Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stressville, USA

Tomorrow I go back to work after a rainy, but restful, vacation. I've got some tiny knots of apprehension, as it's a busy day, with lots to do... but, I remind myself of how much I truly love what I do, and start to feel some excitement about being back in that place, surrounded by great people.
I have not been living the hermit's life though, despite the rain- Thursday I went to the grocery store. I was listening to a podcast of This American Life called "signs of a recession" and the first story they told was about the statistical rise in broken teeth during a recession. My dentist had told me just last week that he was seeing a lot more grinders and stress fractures... and this week when I went to the drug store to buy a night-guard-thing for my own grinding problem, I was surprised to find that there were very few left!
I certainly saw a rise in aggression and stress at the grocery store- it was the Thurs. before the 4th, and it was POURING, and the store was full of people. I noticed that when the store is full, with way too many people, customers counter-productively become MORE aggressive and LESS cooperative.
Today on the road I was flipped off by two different people, and saw another person flip off another driver. People are cutting each other off and waving nasty hand gestures, and scowling. I can feel the stress in the world. I see people become more internally-focused, at a time when we need each other more and more. I hope we figure this out, as a civilization. I wonder how or if things can get better if we are unwilling to cooperate with each other on little things like getting down a grocery store aisle or merging onto a highway ramp.
This week my prayers will be for frustrated people, and the young people and adults who are giving a week to helping each other and growing closer to God.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

It always surprises me when walking down the street and preparing to pass someone, he will look down, when I know he knows I'm there. I don't know if we're embarrassed or we just don't want to be bothered. But I make it a point to smile at anyone who is brave enough to catch my eye, and say hello. It may not be much, but I'm hoping it helps people realize that other people can be nice and friendly (I know it helps me).