I'm in a coffee shop, waiting way too long in a line that wasn't moving nearly fast enough for my tastes. The five people in front of me are slothful, ignorant losers that can't decide what they want, even though I know that they get the same thing every time. The cashier is bored and rude and slow. I'm very much annoyed by the time it's my turn. I give my order, she gives my total, and I hand over my credit card. She does nothing, except look at me like I'm some kind of super freak.
"What," I say, "you take Visa." I gesture obviously towards the little Visa sign by the till.
"Yes" she says, "we do take Visa. We don’t take library cards."
You've been there. Right? You're minding your own business, making a right hand turn onto a side street, and suddenly everyone is freaking out. Cars are honking, pedestrians are waving frantically. Screw off, you think. You know you've done nothing wrong. Stupid people blaming you for something, you don't know what. Just ignore them and keep driving. Up a road with all the street signs facing the other way. With a stream of cars heading right to you, driving in your lane! Those stupid...oh, balls. You’re going the wrong way up a one way street.
I remember another coffee shop encounter, where I was in a rush to get to work, and the incompetence of the barista had me particularly riled. I finally got my coffee, and was trying to maneuver around a group of thuggish loiterers that were blocking first the milk counter, and then the door. With a sigh and several rolls of my eyes I finally tried to squeeze through the crowd, pushing slightly more than I probably should have. And of course in my haste I hadn’t secured my lid properly, so when I bumped into someone my coffee went, well, mostly in my bag, with a healthy dose on my shirt and shoes. The poor soul I tackled got off coffee-free.
And yesterday, I'm walking downtown, listening to my beginners Spanish lessons on my mp3 player. And all of these totally rude people were continuously driving by me with their stupid cars and loud motors. I kept missing the words I was supposed to be learning! After glaring at the motorists for a while I finally gave up and pulled my earphones out in a lavish and angry gesture. In doing so I managed to whip the sunglasses off of my face and send them flying. This startled me and I dropped my headphones, tripped over them, and spent a few seconds doing the tangled-up two-step (nearly crushing my sunglasses in the process).
These moments of divine failure are always preceded by an unhealthy dose of annoyance, and some level of a superiority complex. I find the more irritated I am at other people, the more superior I feel to the stupid creatures around me, the more likely I am to be absolutely, pathetically in the wrong. And it's hard to dismount these particularly high horses. I've already made it quite clear that I'm pissed off, and I'm sure it’s also stunningly obvious that I caused whatever stupid situation I've ended up in. So acting more pissy just makes me look like a self righteous jerk (or more like one, I should say). But laughing about it seems to say that I think it’s okay to be a jerk if other people are in the wrong, but if it turns out to be me that’s wrong, well, then it's funny. Which also drives home the “self righteous jerk” point mentioned above.
It doesn't help that annoyance is the second most common emotion I feel. I once had a boyfriend tell me I got easily annoyed, and I can’t tell you how much that ticked me off! My reaction proved his point nicely, and set him laughing and me fuming. So yes, I am aware of how ridiculous my irritable nature is, and I do try to hide it. The trouble is, I can’t tell how successful I am at this. Do my scathing, sarcastic comments that I keep off my tongue display themselves on my face? Or do people just think I'm being quiet and perhaps contemplative as I sit, seething in a short-lived rage?
What I need is some sort of device that starts to beep whenever my nerves are particularly ragged or I start to see the strangers around me more as pests then people. Whenever I hear this beeping I'll just sit down and not do or say anything until the feeling passes. Or maybe I'll start wearing a medical alert bracelet that I can flash at people when I’m in the middle of a personality breakdown. Sorry, I'll say. But as you can clearly see by this gaudy piece of government issued jewelry, I am a Level 3 Jackass. This means I'm able to function in society with minimal supervision, but am prone to unprovoked fits of sulking.