Have you ever had a day where you felt like everybody on Earth was a complete idiot except you? Ya, last week I had me 1 of those. A solid 24 hours of feeling like just about everybody who crossed my path was fully committed to driving me crazy or making me catch a case.
It started at the airport. I was on my way back to Jakarta from my latest days off (more to come on that next week). Like a good passenger, I had checked in on time and I had waited patiently through a 1 hour flight delay (no announcement, by the way). The 24-hour clock of idiocy started when it came time to board, with the pushing and shoving that Indonesians cannot seem to help when it comes to lines of any sort. Middle-aged women, young people…everybody pushing and shoving like we didn’t all have assigned seats and didn’t all have to get on the dang plane! No joke! Only the wheelchair passengers didn’t get in on the act.
Now people, I am not a naturally miserable person, but lack of manners and straight-up rudeness is something that I have little or no patience for, and line cutting, shoving and pushing is right up there on my idiot meter. Seriously, a man was literally pushing me to get in front of me. I don’t mean to say he was gently leaning in near my back like some inappropriately close people do in lines – that, I can deal with. No, this man came up on my right side and started trying to elbow me out of his way. Oh, snap. Normally, I would let them fight it out amongst themselves but I was in the thick of it at that point, my tolerance level was not high and I was not in the mood to get pushed around. So, yeah, I shoved back against him, cut him off from getting in front of me, had my boarding pass checked by the gate agent, and stepped off with a mutter about rude people and who they thought they were messing with. You can already tell: that day was not the day and I was not the one.
But we weren’t done, because we had to get off the plane when we got to Jakarta. I travel light on my days off, with just my backpack and a tote bag or cross-body bag (men, feel free to Google that) and I always get an aisle seat (who wants to climb over people to get to the bathroom?). So when the plane landed, I was ready to go. And apparently so were they because the pushing and shoving started again. One second I was the only 1 standing in the aisle waiting to get off the plane, and the next second I was in a sea of shoving people. One man came this close to slapping me in my head with his bag that he just couldn’t wait to get down from the overhead compartment. Oh, Saviour divine. If it did come 1 inch nearer me face, him woulda see sinting inna da plane deh; people, the darkness did about fi rise up inna me (you can probably translate all that for yourselves). Then, of course there was someone pushing me from behind again so I leaned back into him because I was not having it. Again, not the day…not the 1.
But still not done, because then came the cabbie from the Jakarta airport who tried to jack me on the fare. There’s a particular cab company that I always use because they are always trustworthy. They don’t try to negotiate a fare with you or try to get your business. They go strictly by the meter and let you come to them or not, totally your decision. As I said, trustworthy. But none of their cabs were around at my arrival terminal so I got in line at the cab stand. The dispatch girl assigned me the next available cab and I got in and told the driver my destination. This dude told me that it would be almost 2 times the price I know it costs. How do I know this? Because I take a cab to and from the airport every month! I know almost to the rupiah how much it’s gonna cost me. You wanna know how much? Two hundred thousand rupiah to go between the airport and the centre. You wanna know how much this dude wanted to charge me? Three hundred and fifty thousand.
Oh, ya, I hear you saying, “But, Kristine, maybe he didn’t know how much it was to get to your destination and he was just estimating.” Wait, I’m not done.
When he quoted his ridiculous sum, I emphatically said no and that I wasn’t paying more than 200,000 then I made to get out of the cab. The dispatch girl assured me that the fare would be by the meter, plus the highway toll and airport toll (that’s normal) so I screwed up my face to show…you got it…that it was not the day and I was not the 1. I said fine and told him to start the meter as we pulled away from the curb, because he was still acting like he wasn’t going to turn the darn thing on.
