We Want What We Do Not Want
Ever since the snowstorm earlier this week, I’ve been listening to people (including myself) talk about their journeys home Monday night. This person here spent four hours on the freeway to go five miles; that person there abandoned his car and walked home three miles through the blizzard; another one over there spent the night in a hotel rather than face the commute.
On the one hand, the stories are complaints: “Oh, it was awful; you can’t imagine how I suffered; you’re lucky you aren’t me.” But on the other hand, there’s a gleam in the storytellers’ eyes that tells me different: “At last! Something happened to me! I got to experience life out of the ordinary routine. How alive I felt!”
As I sit here writing this piece in the airport as we prepare for a trip to San Francisco to celebrate cousin Seth’s 50th birthday, I’m overhearing the guy behind me tell how it took his brother six hours to get from the Seahawks game on Monday night to his home in Tacoma. And even though he’s bemoaning his sibling’s misfortune, you can tell he’s just a tiny bit jealous.
His brother has a story to tell that he doesn’t; in fact, he has to tell his brother’s story in order to have one to tell.
What’s this made me reflect on his how often and how much we want what we don’t want. The very things we most strongly resist are those we most covet: anything to knock us out of our routine and humdrum existences.
Preparing for our weekend trip, for instance, has been a headache. I was thinking earlier that there’s nothing less relaxing than getting ready to relax.
Still, given that for the next few days I’ll be doing something different than usual, it’s worth it.
This doesn’t mean, though, that I want our already-delayed flight to leave any later than it’s already going to.