The Stop Button Works

I was just at a fast food place with my son. I like the new style of fast food places where you can customize your order. I love the idea of making the food however I like it to be, because sometimes I want something different. Some of these places will have menu items, as well.

What irks me about some of these places is that when I order off the menu, they still ask me what individual ingredients I’d like. Why does this bother me? Because when the item is finished, what I’d like is to start all over. When the item is finished, I’ll have gotten what I usually get, plus whatever was supposed to be on it from the menu. Those things don’t always go well together.

Sometimes I say, “I want whatever comes on this item.” I’ve done that. The problem is that they generally keep asking me what individual ingredients I’d like. I’ve had to repeat, “I want that menu item, as it comes” a couple of times, and sometimes I have to be an asshole for them to get the point.

If I free form the entire order, there is no problem. Both of us are expecting me to tell them what I want as I go. But when I try to order off the menu, just whatever is usually on that, there is where the trouble starts.

So I got a little annoyed with the person behind the counter. I wound up just free forming the order. It wasn’t what I was trying to order, and there was too much on it, but it worked out. Please understand, I didn’t get angry, call them names, or cause a scene. I just got annoyed by it. My son, who works fast food, was not happy with me. He was as annoyed with my behavior as I was with the person behind the counter. We were continuing to discuss it in the car on the way home. Finally I just said, “I was an asshole. I shouldn’t have been. Can we drop it now?” That was the end of it.

If I hadn’t said that, though, how long would that conversation have continued? For most people, not too much longer. For us, it would have lasted until we got home, then that would have most likely been the last of it. Was that interaction worth a discussion for a few minutes? Sure. Was I wrong? Yes. Did I admit that? Yes.

Was it worth discussing or even arguing about for a few hours? No way. Was it worth discussing or even arguing about for a few days? No, but that doesn’t stop some people from rehashing it that long.

There is the matter of the person I was annoyed with, as well. He probably got over it pretty quickly, especially if he was a veteran of fast food. I’m not proud of the way I acted, but I owned it. I admitted I shouldn’t have done it. And I called a halt to the recriminations.

Why is this worthy of a blog post?

Because there is power in letting go of negative thought. There is power in my owning my bad behavior and saying, “I am done discussing this.” For most things you run across, that’s OK. Most of the time we’re talking about a small act of rudeness or annoyance, or something else that’s minor.

And even for larger things, you get to a point where you realize you passed enough three hundred miles ago. There comes a point where you have to let it go and leave it in the past.

If you’re like me, you’d let that interaction play in an endless loop in your head for the next few days. It’s only been within the last six months or so that I finally realized I’m the one holding the remote control for what runs through my mind, and that the stop button works.

Analyze your behavior. Learn from it. Then let it go and move forward.

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