I have been suffering from a growing problem these past few months. It has not gotten out of hand yet and I hope it doesn't. I was surprised to see Doug Robinson nail the problem on the head in his Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008 column. (Deseret News, pg B1). You might find this article here: firstname.lastname@example.org. For lack of time and space, I won't quote much of it.
He speaks of a new book by Dick Meyer titled "Why we hate us." Some reasons for our rage are: (A) because our population has doubled from 150 million to over 300 million in 50 short years, (B) because we are saddled with "time saving" devices that take up an enormous amount of time and (C) because of exponential growth of personal agendas and "selfism" we have become disoriented, anchorless and defensive. I quote all of this rather loosely. Obviously, our response to these new pressures is to dislike each other. Wow.
Tonight I stopped at Wendy's to pick up two quarter pounders with cheese. The lady took my money at the second window. She was very nice. A few moments later a fellow appeared at the window with my bag of treasure. He handed me the bag, turned and walked away. He might as well have thrown it at me. My newly acquired preset attitude took over. I was helpless to stop it. "Thank you" I yelled in indignation. He kept walking. The poor lady rushed to say "thank you", hoping to avert confrontation. At the top of my voice I screamed "thank you." The poor guy turned and mumbled some sort of "Uh, yeah, thanks" as I gave him a dirty look and drove away.
Part of my intention was pure. In that split second, I hoped to teach him that people need the smallest courtesies. But I knew that Mr. Hyde was trying to take me over. I find more and more that forebearance is a virtue that I have been walking away from as social mores decline. I used to laugh about "ornery old goats" and now I are one. Maudeen says she is suffering from the same growing illness. Make no mistake, as we search for external answers we are probably burying the internal answers. In effect; since you surely aren't going to change, at least not now, today, then it must be me that changes.
Let's just take bad drivers "fer instance." I am seriously trying a new technique. No, a whole new attitude. Whenever another driver offends me, I will look at him/her as my best friend who is teasing me. "Oh, look, there's my best friend Ralphie cutting me off. We'll laugh at that later today. ." Or, "there's my best friend Minnie honking at me for no discernable reason. I'll e-mail her and we'll LOL all over the place. And "golly, there's my best friend Billy tailgating me at 85 mph. He's such a stud." I think I am onto something here!
How about this: "There's my best friend Luigi. He's waving at me with only part of his hand. Awesome!" Or, maybe, " There's my best friend Arnie running a red light and almost taking my front bumper off. He's so silly. Maybe I'll slash one of his tires when I get him stopped. He'll love it." Or "There goes my buddy Vince. He sped up when I sped up, then he slowed down when I slowed down, and now I have missed my exit. I'll push him completely off the shoulder. If he rolls his car we'll have that to laugh about for weeks to come." Or, "there is my best friend Moosie. Haven't seen him since high school. He has gained weight! He took my parking spot. I love that guy. I'm gonna hide here at the edge of the parking lot and pretend to crash into him, swerving at only the last possible second. Hope his wife and three children have the same sense of humor I have. Hope Moosie does."
Last year some guy verbally abused me in a crowded intersection. Luckily I followed him and now I know where he lives. I'm going right now to his house. My newfound excitement for generosity during stressful times allows me to do what needs to be done. This is brilliant. I have 18 cans of spray paint. When he comes out to confront me I'll have a giggle fit and inform him that I have absolutely no animosity toward him. Life is good.