Rage. Anger. Malice. The world just seems to be populated with hotheads. Let me be clear here. Getting angry is one thing; but losing control over most trivial matters – now that’s something else entirely. We all have lost our cool sometime or the other. Anger is a quite natural emotion that we feel. How we express it varies though. I have seen people losing their temper over trivial matters and just explode like the Krakatoa. Granted that there might be personal reasons or emotional conflicts; but that does not justify taking it out on others – especially on strangers.
I once witnessed an outburst in one of the fast food chain outlets (which by the way has grown like mushrooms ). What surprised me was that the perpetrator was an old man – not very old, but just-out-of-retirement old. He, and a little kid (probably his grandchild) occupied a table two rows ahead of me. His outburst at a waitress was what caught my attention. The waitress apparently did something wrong, and she was trying to make up for it by being polite. However, that just tipped our old man over and he began throwing tantrums. “Can’t you see? I am trying to spent some good time with the kid. You are spoiling our experience!“. These words were not the exact ones which were spoken, but the idea was the same.
Embarrassing moment – for the people gathered, and more so for the waitress. What act from her warranted such an outburst? How proper was he, in insulting her before others? Let’s say the fault was with the waitress itself; still, given the age difference, one would expect the man to act with a little bit of prudence and compassion. Above all, what impression does it leave on the kid who was with him? At this point, my friend who was with me commented something about judging a person’s character based on their behaviour towards their inferiors .
Another incident along similar lines- and this involved me (I was at the receiving end, and as you probably guessed, this indeed is the motivation behind this post). My room is on the fourth floor of an apartment, and the lift ( or the elevator, if you will ) was made functional only recently. I usually come home late and would proceed to finish off pending work if any. This particular day, there was quite some amount of work to be finished. The only thought in my mind was to get home as soon as possible and start on the pending work. As soon as the lift reached the fourth floor, I dashed out and went to my room. Few minutes later, somebody knocked on the door. My room mates told me some body was there, looking for me. I thought, “That’s weird..Who’s there to visit me at this time of the night?” Anyway, I went and saw a man with a vaguely familiar face. Then the following ensued:
Visitor: “Are you the guy who just came in that red Aviator?”
Me: “Yes. Why?”
Visitor: “Did you just use the lift to come up here?”
Me: “Yes, I did. What’s the matter?”
Visitor [Fists clenching, facial muscles tightening]: “Why didn’t you switch off the fan and light inside the lift when you got off?”
Me: “I.. what?!”
Ok, this guy is mad at me because I did not switch off the light and fan inside the lift. That is a good point. It was my mistake. I usually do take care of that, but I was in a hurry today, maybe I forgot. Let me tell that to him…
Me: “Ohh.. Yeah bhaiya, I am sorry; I usually take care to switch off the lights in the lift. But today I had some urgent work to finish off, so maybe I forgot in the…..”
Visitor[Cuts me off mid sentence.. His face is red now] : “Do you think you are the only one with job here? Why don’t you learn a lesson or two about conserving energy?”
Me: “But I..”
Visitor [Head tilted, Lifts index finger to his lips, he wants me to stay silent ] : “I cannot pay for all these. As a house owner, I cannot tolerate such nonsense!”
Me: “But I told you I am sorry, and that I would take care of it in the future. I am as concerned about energy conservation..”
Visitor [He is visibly shaking now. Lifts his hand in filmy style]: “Enough of this nonsense. If I ever see this happening again, I am going to take this up very seriously with the owner.” [Pauses for the dramatic effect, then, brandishing his hands], “very seriously.”
Me [Well, I heard this much, and politeness is not working]: “See dude, I told you I accept what I did was not correct. No need to go shouting about like this. ” [He raises his fingers again – probably sees too much films. But no, I had had enough..] “Now if you are so adamant, go tell the owner, nobody is stopping you.”
Well, that ended the confrontation. We exchanged stares for a few seconds and went our ways. But really, was there a need for all this hullabaloo? Couldn’t he have told this to me amicably? Even if he was so agitated, what justifies his shouting like this? I tried to bring down the heat level by being polite. But that simply did not work. Finally, I had to raise my voice to end the matter. That is the danger. Irrational anger is contagious; especially when you are the victim. I was guilty of being angry too; but I was forced into it.
To the hotheads amongst us: Why this rage? Why all this malice? Spread love and peace. Do not be the jokers of the society. And speaking of jokers, I can’t help but quote the joker here 😉 :
Why so serious?
[Image courtesy: Original image of the clutch courtesy of Stuart Whitmore.]