There is the notion that in order for our society to survive, we need mutual trust in each other as citizens, and in our institutions as arbiters of knowledge and resolution. Today may have been the day that I realized just how jaded I was. Because today I went to the grocery store.
As I was ready to check out I came across two aisles with lights on and attendants at the register. The one at the empty register was engaged in some general busy work and helping with a question for the other’s customer. So before unpacking my cart I leaned in to confirm:
“You’re lain is open?”
And then to my shock, I got a response so casual that it broke my mind.
“Yup. Light’s On.” As if to say, ‘sir, you may trust your eyes’.
I saw the light, I knew it meant the lane SHOULD be open, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe that as soon as I put something on the belt that I wouldn’t get a stern talking too about how the lane was magically closed and they were going on break. I didn’t trust the basic honesty of a light at the supermarket. How my trust issues play out is quite amazing.
Even when faced with my own cynicism, I can’t help but feel that the cashier was filled with a casual naiveté. The world IS objectively cruel and awkward plenty of the time regardless of how we choose to respond, so is it really so odd that I needed to ask? Isn’t this person who insists that the light means what I know it means somehow fooling themselves too?
I don’t know the answer. Maybe it’s both of us fooling ourselves about how we choose to buy into a system. Maybe the cashier needs to wake TF up a bit. Maybe I need to find some trust in the small things that don’t actually matter.