We need more righteous fighters.
When someone I love very much was young, she was so much like me that it was scary. When something frustrated or angered her, you’d hear about it. Big time. We used to say that she should become a lawyer because she loved to argue so much.
Frankly, in her youth she could be a pain in the ass. Just like I frequently have been and probably always will be, as needed. And I know what a hard row to hoe that can be. You’ll be told you push back too much. People often don’t appreciate it at all. It can get you into trouble. I didn’t want that for her. But people have a tendency to be who they are.
Don’t misunderstand. We don’t have anger issues. We don’t rage about nothing. We don’t scream at cashiers. Far from it. We get righteously indignant when we see injustice. We speak out when others are afraid to. We stick up for the underdog. If something needs changing, we try to change it. We want the world to be much more fair than it will ever be.
What do you do with that energy when you have a fighting spirit? How do you keep it from burning you from the inside out? How do you avoid getting ulcers, or imploding under the sheer weight of your frustration?
Me, I blog. I write about the things that frustrate me. I try to educate others. I shine lights on the cockroaches of this world.
But the other day I realized that my loved one, now in her 30’s, has taken her fighting spirit and turned it into something even more positive. She is an educator and an unflinching advocate for children with special needs. She fights to get them every ounce of education that they so richly deserve and are capable of. She makes sure that they are not discounted or overlooked as so many children in this group tend to be.
She is a fighter still. But she uses her force for good. And I couldn’t be more proud.
I truly believe we need more righteous fighters in this world. It may not look pretty, but somebody’s got to do it.
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What is the point of all your impotent rage?
There have been a lot of Facebook fights of late. People are scared, and they’re only brave enough to lash out if they can do it from a distance with very few consequences. I try really hard not to feed the trolls, but, as with everyone else, my patience is paper thin.
As I write this, I’m watching a live video feed with my governor and multiple nurses, in celebration of National Nurses Day. Even as these heroes talk about what it’s like to work on COVID-19 wards, trolls are commenting that it’s all lies, and that no one is really sick, and that this is just some twisted conspiracy to keep people from working. Attacking nurses on National Nurses Day seems like a new low to me.
I was also attacked online the other day for saying that as a bridgetender, I blow my horn at 8 pm to thank the frontline workers. This guy immediately jumped on there, infuriated by the number of times we bridgetenders have made him late to work. He said a bridge opening for a sailboat would often cause him a 20 minute delay.
First of all, the average bridge opening only lasts 4 ½ minutes from the time the traffic light turns red to the time the traffic gates rise back up, and I’ve never, EVER seen it take an additional 15 ½ minutes to clear traffic afterward. I’ve never seen that in 19 years as an operator. It may feel like you’re sitting there for 20 minutes, but trust me, you’re not.
I often wonder why people who get so irritated at drawbridges don’t simply take a different route. But I think it feels safe to be outraged at an inanimate object. Those iron girders can take it.
I think a lot of people are angry about any number of things, and don’t have the skills to deal with their anger, and therefore express anger at ridiculous things instead. That guy that jumped on my case told me that Seattle drawbridges are a pet peeve of his, and that any time a bridge opens, it infuriates him.
Um… Get over it? It’s a situation that isn’t going to change. Why would you allow fury into your life several times a week? Either take a different route, or reframe it as an opportunity to step out of your car and get some fresh air, or maybe try and figure out why you have so much anger inside of you, and get some help to learn how to deal with it effectively.
Becoming infuriated by something you know you’ll be exposed to multiple times in the course of your life seems rather self-destructive, and frankly, insane, to me. Getting upset at a drawbridge is about as silly as getting upset every time it rains. Rain happens. Bridge openings happen. What on earth is the point of all your impotent rage?
I suppose, in light of all the anger that’s floating around out there, the rest of us just need to breathe deeply and not let their anger enter into us. Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t become one yourself.
But man, that’s easier said than done these days.
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I don’t understand people who go from zero to outraged in 2 seconds.
I was running errands recently, and one of the things on the to-do list was a stop at the post office. I had pulled into the suicide lane (aka the middle lane) of a busy 4 lane highway, because I had to make a left turn to get into the parking lot. I had plenty of time to assess the situation, because there was a lot of oncoming traffic to wait for.
As I sat there, I saw a man walking up the sidewalk. When there was a gap in the traffic, I noted that he was at least 20 feet from the driveway, and moving slowly, so I decided it was safe to make my move. And then he sped up.