I watched that meter like a hawk the entire ride. I paid the highway toll as we passed through the toll booth and when we got to the centre, can you believe this dishonest man tried to rob me again?? Uh huh. The fare came to 180,000 and the airport toll was 9,000. How much did I owe him? Right, 189,000. I gave him 200,000 and this dude smiled and said bye, not even trying to pretend like he was going to give me my 10,000 change. Now, if he hadn’t tried to rob me in the first place back at the airport, I would have totally let him take the extra 10,000 no problem. But uh uh, that ship sailed the minute he showed his true colours. You know who I was? That’s right, not the 1. And what day was it? Right again, not the day.
So I basically said in a mixture of English and Indonesian (with some paraphrasing), “Heck to the no, buddy! You owe me 10,000 and you better pay me right the heck now.” He got wise real quick (that might have been because of the crazy look in my eye) and gave me my change. I took my money and stomped away from his car, glad the day was done.
Oh, but more fool I because my 24-hours of idiocy was not done. Morning came and with it, a class I had to teach. With a student I had been tutoring one-on-one on the same thing twice a week for the past 4 months. I don’t mean, similar things or things that were kind of the same. I mean the same exact things. The kid couldn’t answer 1 question on the simple worksheet I gave him without me helping him; he knows the stuff but was just too lazy to do the work himself. For him, I had to be patient because he is a child and, to some extent, my responsibility but it did not help with my mental attitude. No, sir.
Then came the last straw…my latest work colleagues, the new ones. They seem to be nice people and 1 of them is really trying to help with all the work that needs doing around here, but they darn near drove me out of my mind that day. There’s 1 guy who stays locked up in his room all day every day except when he’s teaching. So…how is he going to learn what to do when a parent comes to register a kid for classes or if a local volunteer doesn’t show up for class, or a thousand other things that need to be handled on a daily basis? Am I expected to always be the 1 to stop what I’m doing to handle whatever arises? I’ve been giving him time to come to the realisation on his own that staying locked away all day is ridiculous and counterproductive to the team, because I’m not the boss of anybody around here. But guess what that day was? Yup, not the day. And guess who I was? Uh huh, not the 1. So with him locked away all day and me teaching 4 classes plus keeping on top of all the things that people need or that need to get done, how is he a help?
And remember how I told you about the day I worked from 8 am until 4 am the next day? These people have no respect for the results of the work I did in those 20 hours because they were basically messing it up every darn day by doing obviously stupid stuff. I’m sorry; I can’t be more specific because I don’t think it would be responsible of me. But just know, it was stupid. And it was even stupider that I had to talk to them about something so darn stupid that they should have known better than to do it in the first place.
But I didn’t talk to them about these things that day, because what day was it? Not the day. And who was I? Not the 1. So it was definitely not a good time to talk about aggravating things. Not by word nor by deed did I betray myself. I zipped my lip and handled it.
By the end of the 24 hours, I’d had enough. I wrapped up my work and headed to the shared bathroom to shower and retire for the night…and found an almost empty tub, so very little water for my lovely bucket shower that I was dying to have (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it). The last person who had showered wasn’t considerate enough to turn on the pipe and refill the tub so that the next person (yours truly) wouldn’t be scraping the bottom to eke out some cleanliness before bed.
I was done. I was done with people. I was done with idiots masquerading as people. I. Was. DONE. All I could think was, “I can’t even. I just cannot.”
So, have you ever had a day where you felt like everybody in the world was an idiot except you? Look back on it and you’ll see that it was a series of small things that added up on top of each other until you were convinced of your singular intelligence on Earth. That was my 24 hours – a series of small, unfortunate, aggravating events.
Deep breath. Re-centre.
And realise that of all the idiots I encountered in those 24 hours, I was the biggest 1 of all.
I know what the bible has to say about maintaining a good attitude:
Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. Ephesians 4:31-32 (GNT)
That day I failed spectacularly at maintaining a good mental attitude. I started by letting the shoving people at the airport get to me then I let it all go downhill from there. I recognise that and I confess that. And I’m happy to know that:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23a (ESV)
So the next day, I got a do-over. Thank you, God, for a fresh start; please help me to tone down the miserable intolerance and turn up the patience and love.