Sunday, February 01, 2015

Temper

I was unspeakably rude to the nice Christian ladies who came proselytizing to my house on Friday afternoon.  I am often in a bad mood after work, but on this day my bad mood was worse than usual because the city allowed a long stretch of public sidewalk be boarded up for a private enterprise's hotel construction and I was forced to make a detour on my walk home which led to standing in the freezing wind for an interminable time at a signal that gives cars in all directions a generous amount of time and gives pedestrians a millisecond to get across.  Furthermore I'll be forced to make the same inconvenient detour for the unforeseeable future because the city of Charlottesville cares fuck-all for pedestrians and allows corporate hotel muckety mucks to demolish the sidewalks that belong to the taxpayers.  This particular stretch of sidewalk is heavily used by pedestrians.  But I digress.

So I was already fuming and composing furious emails to city government (and I hope the city is flooded with same, hint hint Cvillians) when I saw the two women heading down my driveway.  I was still a block from my house, which gave me plenty of time to get even more angry about the fact that the way into my house was blocked by people who would want to talk to me.

Luckily for all concerned, Jon was home and had answered the door by the time I got to the house.  He is so much nicer than I am in this sort of situation.  Unfortunately, my rage, like vomit, had reached the point at which there was no holding back.  "Excuse me, I live here," I snarled and whisked past Jon and the ladies into the house, unceremoniously shoving the hysterical dogs out of my way.  I actually slammed the door, something we never do in our house.

"You must be cold," I heard one of the ladies say.  She sounded friendly.  She was probably a nice person and I was cold and furious and, ultimately, ashamed of myself. It's barbaric to behave that way.  I'm always in awe of people who manage to stay cool in all situations.  I'm not one of those people, unfortunately.  I'm always weeping or yelling or raging and I've been making resolutions to control my temper ever since I was eight and read Little Women and the chapter when Jo lets Amy fall through the ice.  But then, another scene from children's lit that profoundly influenced my views on temper is the one from Little Town on the Prairie (which I read at age five) when Laura disrupts the whole school because of her rage at the teacher's unfair treatment of her younger sister.  One of my favorite scenes in literature.  Maybe if I had read Little Women first, I'd have had better luck with my temper.

I scanned Garth Williams' illustration from my copy of
Little Town on the Prairie.


Do you rage or do you keep your cool?

12 comments:

  1. When it comes to religion and "witnessing", I can rage!

    My husband is WAY too nice to those people, so we have agreed that I always answer the door when they come calling (you can always pick them out). I learned this from my mom. When I was a kid, we were Catholic, and she used to open the door, say "We are Catholic" and then close it in their face.

    I, on the other hand, usually say something along the lines of "Get off of my property right now." I'm not kidding --especially with the Jehovah's Witnesses, you have to be very specific. It works like a charm. It's kind of a cold rage :-)

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  2. I don't rage but I do feel ashamed of how sarcastic and irritable I can get with family (never with strangers).

    I'm currently enrolled in an extensive anger repression course known as Having a Job With An Insane Boss.

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  3. I don't rage but I do feel it is so rude on their part to think they have the right to invade your home. I feel the same about telemarketers. What right do strangers have to call your home? I know they are just doing what they are told by elders or employers, but I would not join a group that asked me to go door to door or make cold calls. I think this reflects my age!

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  4. I don't rage, for the most part. When I do lose it, it's bad.

    As for the religious folks, I won't answer my door to them or talk to them when I'm out and about. I don't go around trying to change others' views and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

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  5. Most of the time I am calm. But when I rage, I rage.

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  6. And one of the things I hate about my house is that I have so many windows in the front, so I can't pretend I'm not home when people ring the doorbell. I can keep the blinds closed on the main windows, but I also have a double door that is half windows that can't be covered. There's no hiding! Ever!

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  7. I rage, although I've learned to pick my battles. I read Little House first and it didn't help.

    Absolute BS on the sidewalk being closed.

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  8. Sometimes my rage gets the better of me and I invariably feel like crap directly afterwards. I try to keep a lid on it - but sometimes, as you say, it just HAS to get out!

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  9. Ooof. That sidewalk business would make me ornery, too.
    And I admit to ducking behind a couch to avoid the witnesses. They're always so nice, but sometimes one is NOT in the mood.

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  10. I rage on the inside but tend to keep my cool on the outside. Someone (someone not related to me) recently called me "unflappable."

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  11. I'm sorry you were having such an awful day.
    I often avoid answering the door if I don't know the people on the other side. I even taught my children how to avoid them by being very, very quiet and hiding. I've been known to crawl below window-height to avoid being seen, drive past my own house if the neighborhood was being canvassed, and just plain not answer the doorbell. It's my house and I don't have to open the door to anyone!
    I am a life-long member of a Christian church and the only reason I've ever gone door-to-door is:
    1) as a Girl Scout selling cookies
    2) as a parent accompanying a child with fundraisers from school or scouts
    3) Trick-or-treating

    As far as rage, I try very hard to not allow myself to blow. When it happens it is NOT pretty (I've caught my reflection in the mirror... demon possession might be a thing after all...) and there is much collateral damage. I may have inherited this impressive explosive trait from my mother.

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