Friday, May 8, 2009

On Expectation

Reflect on the idea of expectation and how it leads to different opinions, degrees of satisfaction and comfort.

I’m currently traveling with a young man from Belgium. He reminds me in many ways of my friend Nick, also from Belgium. Nick is much cooler, and much more relaxed, however. The two dance similarly, both enjoy liquor drinks, dislike slamming beers, and are keen on simple food. The following description of Batiste (his actual name, no one is protected) is nowhere near what one could say about Nick. It applies to a great many people in this world, however, which is why it interests me.

I have found that Batiste has trouble with expectation. I should say that he has trouble with realistic expectation. After two months in Ecuador, I expect that the bus will not offer sufficient leg room. I expect that the person in front of me will elect to recline the seat to its maximim capability. I expect that the windows in the bus will shake, rattle and roll, creating a cacophony of noise which adds to that which already exists on the bus. These noises, according to my expectation, might include vendors, selling ‘helados, coco, discos, secos,’ and the like. There will possibly be chickens squacking on the bus, and I expect that before I board.

Because I expect these things, which don’t really bother me anyway, I am not disaapointed or angered when they do occur or appear. My expectation being that which it is allows me to accept these aforementioned conditions, and enjoy the absence of those that don’t exist. If all are present, I have merely met my expectations, and there is no reason for discomfort of mind.

My friend Batiste has trouble being realistic about expectations. The bus, mind you, is just a convenient example. The issue goes above and beyond commute, believe you me. Batiste enters the situation without the above expectations and thusly is highly affected when they exist. He has been known to huff, sigh, groan and moan at the existence of such common conditions. I find this to be a terribly tiring way to go about one’s day. I find that he spends a great deal of time complaining about things that one could have anticipated from the get-go.

I don’t know why this occurs, nor if one inevitably becomes more realistic as they experience similar conditions and situations over a long period of time. I really hope so, for Batiste’s sake. It seems he might appreciate things much more, such as the terrain outside in our bus example, if he would learn to be a little bit more honest with himself when developing expectations.

I certainly have had nothing but lovely bus rides in my time in Ecuador. This statement, incidentally, acts as both a literal and metaphorical statement.

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