Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Manufactured Hardship

Life is difficult enough without us bringing heartache and headache upon ourselves. From a distance we can witness, from time to time, individuals working up into a complete and frothy lather over something that should never have happened. They scream, they spit, they curse, they pull their hair out, and send their blood pressure through the roof. Oh, but it all could have been avoided. Let me relate the following cautionary tale.

A colleague of mine and I were staying at a hotel while we were on a business trip. On the morning we were to check out and drive back to the airport in our rental car, I looked out my window and happened to spot my friend as he emerged from the front door of the hotel. He had his bag and was heading out to put it in the car. What caught my attention was the fact that he was fumbling with his shoulder bag as he depressed the automatic trunk unlock button on the car's key chain remote. He then began, curiously enough, to walk away from where we had parked the rental car the evening before. I watched as he went to the car whose trunk he had just unlocked and tossed his bag in. I shook my head as I realized his remote had unlocked another, identical make and model car. Moments later he went back into the hotel lobby to finish checking out. I watched him as he then reemerged from the hotel and this time walked over to our rental car. When he unlocked the trunk to access his bag, which he believed he had just put into this very car moments earlier, he found it to be missing. I watched from my window as the panic erupted. He quickly sprinted around the parking lot looking for the dirty so-and-so that had purloined his bag. He was literally red in the face and was more animated than Cartman on South Park.

As I watched this whole sorry episode unfold before my very eyes, I could not help but reflect on how we figuratively create this same scenario in our existence time and again. If we just paid a bit more attention and care sometimes, we would have a much smoother road to travel.

(P.S. My colleague after some 10 minutes of frantic arm waving and lip biting, figured out what had happened. He calmed down, released the tension, and now has an amusing anecdote to tell at cocktail parties.)