Sunday, December 16, 2012

We live in an angry world.

I feel compelled to write because that's what I do when I'm anxious. And then I go to the gym and I sweat it out.

My mind, like so many others, has been plagued with thoughts of the Newtown shootings. And while we try to make sense of the perfect storm that created this mess of a kid who would do such a thing, there are so many factors that I'm sure we'll be debating them for months or even years to come. But one thing I'm sure of--we live in a very, very angry world. There is anger everywhere--I encounter it on a daily basis.

There is the lady who threw a fit the other day in my local post office because the line wasn't moving fast enough--complete with calling someone a "queer ass"--all the while wearing a Christmas sweater. A Christmas sweater, for goodness sake!!! And I'm sad to say that I've seen her type all over town. (yes, I'm about to stereotype...) Middle-aged White Christian women tearing down the street in their SUVs, lattes sloshing, cursing other drivers, then getting home and posting biblical Facebook memes complete with glittering angels to all of her friends and family. Wow. But God is on her side, right?

Then there is the guy at my gym, with the bumper sticker that reads "Instant Asshole...just add" something or other. Really, dude? Proud to be an asshole? What are you so angry about? It is that angry, aggressive attitude that pervades our world. I'm not saying that road rage or crude bumper stickers created the terror in Newtown, but for goodness' sakes, people, enough with the assholery! (The irony here? I'm angry about people being so angry. Ha!)

Listen, Instant Assholes, I'm tired of drivers riding slower drivers back bumpers, I'm tired of seeing stickers on cars of pissing Calvins and gunshot holes, I'm tired of young men with their pants halfway down mugging eachother, I'm tired of people in Christmas sweaters yelling profanities at postal workers, of everyone losing their shit over petty, trivial things. The anger that I see out there on a daily basis may not have caused Newtown's tragedy, but it certainly contributes to the massive amounts of angry, aggressive energy, when as human beings we should be contributing to the good. And good people abound--yes, they do---people who smile at strangers, hold the door open, volunteer as Santas, and try to make the world a better place. But shouldn't we all be contributing to the good, even if it is just by adjusting our attitudes? But God forbid I tell Americans to do anything with their attitudes that they don't want to do.

The angry people in my community aren't evil--but they aren't being good people, either, and as human souls we have a choice to make. You can make the choice to be pissed off, in a hurry, and quick to mouth off to strangers, or you can make the choice to take a deep breath, let another car take that parking spot, smile at the post office worker, pay for the coffee of the driver behind you at Starbucks, and tread gently in this world.