But by that time, I was already committed. I was crossing the oncoming lanes, and cars were coming. When I passed in front of him, he was still a good 10 feet from the driveway, so I thought nothing of it.
I parked. It took a moment to gather my belongings. That turned out to be very, very fortunate, because the next thing I knew, the guy was pounding on my window and screaming at me.
“You b**ch! You almost killed me! You didn’t even see me.”
I tried to remain calm. I said, “Of course I saw you. That’s why I didn’t kill you.”
The whole time, he’s beating on my window, and I’m praying that the glass will hold, and feeling grateful that I had remained in my car long enough to have this conversation with a bit of a barrier between us. Because the man was unhinged. His eyes were bulging out of his head from pure rage. He proceeded to shout at everyone in the parking lot, telling them what a b**ch I was, and how I’d attempted to kill him.
Because, yeah, that’s my goal in life.
Needless to say, I didn’t get out of my car. Eventually he stormed off down the street. To say I was a bit shaken by this incident is putting it mildly. I decided not to pick up the mail after all.
To this day, that parking lot gives me a frisson. I make a point of looking all around me before I step out of the car. This guy will forever haunt the post office for me.
I really don’t understand people who go from zero to outraged in 2 seconds. Especially when the situation does not merit that level of aggression. I did not harm a hair on his chinny chin chin. Why did he attempt to harm me?
If Homie hadn’t gone completely crackers on me, we could have had a reasonable discourse. I would have apologized for startling him. That certainly wasn’t my intent. I must have triggered something in him. We all come with baggage. Sometimes our reactions have more to do with the past than the present.
But one wonders what a guy like that would do in private if he’s so willing to attack a woman in public. I wouldn’t want his life, where the tiniest of things brings him to the rage place. Along with being profoundly dysfunctional, it must be exhausting and isolating.
I suspect he will be dining alone come Thanksgiving.
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A few days ago we lost a cultural icon and a great man by the name of Leonard Nimoy, and millions will mourn his passing. At times like this I’m reminded of something I learned the hardest possible way this year. Life is very precious.
I know several people who seem to exist in a constant state of fury and irritation. These people amaze me. I can’t relate to them on any level. I want to say to them, “You’re alive! Don’t you get it? You can do anything. You have choices. What the hell do you have to be angry about?”
I think these people walk through life with blinders on. They certainly don’t realize they are throwing away the most valuable gift in the universe: their very existence. I look at them and think, “What a waste.” There are plenty of people who are no longer with us, who appreciated every exquisite moment of the lives they had, who would gladly take even a day of someone’s unappreciated lifespan if only they could be alive again.
When you’re in a rage, your vision narrows to a tiny little point. You don’t see anything around you. You certainly don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses. You’re too busy pissing all over them. Why would you want to narrow your field of vision like that? There’s so much to see! Life is just so freakin’ beautiful, people. I wish everyone realized that.
So next time you are angry because someone has cut you off in traffic, try this instead: take a deep breath. Look around. Then drive home and tell the people that you love that you love them. Because that’s what matters. Nothing else does.
So I get to work early, thinking I’d be a good little newbie. I turn off the alarm and turn on the lights. Upon her arrival she immediately starts in. “In this office we do NOT use the florescent lights!” Such fury. Such angst. I turn off the left switch and turn on the right. Problem solved. “And don’t sit in that chair. That’s MY chair. Don’t ever sit there.” I move.
It must be exhausting to be her. Everything is a crisis. She’s the queen of overreaction.
I think about a trick that someone taught me long ago. It’s called the body check scale. When you come across a situation that requires you to react ask yourself what its equivalent would be on this scale.
- 100% Death
- 90% Terminal illness/paralysis
- 80% Broken Bone
- 70% Flu
- 60% Sprained ankle
- 50% Cold
- 40% Stitches
- 30% Rash
- 20% Scraped knee
- 10% Bruise or bug bite
- 5% Stubbed toe
To me, someone turning on the wrong light would be the equivalent of a stubbed toe at the very most, so my anger would go to 5 percent, or mild irritation for the purposes of this exercise. (In truth it would bother me not at all.)
For her, on the other hand, it’s the equivalent of death. I have no idea why. Post traumatic stress, perhaps. None of my business, really. I’m just glad I don’t overreact like that.
[Image credit: roflitup.com]