Entitlement

Truthfully, I don’t know how long this week’s post is going to be. There’s a lot going on that I don’t really want to share. Everything is more or less okay. It’s just a lot. Instead, I am going to share a story of something that happened yesterday and the reminder I got from it.

My family did not want to cook dinner yesterday, so we went out to eat. We wore our masks properly, and we were told there would be a wait time. It was not a problem. We knew we wanted to eat there and were not opposed to waiting. This restaurant always does well with business, and the wait times are often an overestimate.

About 5-10 minutes after we had walked in, a woman walks in. If she were a normal woman, this post would end right here. But she was not. You may know the term “Karen” and this woman was one. She went to put her name in. Unfortunately, I could not hear the entire conversation, but I know she was angry. I assume it was because of the estimated wait time. I did catch “Well, we still have to eat here, don’t we?” in a very nasty tone.

She walked away and came back with (what I assume was) her husband. Before she goes back to the hostess stand, she told him a couple of times that this was unacceptable and she was getting a manager. Well, talk to the manager she did, and it wasn’t long until her and her group of 5 other people (that’s right. You heard me. There were 6 of them) were getting seated.

We were not the only family standing in that area. There was also a somewhat young couple with two children and a baby carrier. I know small children can get antsy and impatient, but these kids were seriously well-behaved AND kept their masks on the whole time. There was no complaint from any of them, and one of the children even went to hold the door for another family.

Well we got seated about 10-15 minutes later, and we had a good time. We ended up being one of the last ones to leave. And as we left, I saw the same manager who had been sternly talked to (if not yelled at) by that other woman helping to clear another table. That really spoke volumes to me about the manager’s character.

I’m not trying to call that woman out. She might’ve just had a bad day or something. It’s not my place to judge. But at the same time, it is so important to be aware of your situation and surroundings. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Things are bound to be different. These places that are staying open are going to have restrictions, including number of people who can be in the building. If you have a problem with it, you do not have to go out. Trust me, my family cooks at home way more than we go out to eat. You are not required to eat anywhere.

And this goes for other things as well. You’re not entitled to much. I’m sorry if you think I’m insensitive or mean. And I don’t mean major things. I mean minor things like not waiting in line for food or not paying full price or something. I’m referring to trivial things that can easily be substituted and you’ll still be fine.

We are all working hard during this pandemic. And things are different. Three of my four classes today had one or two students in person. The rest were online. Last February, I was teaching in a classroom of 30 students. This February, it’s a good day if I have 5 students in class. Again, things are different.

I’m going to lay this out for you: don’t be entitled. It only makes you look like the bad guy. Work hard and go after what you can, but don’t be afraid to wait. I have a concert I’m hopefully attending this summer, and I’ve bought tickets already. But I haven’t booked any lodging or travel arrangements. I’m waiting. And if the concert gets postponed again, it’s not a huge deal. It is not a requirement that I go to this concert, and it’s not money that I’m missing and hoping to use for something else. So if I do need to get another refund, I see it as more money rather than my money back.

We expect life to be convenient and can be quick to jump the gun when it is not. I get it. I fall victim to it too. But with that expectation sometimes comes entitlement. Expectations are fine. But be prepared to face the realities if those expectations aren’t met. It’s when those expectations become entitlement that it becomes the problem. How do you deal when reality turns out different? Do you resist it and demand your way, like the woman did at the restaurant last night? Or do you let the change happen, and adjust to the new reality?

I can’t make decisions for you. I can only tell you that I strive to be more like the second one. Life happens. Things go wrong. Nothing will always go according to your plan. But when that happens, think about how you respond to it.

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