While sitting in the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, waiting for the second leg of my journey home from Ottawa, I became aware of what I thought was someone listening to a video on their mobile phone with the sound turned up loud.
It was of an annoying child's whining voice, repeating over and over. I decided it was some YouTube video, or a video of a beloved grandchild. I thought that I had discovered the culprit, an older guy staring at his phone. He became the focus of my irritation, my righteous indignation at the increasing trend to watch video in public spaces with the sound turned up. I began to imagine myself walking over and asking him to turn the bloody thing off, to buy himself some headphones.
And then, walking towards me, and coming from behind this innocent old guy (who could have been doing his taxes online for all I know), I saw a father with two kids, one holding each hand, and one whining over and over in this high pitched, annoying, voice…
I'd made the whole thing up!
We do this all the time without being aware of it. We interpret reality and make it conform to our prejudices, our sense of right and wrong. We impose our stories on the world and make ourselves happy or sad as a consequence. We should try not to.