Something really weird happened to me the other day. Juniper and I were sitting in the darkened theater, munching on a popcorn treat, enjoying the previews of what is to come, when a couple of late-comers, a mom and her son decided to sit next to us. No big deal, right? Seemingly so, but then she did something beyond comprehension. SHE STUCK HER HAND IN MY PURSE AND HELPED HERSELF TO A STASH OF NAPKINS that I had so diligently procured for Juniper and I not twenty minutes earlier while in line at the snack counter.
She literally stuck her hand in my purse and handed her son the napkins that I had stashed away. No hesitation. No poke followed by a hushed, "hey can I have one of those napkins?" No nothing. Just taking. FROM MY PURSE.
I was completely floored! I didn't know how to react. I felt the hairs raise on my arms and neck, I felt the anger being mustered up from my gut and traveling toward my vocal chords, but for some reason my brain was on overdrive and I was actually thinking before I reacted. It was truly the strangest thing... everything was going in slow motion. Seriously. I was literally feeling myself think. So before I could say the disgusted and threatening words that were caught in my throat, Did you just go into my purse and take my napkins? I thought to myself, but they're just napkins. And just like that the moment was gone. And we watched the movie.
As I relayed this strange story to my family and friends, they all reacted in the same way - they were shocked and enraged for me. That's when I knew my original almost reaction was normal - I'd been validated. They all wanted the gory details of the confrontation and were surprisingly disappointed when I couldn't provide any.
I can't explain my non-reaction.
But I do remember the release of anger as I peaceably soothed myself down from an edge that I never really got to. I mean, they were just napkins. Right?
Maybe it was because the movie was just about to begin. Maybe it was because we were surrounded by tiny little ears and minds that are oh-so eager to mirror the way their parents react to situations. Maybe because it just wasn't worth it. Who knows.
But what I do know is this: the only thing we truly have control over is our perspective - how we choose to react, how we choose to feel when someone says or does something we like, or don't like and everything in between. The only difference between a good life and a great life is the story we tell ourselves about the world around us.
And that day I chose the story where, once upon a time, there was a mother who wanted to take her son to see a movie, but then things got all crazy-like and hectic and then they were late and she forgot to grab napkins and she just needed a break.
So I gave her one.