reality and expectations


this train is only 10 minutes late, the departure board is optimistic

The idea about reality, and how it “should” be, has been very often on my mind last month.

Taking public transport to reach a classroom no more than 40kms away. Never the same trains, never the same time, … washed away expectations.

Sometimes even half an hour late at work, .. far below ‘my standards’. Getting home late doesn’t feel too bad. This project only lasted 3 weeks. But it is pretty bad: at times two and a half hours between A and B. This is an average of 16kms/h or 10 miles per hour. It would be easier to go by bike!

What about ‘my standards’. My standards are a given concept. ‘A teacher always has to be on time, although 5-10 minutes late due to circumstances are allowed (if less than 5 times a year)’.
‘My standards’ are an indirect cause of my possible frustrations. If I looked upon public transport as most do in Tanzania, I would never be frustrated.

After the first two days I got used to it. Shrugging the shoulders. I do my best. What more can I do. They do their best, what more can they do? The machines that run the railways do their best. Thinking about plan B and even C …
And then I arrived on time, for several days in a row, by plan A.

Danger zone is a possibility of fatalism, that might soon lead to inaction and neglect.
But one month is not enough to reach that zone.
In November I’ll teach the same class,
and I’ll try to combine car and bike
or car and tramway.

But I don’t have illusions on plan B or C. It might work, but it also might not work. I have to take the last possibility into account and relax and surrender to it if it will happen.

All frustration(s), anger and sadness almost always arise from the difference between reality and how it should be.

Pictures taken by bvdb (whoisbert) – Canon ixus HS230 – June 2013 @brussels_nord_station IMG_3531


26 thoughts on “reality and expectations

  1. Dit is zo herkenbaar… ook hier is het openbaar vervoer een kwestie van geduld…en ja… we hoeven niet dagen te wachten op een trein.. Hoewel ik er nu steeds vanuit ga dat ik of vroeger weg moet gaan of het gewoon maar neemt zoals het komt πŸ™‚ Het is de frustratie niet waard… Ik denk dat Belgie en Nederland de kroon spannen met vertragingen πŸ™‚
    groetjes, Francina

    • Vroeger vertrekken is niet altijd een optie, zeker niet als je nog kinderen naar de schoolopvang moet brengen. Die opent niet voor 7.00 uur. En op papier zag het er allemaal goed uit. Maar de eerste dag ging het al goed fout. Enkele treinen geschrapt, en dan sta je daar. De situatie in Nederland ken ik nauwelijks, behalve dan van de verkeersmeldingen op de autoradio – en dat klinkt dan ook meestal niet zo goed.
      Het nemen zoals het komt – je went er te snel aan – erin berusten zonder nog de moeite te doen alternatieven te proberen. Dat is beter dan je nodeloos op te winden, zeker, maar het is geen oplossing als je zo’n traject maanden of jaren moet volgen.

      • Ja soms kan vroeg vertrekken inderdaad niet en natuurlijk zoek je andere oplossingen. Papier is geduldig . Ik heb zelf jaren gependeld met bus-trein naar werk en dat traject was een ramp zeker in wintertijd. Dus alternatief was dan een bus of een tram.. Langer onderweg maar wel zekerder. En geloof me de Nederlandse Spoorwegen staan hier bekend om hun storingen! Iemand heeft me wel eens gezegd dat het komt doordat wij het drukste treinsysteem hebben voor zo een klein landje.

  2. Interesting piece of writing (inductive), the main point at the end. Concluding statement is like the train arriving at it’s destination – expected, but nobody knows when πŸ™‚ And the means by which it arrives there is everything that happens before that point; the journey to get there…

  3. Have you seen the movie Sliding Doors? Not the best flick, but interesting to contemplate that we are always right where we need to be, until we don’t need to be there any more.

    I love trains as teachers. And oh the surprises that are allowed to come at times from loosened expectations related to transportation (welcome to my work related world)!

    • Didn’t see the film. I don’t watch many films any more these days. I should thank my ex for once monopolizing the tv too.
      Thanks to the smartphone I could always find a route to destination B or A. Planning, 5 min before arrival in one or the other connecting hub.

  4. I set very high standards in my job, how I interact with people, and with just about everything. It too frustrates me when i see people and the systems they control who don’t strive for the best. I guess, either I let go of my quest for “perfectionism” or I let go of my expectation that others will do at least an adequate job. Either way,,,,it’s letting go.

    • There is nothing wrong in setting high standards for yourself. It’s wrong when the standards become an iron law. There is nothing wrong in expecting high standards from others. It is wrong to get frustrated when they don’t apply that to them unknown ‘rule’. What is right is right action: if there is an action to make a situation better in the most friendly way, we have to do it. Or we could try to bring the message to the other side, in the most positive of ways. Accepting the world as it is is very important, but this does not exclude doing something about a given situation.

    • … perhaps patience alone is not the solution. There is something which is called right action. This action makes the best out of a given situation, for you and for others. And often, but perhaps less often than we like to think, the right action is patience.

  5. So true! It’s the same with the public transportation (buses) I take sometimes. They are rarely on time when I’m early and if I am behind they show up early! LOL I just do my best the same as they do and try not to get too ‘worked up’ about the time. Generally they do alright-although they aren’t as frequent as they could be. Larger areas have better service.

    • I had good schedules on paper … When the 7.30 connection was 40 minutes late, I arrived on time. When the 8.05 connection was on time, I arrived 20 minutes late … πŸ™‚

      • LOL, traffic can certainly alter things! Or the amount of people getting on and off and frequency of stops. With the buses I take some of the drivers barely slow down to pick up people and drive like there’s a fire to be put out somewhere! Those are the drivers so concerned with sticking to the schedule they will drive right by a person waiting to get on if they aren’t standing at the exact spot the driver thinks they should be!

        • In case of the belgian railways, the problem lies more with the bottlenecks of the network, and the optimism of those creating the schedules, believing that the trains will behave like their Marklin versions at home.
          But then who cares, if your boss understands your problems and lets you work late or from home to make up for the lost time πŸ™‚

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