“This babble shall not henceforth trouble me.” ~William Shakespeare (The Two Gentleman of Verona, I, ii)

Last Saturday morning, I had to make an unexpected trip to the Apple store to revive my poor old iPhone after it got hit with a case of iOS 7-itis.  The closest store to me is in an upscale shopping center that is always insanely crowded with both cars and pedestrians.  I parked in a garage, and when I was walking from the parking space to the outside area, a woman in a huge white SUV almost hit me; she was craning her neck around looking for open parking spaces instead of watching out for people crossing, and she had to slam on her brakes when she finally did see me.  As I crossed tentatively in front her and she started to drive away, I gave a polite little wave and pointed to my eyes as if to mime “please watch out for us next time.”

At which point she slammed on her brakes again, rolled down her passenger side window, and SCREAMED at me “Excuse me, I stopped for YOU, you ASS!”  Then she peeled out going full blast – in a parking garage.  I know several other people around me also heard her screaming.

I stared at her in disbelief, my mouth open.  She’d almost hit ME, and she was the one who was upset?  I shook my head, I couldn’t believe someone could be so brazenly rude and say something so mean like that to someone who had done NOTHING WRONG.  The other people around me stared at me, wondering what I’d done to incur such a rant.  My immediate thought was: what is wrong with people?? 

Not so long ago, I probably would have yelled something equally as horrible back at her as she sped away.  But instead, this time I found myself just feeling sorry for that woman.  Whatever was going on with her and in her life must be pretty bad for her to be such a miserable, angry, ticking time-bomb person.  Don’t get me wrong – I hope I don’t have to cross paths with her again.  But I do hope she is able to get a handle on her anger issues sooner rather than later so that others don’t have to face her misplaced wrath as I did.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to let go of her anger’s effect on me fairly quickly (although it obviously had an impact on me as here I am writing about it several days later).

I said to someone the other day “I guess we never really know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives,” and isn’t that the truth?  Even with people we see all the time, like coworkers and friends and family members, there may be something happening behind the scenes that is tearing that person’s world apart…and most of the time we never even know that the bottom is falling out from under them.  I’ve been guilty of this myself.  We all do such a good job of hiding and faking and covering and disguising.  And for what? 

The problem is, when you have to work so hard at keeping things under wraps, your psyche usually sprouts pressure-induced leaks that you have no way of stopping.  Those leaks may show up as rage episodes directed at innocent bystanders, or sometimes even physically manifest as stress-induced illnesses or disease.  Sadness, frustration, pain, anger – none of us want to have these emotions much less talk about them.  But speaking just for myself, I know that the times in my life when I’ve admitted I need help to manage life’s downturns, and then sought that help through either a therapist or counselor – well, I credit those professionals with helping to pull me out of the pit, more than once.

There’s no shame in seeking help and kindness from others; in fact, it seems much more shameful to purposefully exclude others from times of personal darkness.  This just leads to more isolation and more anger, which then leads people to lash out like that woman did to me the other day.  Is it possible I’m giving her too much credit?  Maybe instead of going through something awful in her life, she’s just an unhappy bad seed in general.  There are those kinds out there too.

But if you are going through something that leads you to do things or say things (or throw things) that you then regret doing or saying (or throwing)…well then maybe it’s time to let someone else help you too.  It can be anybody, but just don’t suffer in silence alone.  You don’t have to do that.  We supposedly have the power to be more connected to others right now than any other time in history.  So start connecting.

On a totally unrelated note, when I was waiting for my own personal genius in the Apple store a few minutes later (and why in the world hasn’t Apple’s PR team already jumped on that link to Depeche Mode’s most famous song, it would be a brilliant ad campaign for their Genius Bar), I witnessed something amazing: a family at the kids table (who were also waiting for their own personal genius) was cooing over their marvel baby – he could barely stand, had a pacifier in his mouth, and couldn’t have been a year old yet – who was swiping, unaided and unprompted, through pages and apps on an iPad and using his tiny little fingers to open games and perform actual technical functions.  I found my Star Trek nerd self geeking out over this and believing for the first time that the kids being born today might actually be using tricorders and transporters in my lifetime.

transporter1

Make it so, babies.  Engage.

À la prochaine!

Ant Kristi

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