It’s a brand new me

I try to be a nice guy. In theory, in my head, in my image of myself, whenever I think about me, about my self-image, about Rob G. the guy, the human being, about what type of guy I am, I think, who am I? Who do I want to be? I think about being a nice person, understanding, compassionate, empathetic. I like to give out advice to people. Whenever somebody I know is angry or upset or not smiling, I like to dole out platitudes, like, “Hey man, don’t sweat the small stuff,” or, “You know, if you just force yourself to smile, eventually your brain will start firing off dopamine, so just fake it until you feel it.” And I’ll think that I really mean this stuff, and maybe at that moment I’ll actually believe it myself. Maybe I can really convince myself, fool myself for a whole day, a week even. I’ll concentrate on taking really deep breaths and catching myself before I get locked in a bad mood. And then maybe I’ll actually start to believe this for longer than a week, like maybe it’ll be a month, and I’m walking around smiling, great posture, I’m just this shining, living example of positivity. And I’m running all the time. And I’m eating great. And I haven’t fought with anybody in so long. I’m just past all of the negativity. This is a brand new me. And I’m thinking all about me, about how it’s so much better to just feel great all of the time, to just stay positive, above all of the petty, biological reactions to normal, pedestrian, everyday problems, above everyone else and their funny looks and their insults. I’ve reached a new level of spiritual maturity. I get things now. I’ve been feeling so great for so long now. Words keep popping in my mind like transcendence and evolution and growth. You know what? I’m in such a great mood. Let’s go to McDonald’s.

And then I walk over to McDonald’s, and I’m smiling. And I’m just standing tall, beaming. Radiating. I’m just radiating my chest out in front of me, taking these giant long breaths. Me and this other guy are walking towards the door at the same time, and I want to be the bigger person and hold the door open for him, to set a good, positive example, but I don’t want to run, because I don’t want him to think that I’m racing him towards the door so I can get on line first. This guy’s probably not as emotionally secure as I am, he might take my running to be just that, running, a race, while I’m actually just trying to be polite, to him, so I don’t run, I slow my pace actually, letting him go first. I’m in no rush. I’m just enjoying this lovely, beautiful day. Truly a blessing, each day. Each day, a gift. He gets to the door first and he holds it open for me. Unbelievable. I can only assume that my standing up so straight, my calm, relaxed, positive demeanor has somehow inspired this fellow human being to do me a good turn. I’m really appreciative. I’m also a little taken aback. I was counting on me being the one getting thanked, but I thank him nonetheless. I’m humble, if anything. It takes a big man to accept a gift, open-minded, and look, there’s a second door. And I went in first, so now I can return the favor. And now look who’s going to be on line first. That guy is. You’re welcome sir, think nothing of it.

But this is just taking so long. I’m not in a rush or anything, but I mean, it’s McDonald’s. How long should this really be taking? And this line setup. I never understood the McDonald’s line setup. Like there are four cashiers, and each one has their own line. So if you get in the wrong line, like the slowest line, then people at faster lines who may have entered the restaurant after you might actually be getting served first. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have one line, and as a cashier becomes available, the next person waiting in the single line would then move up to get helped? Like at Chipotle. But Chipotle is really more of an assembly line, whereas McDonald’s is all behind-the-scenes type …

And there it is. I might have fooled myself for a day, a week, but here I am on line at McDonald’s just going crazy here. Take a deep breath. It’s OK. I’m back. That was just a hiccup. That wasn’t the new me. That was the old me, but just for a second, so it doesn’t count. But that guy over there definitely came in after me and now he’s ordering. I knew it. I’m totally on the slow line. I always wind up on the slow line. It’s not the line that bothers me, it’s the inconsistency. Who is setting line policy here? Would it kill somebody behind the counter to just pay attention to who is coming in and out? And I just hate it when people cut the line and go right to the counter and start demanding, “Honey mustard! Ketchup! Free refills!” and they think that just because they already paid and are eating that they are somehow entitled to just skip right back to the front. And the cashier always stops whatever he or she is doing to get them condiments and drinks and …

This isn’t working. It’s really not. I know I’m the bigger person, I just know it, but it’s so hard to be mature and composed here when I clearly ordered a Sausage McMuffin meal and this guy just gives me the sandwich and no hashbrown. And I try, politely, calmly, to tell him that I ordered a meal, but he says I didn’t. OK, whatever, I did, but that’s beside the point, just get me a hashbrown because even if you didn’t hear me, I’m telling you right now that I wanted one so just go take my money, please, I feel like I’ve been waiting on line here for a week. And then I get home and there’s no egg, just a sausage patty, and I’m just so pissed, because I rarely get McDonald’s breakfast, I’m never up in time, and I finally find myself all calm and centered and waking up like a normal person and I just want a normal McDonald’s breakfast and I can’t even get a Sausage McMuffin with egg and. And this isn’t working out. I was a bigger person for like a second, but now I’m feeling smaller than ever. Tall, but small. And starving.

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