“Hey, you want me to call the cops?”

Yesterday was a great day in Seattle and a couple of us decided to go downtown for a dinner. Unfortunately, parking costs $20 (2 hour minimum) at the lots where we were. As we reluctantly approached the machine to sacrifice our money for the rental space, a homeless guy walked by and said, “Hey. Hey buddy. If you just move your car to that spot right there, you only gotta’ pay $5 for the next 2 hours.”   WHAT? It totally confused me, the logic of it, and had to ask him to explain it to me again.  Sure enough, he was absolutely right.

I’m cheap. So as I went back to move the car, a rather high maintenance woman, in a car to match, was just leaving the lot. She rolled her window down, and proceeeded to chew out this homeless guy for being there.

“Hey, you aren’t supposed to be here. You need to keep moving. You leave those folks alone. You want me to call the cops?”  She then proceeded to to get into an argument with the homeless guy. She could care less that he had actually just saved us some bucks.  Folks up and down the sidewalk could all hear her. They just watched the blood pressure rising in this lady, like a glowing, cartoon thermometer about to pop.

So,we moved the car the thirty feet to the spot that this guy pointed out to us. Brushing off her verbal ranting, and smiling with us, he even helped hold traffic as I quickly backed out and back into the cheaper, better location.

I had no problem at all, shaking hands and giving him a few bucks for the actual service he had provided us with. The whole time, Miss Fancy Pants was still just upset and hollering at him. “I’m calling the cops and gonna’ have you chased out of here!”

The homeless guy and the three of us were all glad we met up. We had a great exchange where we all came out smiling and appreciating each other. Almost feeling like friends.

I found it interesting, that here, we had all intersected one location, but had two such different experiences.

The three of us had just had a most relaxing day,enjoying some of the flavor of downtown Seattle, and had attracted some guy that saved us $15 for parking while we ate. (woo-hoo- one more drink!) While on the other hand, that uptight harpy had just attracted someone who was increasing her blood pressure and really just raising her hackles and putting a real bee in her bonnet! You could just hear the stress hormones boiling up in her body.

The homeless guy was just one stimulus, but was translated differently.

  • OK, “Legally” she may have been correct. He didn’t have his “official panhandler’s license” and he should not have been soliciting for a handout.
  • OK, maybe she was the Lot Owner that we were moving our car out of, and she was a struggling, justified business owner.
  • What if she was “correct” on both accounts?

Do you want to be “correct” at any costs?

Do you want to feel “justified” at the expense of just being happy?

What is your focus and goal in life? Do you sacrifice feeling happy so you can feel “right” or “justified” most of the time?  I have for a good 40 years, I think.

Remember that one stimulus can initiate many different responses. What kind of response you have, the emotion you feel-or attract, is totally up to you. You can justify and stick to your “correctness” all you want, but if it’s increasing your blood pressure, jacking up your body chemistry and decreasing the smile in your spirit, why bother?

Last night, four of us just wanted to be happy.  And we were.

What do you think?   Which feels better? Do you prefer to be “right” or be “happy”?