On the road
We all know the scenario: the guy in front of us is going slower than the speed limit, while the guy behind us is trying to set a new land speed record. Frustration, anger and a rebirth of all of the bad language that ever got our mouths washed out with soap, surfaces without restriction. We are pissed off and feel completely justified for being that way. How can they let that idiot drive when he can’t even maintain the speed limit! What is that nut trying to do behind me, cause an accident? You slow down and keep to the right, letting rocket man do whatever he is going to do.
You can’t know the what or why of their situation, only what you have control over. Somehow we get through the predicament and move along to the next one.
In the store
Sometimes you get behind a person in the express lane at the grocery store (you know, the one with the 10 or 20 item limit) and it is obvious that they have many more things in their cart than the limit. Now what? Do you make a fuss? Does the checker make a fuss and risk delaying the whole process even longer? If the checker stands up to the numerically-challenged individual she risks bringing down the wrath of the young punk assistant manager on her head, because “the customer is always right” (as per the management handbook). You both (you and the checker) give the miscreant “the look” and just let it slide. To do otherwise would just add grief to your life and one more nut, more or less, won’t matter in the long run.
Choose your battles wisely. Is it life or death? Will an innocent person suffer because you failed to act? Is it necessary? Is it wiser to let things go and keep your blood pressure down?
At the drive-through
I recently witnessed a strange act of impatience and anger. An undecided person was at the ordering station of a drive-through fast food place, you know the kind; no idea what they want or even IF they want what is on the menu. It would seem logical or sensible to us that they would figure that out before they got in line, but they didn’t. Behind this person was also someone that we can identify with, the hurried worker who only has a thirty minute lunch break and half of that is used up driving to the restaurant. Stress was rearing its ugly head as Mr. Impatient began to yell at Ms. Undecided and bang on the outside of his own car door. This only served to fluster the young lady and she couldn’t get her order right. The angry man yelled obscenities and attempted to pass the car in his way and depart. He gunned the motor and managed to drive up and over the concrete curbing and promptly hung his car up on the bushes planted in that divider. The young lady got scared and drove through the lane, right past the delivery window and out of there. Mr. Impatient now had to wait for Mr. Policeman AND a tow truck. I’m pretty sure that his boss won’t be amused. I know that the restaurant manager wasn’t.
Someone else does a silly or unthinking action, or possibly a selfish one, and we react by getting angry and losing control. Have we gained anything? I would say no.
It all comes down to us
We get angry at young people because they do things without thinking, acting on impulse and living life faster than their brains can keep up with. I think that perhaps we are just resentful that we no longer are able to live without care, having learned responsibility and being accountable for our actions. There is also the physical restrictions that age places on us, a little at a time.
Sometimes we get frustrated at elderly folks for being so slow and forgetful, making us repeat everything that we say, and often for not caring about what is important to us. The real reason is that we are afraid that we are becoming just like them and we don’t want it. We are still trying to hold onto the youth that we no longer have and fear being less than we once were.
I can tell you that image is NOT everything, regardless of what the advertising says. Who you are remains the same.
Let me leave you with this challenge:
Strive to be at least as nice to others, as your dog is to you.
The world will be a better place and we will all be happier, together.