Thursday, 23 June 2011

The comfort of (angry) strangers

When you were so angry at 8am that you were sure you could see the inside of your own eyeballs (a child's tantrum; a mother's broken necklace; no time for breakfast) it is comforting to see just how many people around you are losing their rag.

On close inspection, many of the population seem close to a meltdown. Or perhaps we look at the world with selective eyes -  hoping others will provide confirmation that we're not alone.

Later that day, I saw:

  • two people who clearly didn't know one another at all having a stand-up row involving a live owl in the middle of a shopping street. (Really. An owl. Perched on the bloke's arm.)

  • a fuming woman at a bus stop lifting her three children up by their shoulders and plonking them into a straight line like tiny bemused soldiers

  • another woman cycling erratically along a busy road, one of her hands holding the mobile phone into which she was shrieking, a huge handbag dangling off the handlebars.

One thing's for sure, laughing at other people's bizarre outbursts makes your own a little easier to deal with.

And for whatever laughter can't touch, there's always love. Love, and wine, and a bit of superglue.


  1. Mmmmm, wine! People watching is marvellous for putting things in perspective.

  2. Ah, people watching! The best thing in the world. Isn't it amazing how people react in so many differant ways? I love watching at railway stations and airports, maybe I should extend out into the street as well. x

  3. Apparently I provided similar entertainment for one of the TAs at school the other day - she commented the next morning that she'd never seen me so angry. Which was a little odd as the situation they had witnessed was muttering fury that is not generally my style. My family (though no one outside it, I hope) would be far more likely to see a full on screeching meltdown, followed by tearful apology.

    Wretched hormones.

  4. So you're telling me I should go out and people watch.
    Because I just had a pretty interesting outburst myself ...
    Shame the only ones to enjoy it were my husband and son uh?

  5. I find this post very comforting indeed, especially as I find any interactions between people and owls funny for some reason.

    I am a little concerned that the necklace that broke is the little silver house. Hoping not x

  6. It is really really comforting to occasionally see other people's outbursts, that is so true. It doesn't exactly stop mine, but it makes me feel a tiny bit less guilty. And that must be a good thing, as it saves energy for more effective stuff. Like digging out the superglue. Or breathing very (VERY) deeply and slowly and staring at the top of the tree when your ankle gets hit by scooter edge, again.
    Would have liked to see that owl.

  7. As a commuter I think that there is a LOT of rage bubbling just below the surface in most people - we get mornings where people have a spat and then have to spend half an hour pressed up against each other...

  8. I think I'm to laid back to have a tantrum. Or lazy perhaps.

  9. It's scary how much must be simmering just below the surface, although quite a relief to know it isn't just me.

  10. I have been close to a major meltdown for frickin' WEEKS now. And having many small meltdowns in the meantime.

    What can it all mean?

    P.S. The only thing keeping Little Lad from having a screeching tantrum at the moment is his intense focus upon applying cosmetics. I believe he is becoming Pocahontas. Or a vampire. Or both simultaneously.

  11. I want a little wall hanging that says that: There Is Nothing in Life That Can't Be Fixed with a Little Love, Wine or Superglue.

  12. I so enjoy seeing and hearing about other peoples' imperfections, it makes me feel I'm not such an old battle-axe after all. Do hope the superglue worked.

  13. Thank goodness it isn't just me. The totally loosing your cool bit, I mean.

    Watching other people losing theirs seems like it should make me feel better about losing mine, but actually, when I watch a confrontation, I can feel my own adrenaline levels rising.

    Wine is always good.

  14. That fumimg woman who plonks, that's me. Mattman was plonked today, out of the climbing wall queue where he'd nearly pulled me to the ground and on to the other side of his father. I'd been queueing for an hour while they looked at tall ships. I say this with no self-justification at all. I admire the cycling fuming lady- I tried having a normal phone conversation while cycling on Thursday and it wasn't easy at all!

  15. AH outbursts! I have a few of my own that are rather memorable. My problem with them is that I always end up in a massive guilt trip afterwards.
    I wish you'd found out more about the owl though - very interesting!


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