I have a pretty wild temper. Always have. It’s something I’ve unsuccessfully coped with since I was child. Some people would call this a flaw of the purest passion; although I couldn’t possibly imagine who. Unfortunately, the ruthless beast that dwells inside me can be provoked by the most mundane of things, not limited to: tangled cords and wires, heedless drivers and pedestrians, and untamable hair. My anger is an aspect of my personality that I have long ago accepted and continue to find methods of dealing with. In fact, that is one of the reasons I started practicing Krav Maga and continue to practice Muay Thai (Israeli and Thai martial arts respectively). I’ve found that in order to best deal with my wrath, I must express it quickly and explosively. Martial arts is the physical catharsis that I require to vent my frustrations and, thus, expel them. Now writing has become a new and effective abstract form of catharsis that I am slowly beginning to rely more on.
I’ve learned that when most people vent, they do not want to be consoled. They want to go on a verbal rampage and have the confidant either agree with them or just listen uninterruptedly. Too many people make the mistake of trying to comfort the angry person and instill some wisdom and positive outlook of the frustrating experience. If you’re one of those people, stop it now. Just stop. It only makes the momentary blaze grow into an uncontrollable forest fire. And unless you want Smokey the Bear lecturing you about how you could have prevented this by just closing your mouth and lending an ear for five minutes, I suggest you take my advice. I freely admit that silver linings and butterfly kisses are not what I want when I’m angry. I want to go all Mighty Joe Young until I feel at peace. But I also have enough experience with myself to recognize that my flareups last only 20 minutes maximum, and if I am left free to express myself and deal with my emotions for that allotted time, I will immediately return to my regular, happy self. This blog post serves as my 20 minute release. Hopefully if you are in need of a vent, you can rampage along with me, and you will feel better after reading.
Below are some conversations I have had in the past three months with random Chicagoans who were apparently raised without any understanding of what it means to have any form of manners, whatsoever.
In these scenarios, I will assume the role of the victim. I am choosing to leave out my retaliations to each scenario to preserve my angelic image. I hope you enjoy these blood-boiling exchanges.
1) When I was soon to begin my dog walking job, I had to learn the ins and outs of riding my bike in this city, all while learning new roads and neighborhoods that I had little knowledge of. On the last day of my training I was told I could head home, and I mistakenly took off down a one way residential street because I didn’t realize this was against the rules for bikers, and my trainer told me I was allowed to. A UPS truck sat in the middle of the street with some cars waiting for it to move. I thought, Oh well I have plenty of room to go around them. No. Suddenly this man decides to charge his car from behind the truck into what little space I had in the street, just to cut me off. (There was still no room for him to get around the truck, so there was really no reason for him to do this at all). He then proceeded to stick his reddening, balding head out of his car window and yell, “THIS IS A ONE WAY STREET YOU F*****G A**HOLE!!”. Keep in mind, I was a foot from his face. If I hadn’t been so startled by the extreme lack of tact from what appeared to be a professional man, I definitely would have retaliated. I can’t promise that the next time someone does that to me, I won’t pick up my bike and slam it through the person’s windshield. That’ll shut someone up real quick. Of course I would never do that…
2) A few weeks into my job, I was required to dog sit for ten days at someone’s apartment. This means that I had to give the dogs four walks each day and spend the night. One morning, during the 6 am walk, I had forgotten to grab some poop bags. Obviously, it is a glamorous job. Long story short, one of the dogs defecated, and I planned to run right back up to the apartment, grab a bag, and run back down to pick it up. Within seconds, a vulture of a woman squawked for my attention, apparently deciding that I looked like a tasty morsel for her morning hunt. She was about 15 feet from me and proceeded to state rather impudently, “Excuse me but your dog just took a giant shit on the sidewalk. You better no be planning on leaving it here.” I smiled and said, “Of course not, I just ran out of bags and planned to pick it up as soon as I get back to the apartment.” She then rolled her eyes and vocally exclaimed, “Mmhmm!” I walked towards her and asked if she happened to have a spare bag. She gave me one in the most impolite way that someone could possibly hand a poop bag to another person. I said thank you as she scoffed at me, and we went our separate ways.
3) This next particular instance occurred after a handful of other moments that are not significant enough for me to include. It was about two weeks ago, and it was first thing on a Monday morning. Needless to say, I was already not in a particularly tolerant mood. I was riding to my first apartment to get the dog. I rode up onto the sidewalk, hopped off of my bike, and began walking it to the fence so that I could lock it up. This woman walking beside me all of a sudden decided that she created the laws to bike riding for Chicago and says aloud, “That’s what the street is for”. I responded rather politely that I was just about to lock up my bike. She then looks over at me and says that it doesn’t matter. She then proceeds to walk off the sidewalk and continues in the street because apparently walking my bike took up too much room for her. I thought for a moment, about to let the whole thing slide, but it was Monday morning and I had about had my fill of people in Chicago by this point. I looked over at her and we stare at each other for about 5 full seconds before I loudly responded to her that it does in fact matter because I was not riding my bike and I can use the sidewalk if I wish. She then decided to mumble a list of issues she had with me regarding where I was locking my bike, how I was doing it, etc. I’m not going to finish this story because I want to keep my saintly facade. All you need to know is that she eventually stopped talking.
4) This final instance occurred just last weekend. I will say that all of my Southern etiquette toward strangers had been lost by this point. I had just rode my bike 40 minutes to a dog’s house and was taking her around the block. We were about five minutes into the walk and the dog had just begin doing its “business”. I suddenly hear a yell from behind me. I didn’t think it was directed at me, but I turned around. Suddenly this man starts shouting at me, stating that my dog is doing #2 and demanding that I better have every intention of picking it up. He then continued to explain loudly and moronically that this was his house and gave me a look like how dare you!! Keep in mind that throughout this tirade, my dog was still nonchalantly doing its business. I couldn’t stop myself. Once I opened my mouth, I knew it was too late. I just went full throttle, attacking his intelligence, his character, everything. This was about the 7th time in three months I had been spoken to disrespectfully by a random person, and no amount of training to control my temper was going to help by this point. Looking back, I should have given the guy a pass. He clearly was prone to making bad decisions, as depicted by his platinum bleached hair and cigarette in hand. Oh well. I felt way better.
In conclusion, I never had these problems in Virginia. In fact, I never had these problems in Chicago either, until I started dog walking. However, I forgive all of these idiots. Obviously, they were all just defending themselves against my unruly dog walking. Moral of the story, sometimes your temper gets the best of you. And Sometimes it’s ok.
The picture above is one my friend Becca took. I loved it so much that I stole it to include here because it’s just so calming to look at.