Sunday, June 15, 2008

Temper, temper!

I noticed the other day how easy it is to get mad at other people. I always teach my students to try to just "chill" when someone makes them angry, but I fully understand how difficult that can be at times. The other day on my way to work, I got stuck behind a guy doing about 23 mph (not kidding...he was doing less than 25!), and that really frustrated me. Then I got behind a bunch of other cars that slowed me down, which frustrated me even more. It was like all of the Sunday drivers were out on a Tuesday. So finally some of the slow cars cleared and there were four cars left, and we were all traveling a little faster than the speed limit to make up the time we lost. I was the last one in the line, and actually wasn't really paying attention to how fast we were going. We got to the point where the speed limit drops from 55 to 35, and then there's a stop sign at the bottom of the little hill. A guy walked up to the road and waited for traffic to clear so that he could cross (I think), and when I got to him, he mouthed "slow down" as he made a motion with his hands which would also indicate that he was telling me to slow down. And that really made me mad! First of all, I don't do well with scoldings. I always try to do the right thing, so a scolding just felt like a slap in the face. Secondly, I was the fourth car in the line, and he picked ME to yell at? Sheesh!

Now, I know that I wouldn't have gotten out of the car or confronted the guy or anything because I just can't see the point in doing something like that. But for the rest of the ride to work (about 10 minutes) I played a little movie in my head. I often do that...I have those little daydreams about different ways to react in a given situation. Now that I think of it, it's kind of like what you'd see in Scrubs or Ally McBeal, where they space out and have a silly daydream, then snap back to reality.

I'm terribly ashamed to say that my first reaction would have been to argue with the guy, but that's the emotion I was feeling at the time. I know very well that if I were to have gotten out of the car and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that I was going that fast. I won't do it again," that there wouldn't have been an issue. But if I had gotten out and said, "How dare you tell me to slow down. Who do you think you are...?" or something like that, I'm pretty certain that it wouldn't have fixed things one bit.

I'm finding that this post probably makes me sound like a big jerk or hothead, but I guess the point is that even though I know the proper way to be have, sometimes blowing up at someone seems to be a natural reaction. I also don't want to give the impression that I was actually contemplating getting out of the car and arguing with this was simply one of those thoughts that crossed my mind.

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