Just as I had finally gotten used to new routines, routes, and commutes post move everything got turned upside down. I moved at the start of summer, which means, school was out. This morning I was greeted by what for three months had been a virtually empty C train filled with adolescents. I suddenly found myself packed like a sardine with hormones, insecurities, a general dislike for anyone over the age of twenty, and a total lack of awareness that other human beings exist. I’m glad all these kids are going to school. I am all for education. I’m not glad to be sharing a subway car with these kids at 7:30AM. I went to Trader Joe’s after work because 3:00-4:00PM is usually a quiet time there. 3:00-4:00PM is just about when afternoon classes get out unleashing throngs of new college kids into the streets of New York and into Trader Joe’s to buy ungodly quantities of inexpensive snacks. Not only was the store packed, the store was packed with kids who A) had probably never been in a grocery store before and B) looked like they came from small towns in Iowa where the town population is equal to the number of people in Trader Joe’s during the busy times. Form two lines for check out? Actually stand on one of those lines until you get to the registers instead of aimlessly meandering about the store when something catches your eye? Clearly not taught freshman year. I found myself behind a very confused girl, trying very hard to be cool dressed in rolled up sweatpants, Docs with flames printed on the sides, and smiley face socks. She realized she was about to cut me in line and looked at me quizzically. I informed her that the line she started in goes down a different aisle to get to the registers. “I guess everyone wants to get in the short line but everyone also wants to shop for their dairy while on line.” I looked at her and said, “You have to choose your battles here.”
We all must choose our battles. This is a lesson I am constantly being forced to learn and relearn. I am especially learning when to speak up and when to keep my mouth shut. There are some battles worth fighting and some worth losing, some may not even be a battle to the other party until you make it one…choose wisely. There is a brilliant quote by Shirdi Sai Baba I often recall when contemplating a battle, “Before you speak ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, it is true, does it improve upon the silence?” It is seldom what I am about to say is all four, which means biting my tongue, and then letting it go. The biting of the tongue is slowly getting easier. The letting go is still a struggle.