Consternation

Consternation: (n) feelings of anxiety or dismay

I agreed to go shopping with a friend. I don’t do that very often–not because I am anti-social or unwilling to get out of my house and peruse the neighborhood.

To me, shopping is a personal thing, with a personal approach.

I like to organize before I go, flow into the shopping center, pick my things up, take advantage of any sales, acquiring a surprise or two, andfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C get back home with the sense of accomplishment.

I don’t hurry but I also don’t linger.

So my decision to go shopping with this other person was carefully made, and decided in order to promote some good fellowship.

We arrived at the shopping mall and it was crowded.

My friend had to circle several times to find a parking space, and then a guy with a little car pulled in front of him and took it.

Honestly, my friend was already a little dismayed over having to search for a parking anyway, but the action of the little car turned it into consternation.

He sat there, blocking traffic, until the driver of the little car got out. My buddy yelled at him.There was no profanity, but he made it clear that he thought the dude had no upbringing and was basically “an common asshole.”

After this he sped away, looking for a space, grumbling under his breath. He peered at me and posed the question, “Have you ever seen anything like that before?”

I had, so I truthfully replied, “Yes.”

He was not satisfied, so he pursued. “Well, don’t you think that’s stupid–what that guy did?”

Also easy to answer. “Yes.”

“So,” he continued, “would you have done what I did?”

Uh-oh. Now I was trapped. I could lie and tell him I would have done the same thing, to make sure the shopping trip was more pleasant, and to take away the dark cloud brought on by the “space stealer.”

But I decided to tell him the truth. “My friend,” I said, “I don’t pursue confrontation unless the person receiving my challenge has the possibility of learning from it and becoming different.”

My friend didn’t like my answer. For the entire two hours we were at the mall he remained grumpy. He didn’t like what the stores had to offer, he hated the prices, and when we stopped at the Food Court for a delicious lunch, he was convinced his burrito was too salty and not made with actual meat.

He faithfully maintained a pious position of consternation.

I, on the other hand, was grateful to get home.

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