I think that as technology advances, and things become more and more convenient for us, our patience has become shorter. As patience decreases, frustration increases, and this can lead to anger.
Just what is an acceptable level of anger? What is it ok to get a bit angry about? Here is a list of things that have made me angry today:
1. I missed the train in the morning by like 30 seconds because the traffic lights across the road from the station take forever to change.
2. Whilst on the extremely overcrowded train, a man pushed by me unexpectedly, forcing me to step backwards. I heard a “yelping” sound behind me and realized I had stepped on a woman’s foot. I removed to my head phones and said “Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to do that, I guess the train is just a bit crowded” The woman glared at me and made a “Humph!” sort of noise. I hated her immediately, and I wished she would develop a gangrenous foot. How dare she not accept my heart-felt apology for something I had done accidentally!
3. A woman made a big show of fake coughing and waving as I lit up a cigarette, even though I was smoking outdoors, in fucking public space.
Keep in mind that it is only nine in the morning now, that’s a lot of anger for one morning.
Was I justified in my anger? If you look at the flip side, that woman on the train was pissed off because some bitch stepped on her foot, and another lady had smoke blown in her face. Were they justified in their anger?
If you google rageaholics you will quickly come across the Rageaholics Anonymous website, on this website there is an “Anger Self Assessment Test.”
I took the test (you should try it) and according to the test, I’m a rageaholic, as Homer Simpson once said “I am addicted to rageahol.”
Now I was a little taken aback to discover my new-found rageaholic status, but before I ran off to find my nearest Rageaholics Anonymous meeting and share my thoughts and bile, I had a close look at the questions in the test.
Who the hell could pass this test? I believe if the Dalai Lama took this test he’d have a hard time passing it. Questions like:
“I hate lines, and I especially hate waiting in line.”
Who the hell likes waiting in line? Who is going to say “I love lines, I sometimes line up in them just for the experience rather than to get to the front.”
What about this gem: “When someone says or does something that upsets me, I don’t usually say anything at the time, but later I spend a lot of time thinking of cutting replies I could and should have made.”
Come on! Everybody does that, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. Constructing the perfect imaginary quip is a healthy thing to do, it helps you to vent some of that frustration you had at being to cowardly to say anything to the person in the first place.
My question is this? If this test had been taken twenty or thirty years ago, would I have been classified a “Rageaholic,” have the conveniences of modern life really made us lose all of our patience? What if I lived in the country instead of the city? Would I still need that sweet sweet rageahol to survive?
Or is it that we are all angry, anger and rage of course are part of the human condition. Anger is an involuntary feeling, that happens to us when we feel trespassed against in some way, and unless you live on a desert island, you will come across it fairly regularly. the trick to anger is how you respond to it, it’s certainly not healthy if you respond to a rude comment by a stranger by glassing them in the face with a bottle, but I think a sarcastic snort would be appropriate.
Rageaholics of the world unite, I will continue to think of witty quips that I should have said after the fact. I will continue to hate waiting in line and secretly wish that the people ahead of me would collapse so I wouldn’t have to wait so long. I will continue to snarl and snark and patronize and be sarcastic and cause others to fall into awkward silences at dinner parties. For if rageahol truly does make me who I am, then I will wear my rageaholic badge with pride, long live anger and its destructive benefits to us all!