I’m hoping I’m not alone on this one. I hope this post doesn’t become Exhibit A in a future court case against me. But there are just certain things that take me from zero to white-hot rage in the blink of an eye. Part of learning how to better handle your emotions is to identify specific triggers that elicit strong emotions. I like to think of myself as pleasant and easy-going. But, I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that white-hot rage has entered into my emotional arsenal. Don’t worry. My white-hot rage is quiet and non-violent. It also dissipates almost as instantly as it appeared. But for those few moments, it is so hot that it is untouchable. I don’t find this emotion to be a good fit for me and am working to deal with it. Another boon to growing older is having more trend data from which to pull when identifying patterns and triggers. As such, I have compiled the below list of five things that infuriate me in hopes of crowdsourcing solutions. I know it reads like a page out of the White-Whine website, but bear with me.
1. Lane splitting– For those not in the know, lane splitting is when a two-wheeled vehicle uses the area between two lanes of traffic. And although it occurs all over the world, California is the only state in the USA that allows lane splitting. I’ve been here over a year, but it never fails… every time a motorcycle zips between me and the adjacent car my stomach drops. I worry that the car next to me might make a slight adjustment, or that someone won’t see (or hear, because man are they eardrum throbbing) the motorcycle and try and change lanes. So many things that could go wrong. I don’t want to tread on anybody’s rights, but I get mad at how much it scares me and I resent it. It feels like a near miss every time and I despise it.
2. Busy parking lots during peak hours: the worst, right? I can go from zero to seething in a microsecond over a crowded, multi-level parking structure: the pedestrians, the jockeying for spots, the 12-mile walk to the elevator…
3. People who don’t use their blinker while driving: although not as bad as lane splitters they are equally as terrible as busy parking lots. I understand accidentally and occasionally not using your blinkers- it happens- but not only is using your blinkers courteous, it is also safer. Constant vigilance, people… especially on the road.
4. Although I will never say a word about it, listening to someone chew makes me physically ill. With all the background noise in our life, this very rarely comes up for me. Oh, but when it does. Swishing saliva, TMJ, swallowing: I’m getting queasy just thinking of all the gustatory noises. I never hate the people making the noises because that would be silly. But, those noises drive me nuts.
5. I love living in the future. I am part of the last generation who grew up without a computer in the home. Computers and “teh interweb” have completely altered out landscape as a culture but when technology is slow, broken, or unresponsive I come as close as I ever get to throwing things. Every time my iPhone maps app freezes or won’t load while I’m en route, it infuriates me. When the Xbox’s voice recognition software fails and I find myself yelling “XBOX TURN ON” for the third time, I die a little on the inside. After this recent period of dealing with her computer, I think Coralie might agree with me on this one.
In the end, all you can do is take a deep breath, acknowledge the emotion, but let it pass. I try not to harbor harsh emotions. Life is too short to be wasted on negativity… but in those two seconds before I remind myself of that, watch out.
What about you? What grinds your gears? Do you have any effective coping mechanisms you use? What takes you from zero to crazytown in a second? As always, let us know!
There isn’t anything that routinely angers me, for which I thank a book I read about 20 years ago (when I was having a little issue with screaming fits) called Anger: the Misunderstood Emotion by Carol Tavris. It’s not really a self-help book in the sense that it doesn’t have advice or anything, but just reading it and understanding how anger works seemed to switch something off for me and I became much slower to anger. I’ve sent you a copy which should arrive in 7 to 10 days. Please do read it from beginning to end or I will be so, very, very hurt. (Passive aggression was not on your trigger list, I notice.)
Awesome! Thanks, Sheila! I look forward to reading it! If it is Sheila approved then I’m on board. And for the record, passive aggression ALSO drives me nutz!