There are times when I breathe deeply, center myself and send silent blessings to the people and things that are impinging on my attempts to find inner peace. There are other times when I freely and fully focus on the breadth and depth of stupidity in this world.
This is one of those moments. I don’t feel like looking at the big picture, realizing how insignificant daily irritations are in the big scheme of things, or comparing my situation to people who have it much worse. No. I feel like unleashing my inner two-year-old for a minute or two. So, here we go. Following is an incomplete list of things that cause me to wish for the power to make people spontaneously combust with my mind.
However, if you’re in a rainbows and kittens frame of mind, it’s probably best to skip this post. I don’t want to drag you into the darkness with me.
It makes me crazy when:
- People in meetings repeatedly ask questions that were already answered. Bonus irritation points if they were checking their email when the aforementioned queries were addressed.
- People appear to be surprised that they’ve called a meeting and have no agenda prepared and no apparent idea why they’ve gathered us all together. Double bonus irritation points if they then, in a bit of loaves and fishes magic, expand one inconsequential item that could be dispatched in five minutes into an hour-long debate.
- People wait until they get to the cash register in a long store checkout line to dig through their giant purses or into every pocket on their cargo pants to find their checkbook, wallet, or coupons. Extra irritation points if their coupons are expired.
- People promise to do something and don’t.
- People think saying “Oh, well, you know how I am,” excuses every sort of irresponsible and/or self-centered behavior.
- People apologize by telling you that it was really your fault they treated you badly.
- People read a text or take a phone call that is not of serious import in the middle of a real-time conversation with you.
- People think it’s comforting to tell survivors of a tragedy that God was looking out for them, implicitly indicating that anyone who did not escape was beneath God’s notice. A corollary irritation: people who attribute their success in life to being blessed, while apparently others who aren’t similarly situated are either cursed or at best worthy only of some divine form of benign neglect.
- People wait to merge until the last minute even though lane closure signs are posted well in advance, then expect you to let them in.
- People who make lists of petty annoyances that reveal their lack of inner resources for dealing with the minor frustrations of life.
Yes, it’s true, I am in such a crabby mood that I’m even annoying the bejesus out of myself. But now, having cataloged my current list, I feel strangely lighter. I’m ready to interact with my fellow humans with a greater measure of equanimity and tolerance.
Unless, of course, my next encounter is with a store clerk talking on his mobile phone while ringing up my purchases.