I went to get a haircut this afternoon and the oddest thing happened. I go to Great Clips where you walk in and wait your turn. It's cheap and I usually don't have to wait more than fifteen minutes. So I went in and gave my name and they told me it would be a few minutes.
Then a man walked in with a lady right behind him. The man started to give his information, and the woman said, "Wait a minute. I am before him. I pulled into the parking lot first and he just walked faster than me." I thought they were together, and she was just kidding, but obviously not. She looked to be in her sixties, with gray hair, and I looked at her to see if she was kidding.
Then I was called to get my haircut and I asked the beautician, "Did you hear that woman? Was she just kidding?"
The beautician told me "No, she comes in here all of the time. She's not kidding. She's a little off."
Then another beautician took the man within a few minutes, and I heard him telling his beautician that he is a school psychologist. The woman's name was immediately called and she sat and the chair next to mine. The beautician was very nice to her, and proceeded to cut her hair. The woman told the beautician to be sure and cut the colic in her hair the right way so it didn't stick out. The beautician asked where it was in her hair, and the woman didn't know, telling the beautician she needed to find it. Then the beautician asked her where she worked, and she said Wash U School of Medicine. I wondered what she did there, and she proceeded to tell her she worked in the mail room, sorting mail.
The incident made me think about the way we expect people to behave, and how we react when people don't act as expected. First I was humored, then I was a bit nervous when I found out she was a bit impaired wondering what she would do next, then I felt sorry for her because the world must seem like an unfair place to her. I'm big on fair, and often get upset when people are not what I consider "fair." I wondered, too, why the man who was a psychologist didn't let her go ahead of him. He could see it would be a very short wait. I then had to ask myself, if I had walked in at the same time would I have let her go ahead of me? I hope so.