'Tis the Season to be Tolerant

The Holiday Season has a tendency to bring out the best in each of us.  There’s just something about this time of year that heightens our awareness of those around us and activates our compassionate nature.

Sure, there are exceptions.  Like when we’re gift shopping.  How can we not get a little impatient with the “slow shopping cart pusher”?  You know who I’m talking about.  The person that moves down the aisle at a snail’s pace, glancing at every item on the shelf.  There must be something seriously wrong with an individual who chooses to go so slowly amidst the hurried masses.

Don’t they realize that we’re back there behind them?  Don’t they know we’re in a hurry to just get around and continue zipping down the aisle?  Can’t they be more considerate of what the rest of us need?  Some people are just so selfish – it’s as if they feel entitled to use the aisle and enjoy shopping at their own pace.

Aside from that small group of entitled shoppers who just don’t seem to understand how much their mere existence annoys us, we really do like sharing the spirit of the season with our fellow man.  Like at office parties when everyone brings in platters of sugar-covered creations and takes pride in how much they can sample throughout the day.

Well, except that one guy who brings in the vegetable tray without ranch dressing.

Seriously, it’s bad enough that he’s politely declining the snickerdoodles, chocolate-covered pretzels, triple-fudge frosted brownies, and oversize, over-sprinkled cookies molded into festive shapes.  But does he have to stand there in his Merino wool sweater, crunching on a carrot, making the rest of us feel like gluttons?

Ok, so there’s always going to be that one guy who is “health conscious” and won’t make an exception to what he ingests.  We won’t let this one bah-humbugger detract from our pursuit of holiday joy.  It’s all about getting together with the ones we love and for a lot of us, exchanging gifts around the Christmas tree.

We’ll even pretend to like it if the tree happens to be artificial.

The fake tree.  C’mon now!  Do you really save that much money by keeping the same plastic tree stored in the attic eleven months out of the year?  Can’t you just drive to the Jewel parking lot, plunk down some green, and get that nice fella to come out of his 1960’s travel trailer and tie a real tree to the top of your car?

There’s nothing ironic about dragging a real tree indoors while dragging artificial lights outdoors.  That’s just the way it works – no need to fight tradition.  Yeah, I know that poor tree grew for years in some forest in the UP before a guy in a Carhartt jumpsuit fired up a chainsaw, felled it, loaded it onto a truck, and drove four hundred miles just to sell it to you.  If you hadn’t bought it, someone else would have.  The tree was destined to die in a couple of weeks either way.  I’m sure the guy plants new trees as he cuts them down, he’s a businessman after all.

No, we’re not going to let the slow movers, the healthy eaters, and the tree huggers hinder our pursuit of Holiday happiness.  We are going to let the true spirit of the Holidays – peace on Earth and goodwill toward men – grant us tolerance.  It’s not about us or our selfish needs, not at this time of year.

We will share our path with people moving at a different pace.  We will respect those who make healthy choices for themselves.  We will accept others who take a personal stand on environmental issues.

If the true spirit of the season remains with us, we may even learn to carry this tolerance into the new year.

Who knows, we might even embrace this spirit the next time we’re asked to share the road with a cyclist…

(You didn’t really think I could write an entire blog without somehow working bicycling in, did you?)

Happy Holidays!  Keep riding and be safe.


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