So I’m standing in the checkout line at the Albertsons down the hill from my place. There’s one customer in front of me as I stack my goods on the conveyor belt. For some reason though, I am impatient, feeling nervous and anxious, and before I know it I have jostled the grocery cart in front of me which makes the customer look over his shoulder and sort of frown. Nowadays it’s always there coiled inside of me look a snake ready to strike. The sense that I have to keep moving maybe, have to do something though what it is I can not tell.
Robert Ardrey in his seminal work, the Territorial Imperative, posed that increasing the number of objects, people, ideas, inventions, creations, in a limited space could drive us rat-like crazy. Is that it? He said it was instinctive. I wonder.
Let me give you another example. Wednesday I drove down to my local Office Depot to purchase an external storage drive for my laptop and desktop computers. I had been thinking about it and researching so when I got to the store I knew what I wanted and went right to it. As I approached the cashier through the serpentine path and past the here’s-somethings-you-might-need-but-probably-don’t-want area, I noticed that the three cashiers were unoccupied. No one was in line. While I placed my purchase on the counter and reached for my wallet, I asked the guy if he knew anything about the product and whether I would need any more connection cables than what came with in the box. Suddenly, someone I took to be a manager shouldered my cashier aside, quickly scanned my purchase and entered my store card into the register. He even tried to upsell me. He then backed out of the regular cashier’s way as though nothing untoward had happened. It was only then that I noticed that there were now other customers waiting there turn behind me.
Waiting at the red light, I watch as one, two, three more cars jam their way through the yellow light. Where are they going, and what is the hurry? Someone once said that wherever you go there you are. So why am I, why are, we feeling such a need to hurry?