Dad and I made a run for puppy supplies and other things this morning. The first thing I did on entering the pet supply store was ask about something that happens to be locked in one of those manager lockup doodads, which meant they had to keep it at the counter while we completed the rest of our shopping. There was a new guy working the register when we got done.
He asked exactly the right question, “Is this everything you need today?” as we loaded up the cart contents on the counter. Having failed to remember the stuff from the locked cabinet, I answered, “Yes.”
We realized the goof when we got home, and I hadn’t been charged for the stuff, so it was no big deal. I made my way back to the pet place, and the new kid remembered me and was very apologetic that we’d all forgotten and that they’d already re-stocked the locked up stuff. If I were to guess (as I am doing this very moment), I’d say he expected me to blame him for failing to remember it, like he was responsible for my shopping list. I always feel terrible for the fact that people working retail have to assume that customers are going to come barging in waving their entitlement complexes like revolutionary flags.
“Oh no, this is my fault. You even asked exactly the right question, and I gave you a bad answer. It’s all on me.” He looked at me like I was the strangest customer he’d have all day. I may very well have been. And how sad is that?
I think that concept of entitlement, “I deserve!” must be a Cat Brain trait. It’s certainly got that grounding of a perceived past wrong-doing that must be made up for, or a past earning of some ethereal token worthy of unquestioned respect or some such. The compassion of choosing not to come at a fellow human with that writ large on your psyche must come from a Dog Brain ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes at that very moment, to imagine life through their eyes. For that matter… to see through whatever Animal Brain is in charge of their reactions. That’s where I hope to discover the power of this goofy theory lies: the ability to recognize the different Animal Brains in action and adjust when confronted with a conflicting Brain.