The question is, "How do you eat an elephant?"
The answer: "One bite at a time."
I've been thinking about elephants a lot since the first of the year. Most of the country has been in a bit of a tailspin. Snow storms and gloomy winter weather hasn't helped much to lift the spirits of Americans who are sick to death of talk of terrorists and wars, poor customer service, shoddy work and unemployment.
Even so, today I was really taken aback by at how rude everyone has become. The challenges facing all of us at the moment are huge.
Three cars honked me out of their way within the two city blocks between my home and the local supermarket. I guess they were in a hurry to go somewhere. A fellow shopper commented "This just isn't your day, is it?" after observing two ladies in a terrible hurry pushing in front of me.
Oh, yes, we're all in a hurry. We're frustrated and tired of winter and more than a little bit cranky. We're concerned about how we're going to continue to manage to keep up with inflation. Since the first of the year I've seen gas prices jump from $1.98 to $2.49 a gallon within two months. Chicken, a meat that my daughter describes as "poor man's meat", is now $5 a pound at the local supermarket. And this in an economy where anyone over 45 is considered a dinosaur.
Yesterday, I had an interesting, if somewhat heated, discussion with a fellow Board member about how I shouldn't be so concerned about handling responsibilities of managing our condo – never mind that people's parking spaces are blocked with snow and leaky toilets have caused the building's water bills to double. Another friend told me that I'm unreasonable to think that people should understand old-fashioned concepts like reciprocity or working together for the common good or helping someone in need. At the same time a peer – a small business professional who makes his living doing programming, database management and network services over the Internet – shared his frustration about his Internet service provider's shoddy service that's been so bad for three weeks that he's very close to losing several customers.
This all starts to look like an elephant to me…
What are we to do?
I don't know about others,
I do know how I'm going to eat this monster….one bite at a time. I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. I can't do much about the state of the world, but I can make a difference today in my immediate neighborhood.
How about you?