“Hey, Baby — I Don’t Care About Signs. What’s Your Mood?”
I was watching a show the other day that took place Great Britain in the early 1900’s where the characters wore black arm bands when they were in mourning.
I don’t know if you knew this, but people died a lot in the early 1900’s. I’m pretty sure it’s because they didn’t have Echinacia.
But one thing they did seem to have was an inherent understanding of the fact that people can’t read other people’s minds.
Bear with me for a sec.
I think you’ll find it hard to disagree that most people, at least here in America, are pretty self-absorbed when it comes to their day-to-day business. When we order our triple-shot-chai-caramel-mocha-latteatto from the pony-tailed, too skinny girl behind the counter at S’bucks, we’re not concerned about what kind of morning she’s having. We’re not worried about whether or not she’ll pass her mid-term or get into law school get an abortion. We just want our damn coffee, because WE are having a DAY.
So we might be a bit snippy with the skinny latte maker — we might be too busy thinking about how she must be thinking about how cool we are in our work skirts and ties and rushing off to a busy busy day to notice the fact that she’s actually thinking about her mother, who’s somewhere in Afghanistan and hasn’t called home in 4 days.
Or her boyfriend, who just dumped her for a skinnier latte.
Which brings me back to the arm band thing. While politeness and compassion are virtues that we should probably practice all of the time, it’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in our own little whirlwind wonderlands and forget that there are other people in other wonderlands that, on occasion, are actually sometimes a wee bit more jarring than or own.
And maybe, had we known that one of these little satellites within our colossal orbit was having a bad day, we would have been a little nicer. Or understanding. Or… equipped.
I’m talking about mood bands, people.
If the dumpee at S’bucks were wearing a red arm band to symbolize just how ticked off she is at the world, we’d know to leave her the eff alone.
And maybe give her a slightly bigger tip.
And maybe hit on her, depending on our gender or sexual orientation.
Or, if our co-worker shows up to the office wearing a black arm band to symbolize mourning, we know not to heckle him too much about his losing football team. Unless the band is for mourning that loss, in which case he’s abusing the system and should be heckled to no end.
Our waitress is wearing a green arm band? Perfect! She’s happy and helpful and will likely fill our drinks in a timely fashion. But watch what you say — if you cross the line of rudeness and she returns wearing red, you might want to pass on dessert.
I’m thinking I could be on to something big here.