Wednesday, February 5, 2020

It’s All The Rage   

            I am compelled this morning to write about something that has been troubling me; it’s a phenomenon that I see as having crept into our society like a stray cat - and that’s not to infer a negative on felines of any kind. I love cats, but they can be unpredictable, their behavior at times impulsive and a bit fickle. And so is life, it seems.
         I don’t have a cat right now, though I have had many over the years. At this time, I have dogs - two, stunning German shepherds that I walk every day with my husband. We walk three miles a day, rain or shine; we see dogs, dogs, and more dogs, and we also observe many people, and a great deal of traffic . . . and that brings me to the issue that is troubling me. Let me explain.
         Not too long ago, I was on my own with the dogs - one a 105-pound male, the other a 66-pound female. They are a handful - or a “leash-full”. Yet, we manage, because they are smart; they obey. On this particular morning, I was crossing a busy street at the crosswalk with my six-foot, leather-leashed pups. I made it across with no problem before stepping into the crosswalk perpendicular to the one I had exited. It was early and the day was bright with the sun shining brightly. It felt good to be out and about . . . and our little trio was difficult to miss. However, after only five feet into the crosswalk, I was startled by a black SUV, the driver slamming on its brakes, the vehicle screeching to a halt, barely missing us. I stared, but said nothing. The driver, a young woman, rolled down her window and screamed at me, “You’re doing it the wrong way. You’re supposed to stop.” The female’s voice was harsh, her face scrunched in anger . . . at me, at my dogs, for crossing the street in a designated crosswalk. 
I shook my head, pulled my dogs closer, and retorted, “Oh for God’s sake.” I was so astonished I could articulate nothing more. I am sure the woman was shooting invisible daggers at me as I walked on, but so be it. My dogs and I fortunately were safe, and she, the poor gal, had had to stop. She was apt to have been five seconds behind schedule . . . but at least she didn’t have dead bodies to circumnavigate; furthermore, the shiny SUV was dent-free! 
But there’s more.
Just yesterday, my husband and I observed another near miss. We were half a block away from the same intersection where I had almost been stuck; a gentleman was ahead of us with a large, longhaired Collie and a smaller dog, perhaps an Australian shepherd or another dog of that ilk. We watched him enter the crosswalk and when he was more than halfway across the street, a black sedan screeched around the corner nearly hitting him and his dogs. The man staggered backwards with the dogs, and uttered a gasp, but he quickly moved along. He and his pets were safe, the car having missed them by only a foot or so.
The car angled around him and drove much too quickly down the road, passing us. I couldn’t resist mouthing, “Slow down,” as the car passed. My husband muttered something similar and we were “rewarded” with a young woman’s vile tirade. “F#!* you. Mind your own f#@*ing business.”
Just wow.
And here’s one more incident - I had arrived at my favorite, local market, grabbed a cart, and was almost through the entrance when I heard a commotion. Several,  “twenty-something”- year-old, young men had raised their voices at a vehicle driven by an older, grey-bearded fellow. The man’s car was squealing around the lot in pursuit of the younger men; he was aiming right toward them and they had to scamper away in order not to be hit. And, of course, the profanities flew. I am unsure of the details as to what precipitated this event, but apparently the old guy had thrown a paper cup filled with coke or coffee at the young men’s car as they exited. I assume there is more to the story, but the fact is that everyone involved was absolutely enraged, and bystanders were shocked, afraid there might really be bloodshed. 
So what is my point? Rage is rampant. Anger, for too many individuals, is only skin-deep, and it’s everywhere. One need only watch the nightly news, or, as in my case, step out the door, to discover how out of control some folks have become in recent months. People are acting and reacting in myriad random and unpredictable ways that make me think the world has gone bonkers. And maybe it has. 
Those among us, who appear to have a grasp of their emotions, tell us to “Be Kind”. Yes, we should. Be ye kind; do unto others as you would have done unto to you; if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.We could fill a page with such trite (though honorable) notions. Possibly those involved in the incidents I mentioned above would be first up with a fat, felt-tipped pen to offer the first “say”, or perhaps the last. For, if one thinks about their behavior, it appears every one of them proposed absolutely to have the last, enraged word when they lashed out at those they left in their wakes. 
Anger is not an unhealthy emotion, kept in check. Everyone gets ticked off now and then. It’s normal. Venting irrational venom, however, is toxic and I’m afraid, at some level, is poisoning us all. It’s pitiful pickle to brine in, isn’t it? It’s that reality - the fact that we cope in an angry world - that has been bothering me though. Thus this blog - for whatever it’s worth . . .  because this is the best way I know to vent.

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