There’s a D’n’D just up the street from my wife’s workplace that often causes a traffic backup in the right lane. I’ve gotten in the habit of staying in the left lane, then changing lanes ahead of the cars turning into the drive-though.
This morning I was just getting ready to make my lane change, and the “asshole” in the right lane didn’t turn into Dunkin’ Donuts. Boy, was I pissed! And then I thought, “Who’s the asshole here, anyway?”
I’m not really patient with other drivers. I was a professional for so many years that I tend to expect that kind of attention to detail from civilians. Doesn’t happen. Studies have shown that about 30% of the population really don’t possess the abilities that make a good driver, so it’s a lead pipe cinch that there will be issues on the road — and who ought to know that better than an old traffic cop? My expectations about another driver’s behavior got me upset, while the party in question drove on, completely oblivious of his or her part in the atrocity.
It got me to thinking (when I started thinking again) about how often we let our expectations of others’ behavior rule our lives and our happiness. “Well, he should have known that I’d like to have flowers on my birthday!” “I always watch the game on Sunday! Why didn’t she tell her parents to come over some other time?” (He/She) should have seen that I’m unhappy and given me a hug/offered to help/left me alone… You get the idea, because we’ve all been there.
Expectations create problems because we don’t communicate our wants and needs. We expect others to read our minds, to be privy to thoughts that — for whatever reason — we have failed to make clear. That’s a common problem among addicts and codependents, and one that we have to get under control if we want happy lives and relationships.
We all have our Dunkin’ Donuts moments. We need to work on that.