Sunday evening, while on a family zoom call, my brother-in-law used a term that was new to me, but the meaning of the term was extremely familiar. 

Earlier on Sunday, while grocery shopping, I was very frustrated with my shopping list which had several items on it that I had difficulty locating. There were crowded aisles and seemingly no workers to ask, my overcoat was too warm for being inside for longer than about five minutes and the omicron numbers in our province were way up. A recipe for me to get cranky. 

I was getting more and more grumpy as I went from one failure to procure to another. Even the things I did get were not quite right. I needed to get Rolled Oats (not quick). I checked the cereals. 32 different products and none of them were just oatmeal. I figured maybe they would be in the baking section. No. Maybe they were in the display of everything baking at the end of the aisle? Nope. I returned to the cereal section and found a box that did not use the word “Quick” (it did say “fast rising” or some other synonym.) I put it in the basket. Wrong!!!! I was also asked to get large zip-loc bags. There was a huge selection. I found Zip-Loc. I found large. I put it in the basket. Who knew that there are different kinds of large Zip Locs? Not me. What I bought was for vegetables and not cookies. I tried to call Sharon and see if she had any suggestions, but she was not picking up….. 

Usually I don’t let the small stuff bother me, but it was a perfect storm for exasperation and kvetching. I did not do this in public, but  did in private. . The rolled Oats SHOULD HAVE been where I looked for them! There SHOULD NOT have been so many confusing Zip Locks to choose from. There were TOO MANY people shopping and I was TOO hot. Woe IS ME!!!!

Bourgeois Suffering. A phrase coined by the Buddhist Nun Pema Chödrön.

It is sort of like “First World Problem” in that, the problem at hand is not life threatening, but an inconvenience to my entitlement. A mere blip on the radar of what is important in life.  

 I was once in line a few years ago to get a coffee at The Second Cup in Westmount. There was a “Karen” ahead of me who was freaking out on the kid barrista because the franchise had run out of Mocha flavouring. The woman was quite rude and nasty to this poor kid. I was next in line and when it was my turn, I jokingly said “I guess I shouldn’t order a Mocha then?” and the the Barrista said in all seriousness: “Welcome To My Ghetto!”. I stored that away and wrote a song about it. 

Another story from around the same time was when I was sitting in my car waiting for someone and doing a cryptic crossword when the car ahead of me backed up and hit my car. I was immediately getting all my testosterone gathered to give this person a blast of shit when he scurried toward me and I rolled down my window. He said “Please forgive me!” which blew my testosterone out of the water. “Of course!” I replied. 

When I take a step back and see how silly my attitude can be in the face of trivial problems, I reset my attitude from entitlement to gratitude and things go much better. 

On Sunday, people in my age group became eligible for the booster shot (3d vaccine) and I went on-line to book, but the site kept crashing. I’d either “time out” or the slot I was hoping for became unavailable. I got frustrated but shrugged and gave up after about 30 minutes. Sharon had two devices going trying to do the same for me and she got quite flustered as well by something she could not change. She gave up after 45 minutes. I decided to try my luck with walk-in (sans rendezvous) on Monday. I tried three locations without success.

Meanwhile Sharon got me a reservation on-line for tomorrow. 

I will probably always have the feeling of Bourgeois suffering to go with my white privilege, but I have the tools to keep it in check and stay healthy. Gotta remember that “Namasté” and “Fuck You” are opposites and the first is harder to access, but better for me.

One thought on “Bourgeois Suffering 

  1. I know what you mean. When a simple task becomes far more complicated, frustrates me. Most morning, while it is quiet, I start the day in a positive mode. I am okay. By 9:30 it feels I have had 10 cups of coffee. I am really worked up about something and I am having difficulty letting it go. I really have to flip my mind like a pancake on the skillet to settle down. As we get older I think our aging bodies freak out dealing with emotions. I hope the new year brings you many opportunities. Alex


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