Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Others are less restrained. They shout abuse at the TV or the neighbours. They scream at other motorists who've annoyed them. They throw crockery or books. They send vitriolic emails. They slice up their cheating spouse's clothes.
Do they feel better for such extreme behaviour or worse? I've no idea. But I definitely feel better for keeping my more fevered emotions to myself. I don't want to end up doing something I bitterly regret 24 hours later but can't undo.
I find it embarrassing and disturbing when I'm present at such outbursts, and feel much relieved when things quieten down again. It's not that I don't sympathise. I know it's a natural response to utter frustration or distress. But I still find it acutely uncomfortable to watch.
I hate seeing parents shouting and screaming at their children. I hate seeing couples having violent arguments. I hate it when people let rip at hapless sales assistants, waiters or airline staff. I'm sure there must be less frenzied, less melodramatic ways of dealing with the problem.
On the odd occasion when I'm so consumed with rage that I express it openly and volubly, people are amazed. They're so used to me as the picture of calm and reasonableness. They're so used to me as the mediator, the one whose first instinct is to settle differences and patch things up.
Oh, and I cried freely at work once over the way I'd been treated by the boss. He must have been pretty vile, as I rarely cry, even in private.
But road rage? Chucking crockery? Cutting up clothes? About as likely as a lunar eclipse.