A friend from out of town and I were driving, and he hooked a thumb out at Taco Cabana and asked, “Is that any good?” I had such good memories of Taco Cabana back in the day. We don’t frequent it so much lately, but I remember loving the freshly made tortillas and chicken flautas. Loading up on cilantro from the salsa bar. Even their margaritas were surprisingly good.
I told him that I loved me some Taco Cabana. He told me to take a hard right into the parking lot.
As we cruised to the building, I noticed the lack of cars, and trash all around. There was only one guy inside, and he legitimately looked homeless. The salsa bar was empty. The pans that generally would hold the cilantro, onions, and salsa were washed and dried. No one was behind the counter, and you could hear the employees horseplaying in the back.
This was at four in the afternoon.
Eventually, we got the attention of one of the employees to take our order. There was no ice in the soda machine. They dropped the brisket tacos from the menu. I realized it had been years since I had been here, and it had gone downhill.
I felt embarrassed for giving it such a high recommendation.
We weren’t too crazy about the whole experience. The meal. The service. The ghost town ambiance. Nothing to write home about.
But here is the thing; when you expect something and get it, you say, “Cool, it’s what was supposed to happen.”
However, if it is the opposite and you don’t get what you expected, you are upset.
Our experience at Taco Cabana wasn’t great because I had held it in high esteem some twenty years ago. My friend received a glowing recommendation and found it lacking.
Having expectations doesn’t leave room for gratitude.
Your expectations are either met, or you are underwhelmed. Either a box was checked, and it’s okay, or it wasn’t, and you were done wrong.
It might sound sad to you, but I like to limit my expectations of the people around me. When I work, I expect my boss will pay me. But for everyone else around me, I don’t think they owe me anything.
No one is required to be nice to me. No one should have to care about my feelings. I don’t believe that people will drive with consideration on the highway or use their turn signals.
So I am rarely upset. The times I am angered with someone else, it is most likely due to my expectations of them. Then I know the blame goes right back to me for having expected something of someone else in the first place.
Now, of course, you can have your expectations exceeded.
If we had gone into Taco Cabana and the menu had improved, the staff was attentive, and there was a free sample of some crazy dessert, it would have been amazing.
But if you drop the expectations you had in the first place, you can be just as amazed. Setting the bar low, you experience so much more joy because each time something exceeds what little you hoped for, it is a gift!
Especially with what you expect from other people.
If it’s good enough for a Roman Emperor, it’s good enough for me.