I may have mentioned this before, but I can be a big angry bastard sometimes. Provoking anger from me is like sticking a pin into a balloon. There are moments when this rings true.
The other night on the way home from work, I passed a friend on the street while. I happened to be chatting on the phone. This friend and I lost contact over the last year or so. It was my doing. I had valid reasons. This guy was not worth ending my conversation on the phone. I said hello. He stopped momentarily. I kept walking.
Maybe three hours later, I logged into Facebook at home on the couch. Up popped a chat window in that annoying tennis ball noise it does. The text in the chat window was blocky and substantial. I squinted to see who it was from. It was from the friend on the street. He was having a hissy fit.
“How dare you be so rude – pass me by on the street and ignore me. Who do you think you are? I clearly stopped to talk to you and you walked by. I have made such an effort with you over the last year and all you have done is be rude and abrupt. I have had enough. That was the last straw.”
I took a deep breath and pondered my response. What could I say to that? I thought for a minute and decided to keep it simple.
“I am sorry. I did say hello to you. I had a bad day at work and was offloading on the phone.”
I hoped this would quench my friend’s anger. It did not.
“Have you ever heard of manners? Have you ever heard of calling someone back in five minutes?”
One, two and three … the balloon popped. I exploded. Anger surged within me. My mind raced. My issues with this guy came to the forefront of my mind. I sent my friend a catty response to his over-dramatised issue with me. I hinted at the reason why we lost contact and threw in one or two other things for good measure.
“How petty of you to bring that up!” he responded.
“Petty? Petty is messaging someone on Facebook to air your grievances.”
It would come as no surprise to my friends and family that I would ever lose my temper as I did with the likes of my friend. What might cause surprise is that I did not go mad straight away. The deep breath and “one, two, three approach” is a new development in my life. I have practised it more than once in the last few months. I am chilling out in my progressing years.
A good thing about the “one, two, three” approach is that if someone does piss me off, those few seconds allow me to make a proper assessment of the situation. I can either give the benefit of doubt or learn from it. This is generally the wisest approach. The other option is to judge whether a person does in fact deserve a piece of my mind or a lashing from my forked tongue.
Those few seconds can define the level of justice required. Valuable seconds establish the difference between a firm scowling and ripping their fucking head off.