Can You Abide With Me?

You. We know *you* are vice-free, dear Daily Post reader. But, or perhaps we should say, “butt,” others around you and in your life are riddled with vices: they smoke; they eat too much celery; they hog the covers; they can’t keep their hands out of the office candy bowl. Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others?

Well, I can’t abide how easy many faults, flaws and fears come to mind when I reflect on this question. How easy it is to point out what we simply cannot stand in another person – their habits, mannerisms, etc. Yes, this can be amusing when recounting first dates (the double-dipper on a first date?) but we don’t tend to push through our petulance and bitchiness to examine *why* something bothers us. What is it within us that sustains the disdain?

I don’t particularly like this question. Perhaps we need to be grateful that people abide with our flaws and not so gleeful when noting their own. I’ll start

There are three reasons (so far) that I’ve determined make me susceptible to this

  1. I like a semblance of social structure and order. I like to know that people follow basic rules or perhaps social constraints so we can all engage in public life with a degree of confidence about what to expect. No, not perfection or rigidity. But good manners. So if you use the wrong spoon, someone might gently help you realize this but not use it against you. This is why I cannot abide all-you-can-eat buffets. One incident with “snow crab leg” night a few decades ago left me brutally scarred and I didn’t even want any legs.
  2. I like not to fret. It makes me fret to worry about someone passing along illness to me so watching them cough then grab some cocktail nuts with such carelessness triggers me “OH MY GOD THERE ARE GERMS” feelings. I’m not a germaphobe, but it is a thought that can creep in and really unnerve me. Anticipating anxious situations is not fun. The solution is often to avoid them, but that’s not healthy or reasonable. We have to learn to put up with a degree of discomfort. This one is solely on me.
  3. I want life to be fair. It isn’t. That makes me sad and frustrated.

So, I prefer to have a reasonable expectation of most situations, the comfort of knowing people will act with some degree toward the common good and fairness. When these needs aren’t met, I can be rather judgmental.

And, yeah, sometimes people are just gross. 🙂


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