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#61 Bubble People

Being home this morning, I decided to go grocery shopping with the wife. She warned me that I didn’t need to go along, but any married man could tell you how that goes….

First, I don’t like Wal-Mart. That might have sounded soft. I really hate going to Wal-Mart. It really has nothing to do with the politics or China or anything else; just being in the building really puts me in a bad mood. I leave there nearly homicidal. Judging by the others in the building at the time, I may not be the only one who feels that way.

Today was no different. Regardless of how I try to stay out of everyone’s way, the aisles are too narrow and there are too many people. If I move out of one person’s way, I invade another’s space. I try so hard to be polite and courteous, yet I am so often met with hostility.

Additionally, it seems everyone is truly convinced that they are the only ones in the building and appear incensed that you would even share any part of the aisle with them. People will see you looking at something on a shelf, then ram their cart into you, push you out of the way, then begin to analyze the entire rack for what seems ten minutes before moving on.

It seems my attempts at cordiality are proportionate to other’s hostility. They behave as if they are in a bubble. They are the only ones in the place. No one else matters. They show no concern for anything outside of their tiny bubble. Even in the parking lot, no less than three people stepped right off the sidewalk and into the path of my moving car without even so much as a glance in my general direction. Not an acknowledgement that I was approaching, not a look right and left (I guess I instructed my kids incorrectly all these years), just total oblivious abandonment. They are the only ones there. Nothing else matters or exists.

Are they zombies? Are they numb? Or are they simply insolent, curt, callous, indifferent, or ignorant? Is this their way of saying screw you, and the horse you rode in on?

It got me thinking about current attitudes and outlooks. So many posts on social media lately exalt the idea that if someone in your life isn’t giving you what you desire, what you wish they should do for you, then cut them out of your life. Set yourself free. There is a pervasive feeling of being all in for oneself and not much beyond.

I truly believe that you should abandon those who abuse you. Trust me, as a cop for nearly 25 years and an empowerment coach for the better part of 15, I can tell you that not one person should stay in an abusive situation; whether it be work, church, relationship, parental, or whatever.

I also am firmly entrenched in the camp that you should avoid your energy vampires and life-suckers. If anyone in your life isn’t offering you an equitable relationship, minimize them. That includes family members.

That being said, I also believe that we shouldn’t live in a bubble. We shouldn’t be so closed off from everyone around us that we don’t acknowledge anyone else in any way at all.

I have always believed there are three different ways to approach people.

Be polite.

Anyone can be polite.

Polite is the minimum you can provide another person. Polite is the simplest form of engagement. All it really takes is to acknowledge that another person is present and to show courteousness in their general direction.

Here in the Midwest, if we realize we’re about to occupy the same space with someone, and avert the collision at the last second, “Ope” is usually uttered. For some reason, Ope is generally recognized as “Gosh, I’m sorry. It looks like we were headed in the same direction and nearly bumped. Glad that didn’t happen, please go first.” In some other parts of the country, and for my non-USA readers out there (love you so much), I’m sure you have some other colloquialism.

But polite is simple, quick, easy, and often all that is required in many social situations. Anyone could, and should, be polite. Just do it.

Be Nice.

Anyone can be nice.

Nice is often reserved for social or even work situations that demand longer contact. What’s weird is that you can be nice to someone you don’t even like. What’s weirder is that we are often nice to someone we don’t like just to avoid conflict or strife. When our coworker decides to slack for the afternoon while we pick up the pieces, nice prevents you from the dreaded HR meeting that follows telling them to sit on a cactus. Nice is telling your drunk uncle that it’s time to go and you’ve already got an Uber waiting, instead of whipping his ass for ruining Thanksgiving yet again this year. (As a former street cop I can tell you that the second choice really happens) Nice is when you ask someone in line how their day is going, even when you truly don’t care, just to pass the time and relieve some social tension. Nice requires a modicum of effort more so than politeness but is still quite simple.

Be Kind.

Anyone can be kind, given the effort.

Being kind takes effort. Being kind often requires action. Being kind is a determined expression of compassion that expects nothing in return. Being kind is more than “Ope,” and extends to opening the door or helping the person to pick up something they dropped or letting them order before you. I’ve said for years, and have even posted on social media, that there is a chasm between nice and kind.

For example.

Ladies, would you rather have a nice guy or a kind man?

Kind goes out of the way. Kind gets things done. Kind is an effort. Kind requires us to make choices and act on those choices. Kind is helping the custodian at work dump the office cans. Kind is clearing the elderly neighbor’s walk. Kind is helping the neighbor kids get their kite in the air instead of yelling at them to get out of your yard.

Kind requires action. Kind demands movement.

When given a choice of polite, nice, or kind, always try to go for kind.

Now a caveat.

Kindness doesn’t mean you bend over backward for everyone you know. Kindness doesn’t imply going above and beyond for everyone in the office or playing superman each time your relative who can’t seem to get their shit together calls you for something they could very well do themselves but won’t.

Kindness is not a cover for trying to win everyone’s approval. Kindness isn’t lighting yourself on fire to keep others warm (figuratively). Kindness should never be mistaken for self-debasement to please others.

Be kind, but don’t expend your energy to garner dopamine from accolades.

Be kind, but don’t exhaust yourself for other’s approval because you won’t approve of yourself.

Believe it or not, there are some interesting people out there. They are just so caught up in their own little bubble they would have a high-speed come-apart if someone cracked their shell. I tried today. I made attempts at polite, and even nice. I couldn’t get out of everyone’s way long enough to try kind.

Today’s experiment in Friday grocery shopping demonstrated to me that some people would much rather remain cloistered in their own pleasure prison than engage positively for just a moment with someone else. They remain zombies.

And they continue to infuriate the rest of us.

Kindness rules.

It sounds like 1Corinthians 13:13.

Polite, Nice, and Kind.

The greatest of these is Kind.


Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Holistic Health Practitioner, Metaphysician, and Empowerment Coach. He combines bodywork, energy work, and coaching to relieve anxiety and depression and balance the nervous system. Weeg coaches his clients to drop the white flag of victimhood and pick up the banner of empowerment, inspiring them to stop riding in life’s trunk and take the wheel of their lives.

Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine, Pure Herbs Ltd. and Juice Plus. He teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.

Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.

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