Wednesday, August 03, 2005

the detrimental effects of rageahol

Back in February, I was driving down Rte 1 and I put my directional on to turn into a gas station. I realized at the last minute that it was the wrong turn and I hopped back into traffic, cutting off a white mini-van. At the moment I was totally stressed out after having returned from a business trip exhausted to visit my boyfriend in the hospital. I was having a hard time dealing with life and while I can't say my actions were safe or smart, they were certainly unintentional.

Anyway, I drove down the road a bit and then turned into another gas station. The mini-van came barreling around the corner and skidded into the deserted parking lot. This fat, half-bald man got out of his jesus fish and yellow ribbon stickered van and started screaming at me. I mean screaming, at the top of his lungs. At me--a distraught twenty-something unaccompanied female.

I stood there with hands in the 'don't shoot' position, repeating "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry". He called me an asshole and told me that if I ever did anything like that to him again he was going to "kick my ass". Meanwhile his teenaged daughter had slid open the side door and was apologizing for the mortifying behavior of her psychotic father. The jelly-bellied jerkoff waddled back into his van and drove to the Market Basket across the way.

I remember getting back into my car and breaking down sobbing. I cried and cried feeling scared and frustrated and angry. There was nothing I could do about it. There have been a few other times in my life when I've been confronted with really angry people. I usually have the same reaction--freeze and/or start crying. It always astounds me that these seemingly heartless bastards have the audacity to project their unhappiness at someone else in such a threatening way. What turns that switch that makes people fly off the handle? What makes them think that just because they aren't using physical force, it's okay?

I don't think that this guy (and many of the other anger freaks I've known) is an awful man. I'm sure he loves and cares for his family. He might do all kinds of wonderful things for people. And, he certainly supported our soldiers. He was totally the type of person who goes to church each week touting the virtues of abstinence and loving thy neighbor, but supports war and unleashes verbal fury at fragile young women.

As hard as I've tried, I can't forget that day. Today someone called the Inn screaming about the $20.00 cancellation fee. She yelled at me over the phone like I had just accosted a member of her family. I really feel sorry for people who harbor such anger inside them, and even sorrier for people who have no discretion in choosing those on whom they release their fury. I'm trying to forget that pitiful lady named Phyllis and her berating New York accent in my ear drum. I guess if I soak up her bad energy and let it ruin my day, then she wins. I know I'm supposed to try to let her pathetic, immature outburst roll off my back and chalk it up to a lesson learned in 'how I never, ever want to act'. It just totally rocked my whole sense of security and comfort leaving me feeling depleted and sorry for myself.

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