Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not Mine Anyways

A couple times a month I spend a half day (or a whole day once a month) at The Maple and Moose in Blythe. The Maple and Moose is a cooperative that sells all kinds of wonderful craft type stuff (finished product).  Being a cooperative, everyone who has stuff there has to put in time running the store.  The alpaca collective has stuff in at the store, and since I’m an unemployed college student home for the summer, I got voluntold to take our share of shifts.  It’s not hard work, but it can be long and boring, especially full day (10 hour shifts).  To pass the time, I bring my computer with me.  Being in town, there are often unsecured wireless connections just floating around and I piggy-back off of them.  There is one that generally works very well.  I can be online and blog (see “What we have”) and talk to people on facebook and just in general amuse myself, while still tending to customers as needed (some days hours can go by with no customers).
When I got to the store today I couldn’t get my computer to connect to the connection I usually use. I found myself getting frustrated.  What would I do with myself on a 5 hour shift with no internet?  What if there was a swim team crisis that I had to solve? (I do all the data entry and meet set-up stuff…finals are tomorrow afternoon) What if I had a problem and had to use Skype to call Mommy in for back-up? How could I monitor the weather forecast? (swim meet tomorrow is an outdoor meet, the weather is crucial) I tried repeatedly to get connected and finally ended up restarting my computer and starting over.  I got my connection and spent about 2 hours bumming around the internet and selling some stuff at the store.   Then, about 2 hours and a bit into my shift, I lost my connection.  I tried repeatedly to reconnect.  It was gone.  The connection I usually use wasn’t even showing up on my list of available networks.  I tried a different connection.  No luck.
I sat, realizing I had about two and half hours left of my shift and no internet.  I played a couple games of frogger (that seemed to work even without internet) and realized that I am even worse at frogger now than I was when I was little and we used to play on the DataTrain and Atari (very old computer system and gaming system, respectively).  It does take real skill to get a final score of 10 in frogger…And then I just sat for a while in a state of frustration about the internet (or lack there of).  Then it hit me.
What right did I have to be upset about the internet not working?
It wasn’t my internet to start with.  I don’t pay for it.  I don’t make sure it stays bug free.  I simple enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labors and pocketbook. I sat uncomfortably with that for a time, knowing there had to be more to it.  Usually when something like that lodges in my head and makes me uncomfortable, there is something more to it.
I thought and thought (and ate my supper).  Where had I heard that question before:  “What right do you have to be upset about ____?”  I paged through my brain (today my brain is a book) and finally found it.  Jonah 4.   Jonah had finally gotten to Nineveh (after a detour that involved the stomach of a big fish) and preached fire and brimstone to them.  If they didn’t repent G-d was going to destroy them.  The people of Nineveh weren’t stupid and repented, and G-d relented.   Jonah was not pleased.  He yelled at G-d, angry that G-d had spared the wicked people.  G-d asked him: Have you any right to be angry?  Jonah didn’t respond but went away and pouted.  G-d, being the kind, loving G-d He is, caused a vine to grow up near Jonah to give him shade.  Jonah fell asleep in the shade of the vine, and G-d, being a kind, loving G-d who always strives to teach His children in a way they will understand, caused a worm to come eat the vine.  Bye-bye shade.  Enter super grumpy Jonah.   Again Jonah ranted and raved, and again G-d asked him: Do you have any right to be angry about the vine? You did nothing to cause it to grow, you did not tend it, yet you are angry about.
It made me think (with no internet and no customers, I had lots of time to think)…how many things do I worry about and get upset about when it’s not my place?  I fret about the weather and whether or not it is going to storm at our swim meet, but that’s not mine to worry about.  I wonder about the choices my friends make and how they live their lives, but that’s not mine either.  Really, the only things I need to concern myself with, is the choices I make.  That’s mine. 
Hey look! Internet is back on!  I can stop thinking now ;)

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