beach for swimming. They are probably operating under the instructions of their supervisors. It isn’t their fault.
Moreover, their aim is not to prevent fun, but to ensure people are safe. They don’t want anyone to drown or get dragged out into the lake by the undercurrent. And while I believe myself to be a strong enough swimmer to ride out the waves, many of the younger children who play in the water are not. The lifeguards’ intent is to protect them.
I turn from the beach and enjoy the walk home.
Snap judgments of a situation always depend on an underlying set of assumptions. And while those are often correct, they aren’t always. You may not know the full situation. You may have incomplete information.
When people don’t do what you want them to, give them the benefit of the doubt. When circumstances don’t work out the way you were hoping, take them for the best.
That little shift – or not so little a shift – in mentality is enough to make nearly any situation more favorable.
PHOTO: Looks like favorable conditions to me. Chicago.