Sometimes it seems we live in a world full of arseholes. In fact, we saw this tweet yesterday that seems to confirm this view:
Tamsin Howse recently encountered one herself:
Yesterday I was running late. I’d nipped in to the shops to quickly buy a dress I’d seen a few days before so I could wear it to the wedding I’d planned. I gave myself an hour to go 5 minutes down the road, park, go into the store, buy the dress, and come home. Ample time, says I.
I got in, bought the dress, and went to leave. Traffic jam. At this point I was already running late, but when it took 20 minutes to get to the bottom of a ramp and around the corner, I was pretty stressed. So when I saw two cars coming from my left out of parking spots, looking like they had just cut through from the row behind them, I thought to myself “No way, you can wait”. There wasn’t much room anyway.
So we all inched forward and the largest car on my left inched forward too. Then again. Then so far forward they almost hit the front of my car.
Next thing I know the woman driving the SUV is out of her car. She’s storming over to me. She screams “I AM COMING OUT OF MY PARKING SPOT!! THERE ARE BABIES IN MY CAR!!” hits my door, puffed up like a rugby player. She storms back to her car, gets back in, and pulls forward.
I have two choices – I can reverse or I can be hit.
In retrospect I should have just been hit. It would have been her fault, there were witnesses and I was stationary. But I didn’t, I reversed. Did I yell back, get out of my car or threaten her back? No. I actually justified myself by saying “I’m late for a wedding!” (to which she screamed “I DON’T CARE!” and accelerated).
I could have pulled out my phone and filmed her. I could have gotten out of my car and punched her. I could have told her off for setting a bad example for the ‘babies in her car’. I did none of that. I reversed. Then I cried, went home, and yelled at my husband for asking what had taken so long.
A shopping centre car park is not a usual place to have to encounter your own survival instincts, well, not outside of the holiday period. But I did. And in a world of fight or flight, I chose flight.
John James writes:
I used to be a very important young man. I used to have to have everything go my way, because I was a very important young man. I needed to be served first in a shop, first on the bus, first off the train…FIRST FIRST FIRST. I must have been such an arsehole. A very important arsehole.
You see people like this everywhere. Some of them wear suits, some don’t. Some of them push prams with very important toddlers wailing away inside. Some of them are stunningly hot women in high heels. Some of them are old ladies pushing a trolley, or old men with walking sticks. They can be people in cars, people on bikes, people crossing against the lights.
But one day I had an epiphany! I realised that I wasn’t the most important person in the world. When you realise this, you suddenly become a much happier person. I still like to get in the bus first, but if someone else wants that honour, I am happy for them to go first…because they are more important than me. And good for them!
Anger is dangerous. It’s contagious. And in a world where we can no longer go around punching each other, unproportional outbursts of anger seem to have become more common.
What about you? Have you ever experienced a moment of inaction? Ever wished you had been able to stand up for yourself? When presented with fight or flight, which do you choose? Or are you just too important?
Photo by Lara604 via Wikimedia Commons