Did you wince when you saw King Charles vent his frustration not once but twice last week and for all the world to see? Yeah, I’m talking about that double whammy with the pens.
It wasn’t quite the outburst of anger, but Charles’ irritation/Pique – call it what you will – certainly registered at the high end of the public attention scale.
It was triggered by his sense of entitlement, of course, because whatever a privileged person wants, a privileged person gets. This is the golden world they live in.
Anger, the world of psychology tells us, is the most complex of all emotions because it is generally triggered entirely by other feelings. However, despite its source, there are currently a lot of them.
Whether it’s a post-Covid response to all these restrictions or something that reflects a more widespread and ingrained societal malaise, it’s in abundance – in shops, on sports fields, on the streets. Are we getting angrier?
I’m still trying to understand what happened at a local coffee shop this week. I walked in with two friends for an afternoon cup of coffee, only to be greeted by a stone waitress, someone, I should stress, who’s never been anything but polite to me before.
It was different this time. If we hadn’t read the sign on the door, she would yell at us. We should wait there. Ah right, we said – sorry, we hadn’t noticed the sign.
We sat down. Two minutes later she was back with a thunderface and slammed three menus down on the table. Well, I mean slammed. The three of us looked at each other in confusion and then did the only thing we could do. We got up and left quietly.
Did walking into a small, less than half-full cafe without waiting at the door really deserve such trouble? Of course it wasn’t. What wasted emotions. Not that anger is always wasted. With the right focus and intentions, it can be a very positive emotion. But not when used for petty remarks.
Not that I’m always sweet and light myself. Occasionally quickly triggered, I recently found myself questioning my own motives.
There I was, walking on a sidewalk in the center of town, when I saw a teenager on a full-tilt bike coming towards me – on the sidewalk. “Hey!” I said. “There’s a reason it’s called a footpath and not a bike path. Get out of my way.”
Except I didn’t say it. As the boy approached, those words ran through my head, but then I just took a breath, stepped aside, and let the boy cycle past. situation sorted. No hassles in the game.
But why, I kept asking myself afterwards, was anger my first emotional port of call? Because the cyclist broke the rules? Because I was entitled to my place on this sidewalk? I do not know.
What I do know is that I was glad I hadn’t jumped on the bait. Are we getting angrier? I think so. It’s time for perspective. It’s time to get a grip.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/were-all-getting-royally-angrier-so-lets-just-calm-down-42008181.html We’re all getting angrier, so let’s just calm down