Okay, I admit it. People piss me off. Not what you’d expect from the guy who works so hard to stay focused on the positive. But it’s true.
Most, if not all, of my anger episodes come about when someone breaks a rule. Some of these are laws. Others are things that, in my opinion, you’re just supposed to know. I guess you could call them Michael’s Rules. The net result is that my bitch button gets pushed all the damn time.
The grocery store really sets me off. I’ve got a job to do, dammit, and it’s not one I enjoy. Maneuvering carts with damaged wheels is hard enough without people stopping in the middle of the aisle to chat or to make a selection. And did you really have to bring the whole neighborhood with you? Couldn’t they wait in the car or something? Oh how I’d love to snatch that phone out of your hands and tell whoever you’re talking with that you’re busy, call back later.
By checkout time, I’m pissed at the store for having so many stockers out with giant carts that create logjams and gridlock on every aisle. Of course, I have eight items more than the limit for the express lane and end up behind a traveling circus with four grocery carts and a shoebox full of coupons in the only other open lane. Dammit! No baggers? Seriously?
Driving is another high risk activity. Surely I’m not the only person in Athens who has successfully completed a course in driver education. Ever heard of a turn signal? Who in the hell designed these streets and set the timing on the traffic lights? Idiots! And don’t get me started on distracted drivers.
Just about any interaction with other people poses a risk. Hell, I don’t even have to leave the house. Just one little phone tree and I explode. No telling how many times I’ve screamed at automated voices talking me through options that have nothing to do with the reason I’ve called. OPERATOR! REAL PERSON! NO, I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE A PAYMENT!
I’ve got a plethora of devices that ding, chime, or buzz to keep me connected to things that piss me off, too–assuming I can keep them working. Right now my wireless printer isn’t speaking to any of my other devices. I found the instructions online for how to fix it here. If I could print out a copy, maybe Toodles could help me figure it out, like she did when we put the television stand together.
Changing my address has also been a pain in the ass. In the old days, a phone call or a note with a payment was all that was needed. Now that I pay my bills online, I’m supposed to logon with a username and password I forgot a long time ago. Then I call and get…you guessed it…another damn phone tree telling me it’s faster to do whatever I need to do online.
Despite my best intentions, all my anger does little to nothing toward making the world a better place. I’m the one who pays the price. Being pissed all the time isn’t healthy.
Whether because I’ve been preoccupied with more important things or just too busy to notice, I don’t know. But lately, things don’t bother me so much. When someone pokes the beast, I let it go. There’s still a spark of anger, but I don’t fan it into a flame. Much. Or at least, as much.
No matter how much I think I’d like to control what other people do, I can’t. Getting mad doesn’t help. So I had to figure out a better way and at long last, have come to see that I don’t need to be right, to get in the last word, or to win. There’s no need to debate those who disagree with me on an issue or don’t like me or something I’ve done.
I’ve also learned to minimize the risk. Last week I drove almost an hour, one way, to a tiny rural community to get my driver’s license changed because the people who work there are friendly and you almost never have to wait. Opting out of Christmas this year kept me from blowing a fuse at multiple retail outlets in and around Athens.
Life is short–too short to waste time and energy on trivialities. I stand by the person I am and the work I’ve done with no need to defend anything to anyone. I’m a grown-ass man, and that’s how I roll here in…
My Glass House