What sets you off?

Are you tolerant with the fellow denizens on this planet who are in and on the periphery of your life? Are you a calm, slow-burn type of person? Or, do you go volcanic or nuclear at the slightest provocation?

Unless there are serious psychiatric issues in play, most people run the full gamut of being almost unnaturally calm and tolerant to extremely volatile. Some calm folks are positively horizontal in their placidness.  The volatile ones require no explanation or description. Just remember, when they blow, duck and cover.

Your response to any disturbance in the Force depends on the time of day, the amount of sleep or lack of sleep you had and how much crap (also known as human idiots) you had to tolerate up to the point of temper eruption.

We are told not to sweat the small stuff; to pick your battles, which is easier said than done. But what no one tells you is one man’s small stuff is another’s call to arms. It all depends on prior life experiences and any reason listed in the previous paragraph. Also, the object of your ire had no intention to provoke anyone, usually.

Let’s look at a few examples of thoughtless, selfish or simply inattentive behavior which may trigger the “final straw” explosion in another person.

Since we spend half our lives at work, it makes sense for companies to provide kitchens for its personnel. The kitchens may consist of a sink, a toaster oven, a microwave, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, and a coffee maker.

The installation of a kitchen is a thoughtful gesture. The employees bring their lunches, can keep them cold, and heat them when needed. Or, is it pure pragmatism? If the employees bring their lunches, then it follows that the employees will eat while they continue to work.

The preceding scenario is not to be confused with whistling while they work. Although, occasionally a song or someone whistling is heard in our workplace halls. In fact, this writer has on occasion burst into a spontaneous song and a few dance steps while in the copy room, killing trees or wasting reams of what once were trees.

Workplace kitchens should be left tidy and clean for the next person. Leaving spills and drips on the counters or in the microwave tends to be unappetizing and even gross. You may clean up the mess. But if the same or another culprit failed to clear the timer on the microwave as well, then, depending on your day, you may be in the final straw zone.

Situations arise at work or perhaps at home when equipment and other items are “borrowed for a little while” and not returned.

As you know, there are countless examples of thoughtlessness in the workplace; while driving; or at home.

At home: when you are finished eating do you rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher? Or do you leave them for the good fairy to do so?

In the workplace: do you print your documents and ginormous printing jobs to the collective copier and leave the paper drawers empty for the office fairy or next ticked-off person to do so? Or do you take a moment and do it yourself?

In traffic: do you perform the rare act of kindness by letting someone in front of you? Or do you speed up and block the other guy? Recently, a morning commuter was busy stuffing her face with a breakfast something while edging up another silly millimeter forward and nearly hitting a man on a motorcycle. Can we just say the motorcyclist was livid?

In any of these instances, it is far more satisfying and much easier to retaliate rather than perform whatever act of Zen is needed to calm down and not sweat such “small stuff.” Once you are lucid, you realize that there are worse things we must deal with than the congenital laziness and selfishness of others.


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