Lately I’ve found myself becoming increasingly angry with people around me. I get angry when people are too loud and I want to sleep, I can’t stand it when someone asks a million questions right when class is supposed to get out, and I even get angry when someone walks too slow ahead of me. Am I a hateful person? No, I don’t think so. But why am I always so frustrated? I tend to enjoy things most of the time, but perhaps it is people who are the root of my and most everyone else’s hostility and rudeness.
I was walking down the South Oval at the University of Oklahoma about a month ago, and just got out my History of Jazz class. Suddenly, a bicyclist, not in the bike lane, was going too fast and didn’t see me. His bike tire rammed into my leg and scratched it. The next thing I knew, he was biking off as fast as he could. Maybe he was embarrassed, running late, or maybe he just didn’t want to apologize.
For whatever the reason, I figured it was just an accident, but common courtesy would have said he should have apologized or stopped to see if I was okay. I didn’t flag him down though. I gave a dirty look in his direction and prayed that the rest of humanity was not like this. Moments like this one make me wonder about conflict and the fact that being kind seems to be a thing of the past.
In the car, I, and the rest of the world, seemed to let off much of the steam we’d been holding in. When I drive, I try to be as calm and collected as possible, but it only takes that one moron who is going two miles per hour under the speed limit to make my brain snap. I vocalize various profanities at this person, whom I have never met, and harmlessly flip them off under the steering wheel so that they cannot see. I have no idea why I act this way.
If I’m really mad, why can’t I express my opinion? I like to think it is because I’m too nice and don’t want to be angry at another person, but that’s not it. I don’t want to be confronted if they react in a harsh and frightening way. I have come to the conclusion that in our society we seem to be constantly angry, but never desire to instigate conflict head on, and so we learn to be furious until met with a real person.
Because our society is constantly surrounded by the media, we take our cues from and act in accordance with what the media deems appropriate. We get this anger and hostility towards others from what the media show us. All of the political mudslinging on pundit shows tells us it is okay to act horrible to those who have opinions in opposition to ours.
Reality shows also give us this unspoken entitlement to show our malice. We see the mega divas battle it out for attention, which tells us how to act. These shows give us permission to express our irritability with whatever bothers us and unfortunately, that is a lot.
With the invention of YouTube and other sites that allow comments and feedback, the return of the bully has resurfaced. Online bullying has become a hot button issue in the media because of recent suicides and other traumatic events. However, these comments and criticisms are a different type of bullying. People are brutally harsh and mean-spirited with these words much more so than they would be face to face.