Thursday, July 21, 2005
in the way
All the while, of course, the line is getting longer and longer behind her. I’m not really impatient with this because I know what it’s like to be her…sort of. You can’t help but take some time when you’re ordering for 5 or 6 people, so I’m just standing there. But periodically, the oldest boy keeps looking back at me with this look on his face which I can only describe with dialogue such as: “Are you mad?” I could tell by the way he was watching his mom and his nervous side stepping in place that he was anxious to get out of everyone’s way. And I thought…how interesting. This is a conscientious kid…almost to the point of unhealthy. He’s too young to be worrying about this.
His mother finally finishes ordering, and she’s trying to stuff her change back in her wallet, put away her purse, grab these boxes of food, and slide her children out of the way of people. And here’s her oldest son, practically pushing everything off to the side, including his siblings, and saying things like “Mom, you’re in the way, you’re in the way.” He’s not rude, just a teeny bit anxious. And because of his attitude I was more anxious to show him that I was not mad that they were in front of me taking time, so I smiled and gave them extra room before I walked up to the counter.
This kid reminds me of me sometimes. Maybe too concerned, at times, of imposing or intruding on others. I wondered what this boy was going to be like as an adult. Would he still be aware of the feelings of others around him? Will he still care like he does? Or will the world teach him sooner than later to take care of number one?
What made him this way? Is it something to do with him being the eldest? Is it just his personality? Is he perhaps treated with a different set of expectations by his parents, which causes him to be hyper-conscientious? Mr. Anticipatory? Mr. Pleaser?
All I know is I saw something of me in this kid, and I felt his pain.
I was a pleaser as a child, terrified of getting into trouble with teachers, parents, friends, anyone. I hit college and basically told the world to bug off. Now I'm in my early thirties, and I'm starting to try and find a balance between the two extremes.
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