The me first syndrome

I was going into the pharmacy today to pick up a prescription refill when I saw a woman walking swiftly toward the entrance just a little farther off than I was. I entered first, but she walked right around me up the main aisle to the pharmacy at the back of the store. You should note that it’s a particularly busy chain store pharmacy and the line is sometimes 8-10 people deep, extending down the aisle.

I hate people who always have to be first, like the ones who cut you off because they had to pass a few more cars, or just you, before getting to the merge point ahead. Don’t they realize you won’t get home from work any significant amount of time earlier?  It really doesn’t make a difference. You get one green light, to get to the next one just as it turns red. It averages out.

So, when this woman was speed walking past me, I just let her go. And turned into a side aisle to try and cut her off, thinking the line would be at the end of the aisle. She got there first, and there was no line anyway. Still, bitch beat me. Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to care. Okay, I guess I caught, temporarily, the me first syndrome. But that’s the only time…

…aside from the time the guy in the Lexus SUV came racing up on the right just to get ahead of me before his lane ended. I did not get right on his bumper and lay on the horn. I did not do the same when he deliberately took his time when he turned off the road. I definitely did not flip him the bird. Rich prick. Oops. Did it again. Ok, so there were a bunch of times. But I’m learning.

Why is it that negative behavior spreads so much more easily than positive? I guess it’s our evolutionary competitive instinct, survival of the fittest and all that. But, we’re not animals. (Well, technically we are, mammals.) Even so, humans can reason and recondition themselves to achieve a more enlightened existence and a sense of community, of brotherhood/sisterhood. Sure, we’re still going to get annoyed while driving and want to keep up with the Jones’, but it needn’t control us or anger us when we don’t come out on top. You can’t win ’em all.

While we want to always win, it’s inevitable to lose sometimes, whether a minor loss on the commute, or something more significant, we can learn from losing to someone from time to time.  Humility, acceptance, recognizing our limits, etc.

But if you truly transcend the whole contest, you realize, there’s no need to even feel as if you lost something if someone bests you. (I’m talking about the minor stuff here.) And as far as the major stuff, be satisfied that you did the best you could, that you learned something, or whatever the case may be.

So, don’t take it personally when you get cut off driving, or someone cuts in line. Let them live that way if they want. You can be content with the way things are. If they want to wait in line for hours to be the first to get the latest video game system, let them. If they want to get further in debt to get a nicer, pricier new car, or a bigger grill, addition to the house…. who cares? Be happy with what you can achieve and share with family and friends. Share and empathize, instead of hoard and alienate. Help instead of kicking while they’re down, and don’t catch the Me First Syndrome, because we’re all in this together.

An ode to anger

Ah, anger,

Irritation that makes the tongue lash out where it might otherwise be held still and useless.  That magic little quirk in the mind that lets me find annoyance in things that I’d otherwise forget.  You’re the glue that helps me cling to those grievances that might get lost in the shuffle if I’m careless.

That temper you provide, I put to such good use.  How else could I blame, condemn, seek vengeance for things I’ve been guilty of myself?  Where would be the fun? You give me freedom to escape a sense of justice or fairness.  To hell with hypocrisy! Hallelujah! That meddlesome conscience cannot hold me now.  I’m in a mood! Let me be!

You’re the corkscrew that gives those awesome explosions when I’ve bottled up all I can until it can’t be contained.  What a glorious shower of verbal shrapnel can ensue and make minced meat of another’s heart.  That evil laugh must surely be emanating from elsewhere beyond my own throat.  No matter.

You give me courage to speak when I cannot think straight.  How awful it would be to lie idle in impotence when there’s a wrong that the world must know about and the perpetrator made to pay. Can I just sit there with my teeth in my mouth when you give me so much passion?

To stew, with you, even after it’s all through

How good it feels to simmer for hours or days when I might let it drop without your steady hand.   I don’t need to sleep when I have you for company, by my side day and night, leading me through silliness and folly with a focus that filters out distractions for me, so that I don’t get caught up in daily life and miss my mission’s fruition.  To inflict at least as much damage as has been done to me.  It’s my right! I will have my day!

Oh, my friend, I would never give you up, come hell or high blood pressure, for surely I would…  I would….

Do some good? Make the world a better place? Lift up others instead of cast them down? Mend hearts and relationships instead of tear asunder? Be happier and healthier? But that’s so hard, and you’re so easy.  That’s why I liked you.

Yet, I will not miss you.