Anger is a normal and predictable response to situations over which we have little or no control. Usually when I come up against something that frustrates me, I look for the humor in the situation. I have discovered that finding the humor in absurd circumstances defuses my own feelings of anger and often helps relief tension in others.
It’s a great coping mechanism, but it doesn’t always work. Sunday evening I needed to pick up a prescription. I was in a hurry because I still needed to finish packing for my early morning flight on Monday, and my “to-do” list was still quite long. In an effort to save time, rather than parking the car and going into the store, I pulled into the drive-through lane of the pharmacy. There was just one car ahead of us. As we sat there for about five minutes three cars pulled in behind us, and we were trapped.
Twenty minutes later my patience had worn thin. I got out of the car and told Alex I was going to go inside to get my prescription. I suggested kindly to the pharmacist that when someone in the drive-through lane is going to have a long wait that it would be nice if the pharmacist would ask them to pull forward and let other customers come through.
He agreed. He said the couple holding up the line wanted a prescription that had no remaining refills, and they said they would not move their car until the pharmacist gave them what they wanted.
As I walked past their car on the way back to mine, I asked the young Botox blonde in the passenger’s seat, “Would you be so kind as to move your car forward so we can get out?”
She angrily said, “No! We aren’t going anywhere. We are waiting for a prescription!”
I said, “I understand, but you have trapped three cars who can’t go forward or backward.”
She started screaming at me, “How is it my fault that my prescription isn’t ready? Why is it my problem that you can’t get out?”
I could see this was not going to work out. I walked back and talked to the drivers in line behind us and explained the situation. Each of them started backing out of a very narrow and tricky drive-through lane.
As I got back in the car, I did something very uncharacteristic. I yelled, “JERKS!!!”
The husband, a young, angry, muscular man jumped out of the car and started yelling expletives at us. My husband, the retired professor, wouldn’t have been much of a match for him, so we backed away and drove off.
I probably shouldn’t have yelled at them, but I’m not the least bit ashamed of myself. Their actions were selfish and mean-spirited, and I believe there are times that you have to call bullies out.
Despite what our mothers taught us about being nice and how we aren’t pretty when we’re mad, I think there are times that anger is appropriate and necessary. Letting a bully know how you feel probably won’t have much impact on them, but it does give you back a little of the power and control they so desperately want to have over you.