Some People

They pick. They push. They meddle. They demand. They expect. They complain. They badger. They argue. They judge. They obsess.

They aren’t happy with anything around them. They pounce on the slightest opportunity to cause others angst.  They act on the most petty, inconsequential circumstance to call out a grievance with their co-worker or neighbor, or complete stranger.  They look for ways to stir the pot.  They look for reasons to draw a line in the sand.  They are not interested in working and playing well together with others.  No, not at all. They have determined their mission in life is to be the festering wound that will never heal.  The agitation that never goes away.  They pride themselves on being malevolent.

Why?

Have you ever encountered someone like this?  What was it like? How did it make you feel?  How did you deal with the situation?  I’ve heard many stories. Crazy, senseless struggles between co-workers, neighbors, and even family members.  Each tale leaving me with deeper appreciation that it hasn’t ever happened to me.

Recently I was at an outdoor community function on a less than perfect day.  Because the rains refused to hold off, the volunteers quickly moved the “free doughnut” table up under the handicap canopy walkway to keep everything from getting soaked the last hour of the event.  Within moments, a wheel chair visitor approached the walkway to also get out of the rain.  A woman behind her began bellowing “you can’t have those things there—there are ordinances—you need to clear that path!”, as the woman on wheels effortlessly rolled past it all.  And after she was gone, that bellowing woman was still complaining about ordinances and that doughnut table.

Why be the one to be that way?

Another woman shared her story about a negative work mate ‘across the cubes’.  Luckily their jobs required very little communication, most of their work was done on computers.  She had no problem keeping up with her responsibilities, and was a good employee.  But her co-worker was always picking at her for something; the style of her shoes, when she left to use the restroom, where she hung her coat…anything she could find to complain about. She began reporting her for taking phone calls—something that had no bearing on either of their abilities to do their jobs. This co-worker couldn’t hear any of the conversations, but knew calls were being taken.  Turns out, the woman’s family was going through a very difficult time for a few weeks, requiring her to take some important calls–she was trying to be discreet.  But bringing the situation to their superior’s attention almost cost the woman her job, even though her performance was not suffering, simply because a complaint was made and they had to follow policy.

Why, why, why be that way?

A story from a man who was given a rescue dog to keep him company after barely surviving a DogSigntraumatic accident—now wheelchair bound for life. He started taking the pooch to a nearby fenced in ball park when no one would be around, just to be able to let his furry friend run and fetch a ball more than 5 feet away for a few minutes.  The dog was thrilled with this new game!  He was extremely obedient and well behaved—always retrieving the ball and bringing it right back to the man.  The dog never once did his business in that park, either. A resident whose home faced that park watched the man and the dog for several days. Then one day, the man was met by local Police at the park, and told they received a complaint. He couldn’t let his dog run free again or he would be fined.  Days later, a sign went up stating no dogs allowed in the park.

Why in the world take away that man and that dogs simple 10 minutes of daily joy? Really? Why be the one?

Then there’s the story of the family of five.  Both parents laid off within 6 months of each other, barely scraping by to make ends meet.  He had an opportunity for a new and better job, but would need transportation. They got a deal on a second vehicle but it needed work.  Their other car was equipped for their special needs child, and was the wife’s main transportation. The husband could do the work, but needed money for parts, which was taking time to earn. She just started a part time job. Their neighbors half ways down the block didn’t like the looks of that family or the vehicles in the driveway, so they reported them over and over for the 2nd car being parked there, how it was parked, being loud, questioning if it was licensed, and on and on. The money they were forced to spend on several fines could have been spent on getting those car parts, not to mention getting food for their 3 kids.  It only took one complainer to keep them set back, and make their life hell for months.

Seriously, what causes a person to be that way?  Why be the one?

Sure there are rules.  Sure there are ordinances.  Sure there is a need to maintain a certain level of control over ‘the masses’ to keep the sanity of our workplaces and world in check.  But come on, people, pick and choose those battles!  There are also a million and one reasons to turn the other way, find some levity, mind your own business, and show some community and grace.  Why be the one to hide in the shadows and drop that negativity bomb?

Why be the one?

Imagine the energy it must take to muster up enough effort to be the thorn in the world’s side.  Wow.  Now there’s something to be proud of.  Not!  What ever happened to “live and let live”?  What happened to co-workers getting along, helping your neighbor instead of filing complaints, and random acts of kindness? You never know what the other guy is going through.  What you do or don’t do, could be the one pivotal action that makes or breaks his/her entire day—or world for that matter.  How selfish to not consider or respect that. How insensitive, how petty.

Ahhh, but I’ll bet their response would go something like “yeah, well what about me and how I feel about it?”  Oh get over yourself.

Perhaps there is such a gaping hole of emptiness in some peoples’ lives that they just don’t know how to heal it, and are lashing out at the rest of the world.  Perhaps they are so full of themselves that they feel entitled—or that everyone should live like them.  Or maybe they truly never learned what it means to be kind or compassionate.  Maybe they themselves have been so badly hurt that this is their way of screaming out for attention…or, or….or?  Speculation is about as good as hind sight, and in this case, a sure energy waster.  One thing that is true regardless is: being that way is a choice. What a sad choice.

Thank goodness these malevolent people seem to be the exception, and not the rule, or so we hope.

Although right this minute, and for the first time in my life I do find myself being put to the test of enduring a case of “some people”. I swear to God I will never become one of those ornery haters that feels the need to be so downright nasty. Unfortunately, I am just as vulnerable to reacting in a ‘fight or flight’ mode as anyone, but no matter how hard I may be pushed, I will not succumb, nor will I ever condone that behavior.  At least that’s my aspiration at the moment.

In fact, I challenge all of those “some people” out there to accomplish one simple thing:

I dare them to let it go and not be the one.

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