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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Commuting...

I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to spin this one.  I had a pretty violent angry commute or at least I did at the very start of it.  So, it got me thinking a lot about anger and how to handle it.  And I also came to the conclusion that I am, deep down, a decent person.  Why? Because I didn't do what I so badly wanted to do someone who tried to #$#@ with me. 

Well, I was headed for the train this evening after work.  Getting off at 6pm like the rest of NYC is my least favorite part about my Tuesday shift.  There's already a tension in the air when I enter the subway, as there was a long line of people trying to go through the single entrance turnstile at 15th Street and 8th Avenue.  Why I always go this way is beyond me.  I finally break through and turn right immediately to go down the stairs to the downtown platform and barring my way is a kid in a red shirt, his hand gripping the railing.  My immediate expectation, as would have been anyone else's, is that this kid would see I had no where else to move to and get out of my effing way.  But no, he braces himself into me and tries to basically walk through me and, when he doesn't go around me, I say, out loud, "move," because I have nowhere to go.  But instead of moving this jackass tries to push me down the stairs.  Lucky for me, I have cat-like reflexes.  You do not knock Tim Daoust down any stairs.  I swing around instinctively to get a good long look at this idiot and see him poised ready to fight me.  He looks like a stupid kid who's played too many video games.  I took one look at him, told him to go f*@#$ himself and then walked on.

Because that's the smart thing to do.  Nothing is ever worth fighting about, especially on the stairs in a subway station when you're at a disadvantage. Of course, and no one can help this, when it dawns on me exactly what the idiot could have done in the heat of the moment, i.e. knocked me head over heels down the stairs, the anger wells up in me and turn again to I don't know what.  He's already halfway out the turnstile so I shout a few more choice obscenities at him and decide, positively vibrating with raw anger though I am, to let it go.

Still the smart thing to do.  The anger is going to be there but you deal with it because it's not worth it.  My mind went, eventually, to this quote by Thich Naht Hahn:

"It is best if we do not listen to or look at the person whom we consider to be the cause of our anger. Like a fireman, we have to pour water on the blaze first and not waste time looking for the one who set the house on fire."

 

I think he had a good thought there.  It's not important, hell it's not even smart to lash out at someone who has done you wrong.  Or anyone else for that matter.  When I got on the train I realized that I was in such a state of mind that I had to be mindful or else I might lash out at the next random person to cross me.  So, when a fully loaded A train and a not so packed E train rolled up simultaneously, I opted for the one with fewer people on it so I could avoid any close encounters until I was sure I was calm.  

 

Then I got to thinking, this is why it's important to clear your own head first, put out the fire as it were.  In the process of mindfully calming down, avoiding the train car full of other people, I was trying not to do what that kid had done to me.  He had probably been having a worse day than me and somehow, me not moving out of his way must have seemed like a huge offense and thus made me the target of his anger.  Hence everything that happened not really making any sense.  Why corner someone so they can't move out of your way and then get angry when they push back and try to push them down a flight of stairs?  None of this made sense to me.  I was not the initial target of this kid's anger.  So, why would I want to continue fuming and risk passing his karma on to someone else?  This profound thought carried me through the rest of my commute and every time I bumped into someone or they bumped into me or stepped on me or anything else, I was as nice as I could be.  I might have weirded some people out a little, too.  

 

Of course, the anger took me all night to deal with.  I had to get it out of my head that this dumbass was really trying to hurt me, move past thoughts of how badly I could have kicked his ass and how little time it would have taken me and accept that there was probably something else going on with him that made him react without thinking.  And that is not important whatever it was.  Because you can never know.  You just have to realize that when you come in contact with anyone, so much has happened to them before that moment that will inevitably influence the tone of that meeting.   And always respond with mindfulness.  


But I swear to god, it's enough to make you want to avoid commuting during rush hours.  Half of me wants to start a routine where I wait around in the city after work instead of going straight home.  Ugh.  But this is part of living in a city with 9 million people in it.  Some of them are inevitably going to be assholes.  You just have to deal with it like you do every other trail of living here.  And keep you nose clean.  And mind your own f#$%ing business.  That's all. 

   

 

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