Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Contagious

Laden with my burdens, I awaited the turn of the traffic light in my favor. I felt quite accomplished, having come upon a treasure trove of late-in-season oranges, Ta's favorite. I was in a rather good mood, light and cheerful. 

The light flicked to red, and I began to cross, my multitude of bags swinging. As is a common hazard, cars attempted to make a left turn into my way. 

Usually, if an obnoxious driver inches his way into my path, I snap my head around and glare into his eyes. With that I-can-see-you-you-scumbag look, he backs off, sheepishly. 

A front bumper began to creep up dangerously. I snapped my head around and glared into the driver's eyes. But instead of braking, he continued forward. I kept walking. He kept gliding. I decided that this is not worth losing my life over, and halted, staring at disbelief at the unchivalrous cad, who zoomed away with attidude-y disdain.

When I reached the curb, I was blind with rage. 

What a jerk! Who does he think he is, the jackass, nearly running me over? What would he save, three seconds if he just let me pass? Yield to freakin' pedestrians, you S.O.B.! 

I was angry because he had made me feel like a nothing. Shoving his car into me was an announcement of how little I am worth. I fumed as I stomped along. 

I did not see her until she was almost past—an unknown woman, walking towards me. But she was smiling at me. 

Yet I was so upset with being so snidely ignored that I didn't notice her until after she had gone. With that lost opportunity, I continued to ruminate.

1. It is so easy to spread a bad mood. Ten seconds ago I was on top of the world; five seconds later I was furious. 

2. It is so easy to spread a good mood. Five seconds later, because an unknown woman smiled at me, I was back on top of the world again. 

3. Bad moods make one retreat into one's own mind; good moods mean we see others and care about them.

Do the responsible thing. Yield to pedestrians, and smile at strangers.    


Mr. Cohen said...

Mishlei / Proverbs, chapter 19, verse 11:
It is logical for a man to be patient,
and his glory is to ignore a deliberate offense.

Mr. Cohen said...

Sefer Chasidim, chapter 70:
...and do not become angry,
because anger causes mistakes...

Mr. Cohen said...

Rabbeinu Yonah commentary on tractate Avot,
chapter 1, paragraph 16 (end):

When a man shows people an angry face,
they hate him and distance themselves
from him and seek to harm him.

Chaya said...

You write beautifully which makes reading everything here enjoyable.

The problem with anger is that it hurts the person who is angry more than the person who has caused it. It is not worth the effort it takes to be angry.

I find what you are describing with drivers as well. I will wait to let cars cut in a line but then, everyone starts to honk at me.

FrumGeek said...

Pedestrians can be jerks just as much as cars. And don't get me started on bicycles!!!

Mr. Cohen said...

Rambam, Hilchōt Deōt, chapter 2, paragraph 3:
...and he [a correct Jew] must teach himself to not become angry, even about matters that are appropriate for him to become angry about...

Princess Lea said...

Chaya: Definitely. But anger is an emotion, meaning it is illogical in nature. Ideally it would be better not to get angry, but it happens from time to time, even though I was sure I was above such reactions.