Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Has it got to do with Age?

I was dangerously homicidal, totally exasperated, and white-hot angry yesterday morning.

I had been talking on the phone to a ridiculously impetuous, incredibly rude, and indescribably arrogant woman trying to sell me a sponsorship deal.

Imagine, she was trying to sell me a service over a cold call, and yet she could afford to be rhetorical, intrusive, rude, unreasonable, sarcastic, argumentative and taunting. I think I must have been too shocked to yell back. But a large part of the reason for not ‘’giving it to her’’ was my determination to be her exact opposite, just so as not to stoop as low as her, and to be on higher moral ground. After holding my breath and hanging up, I was suicidal this time – feeling ‘’stupid’’ and telling myself that she did not deserve one iota of my ‘’courtesy’’.

This incident happened just two days after my dinner with my cousin Chris and her friends at her home.

Over dinner, one of them, Aggie, asked what we normally do to ‘’de-stress’’ or to get over frustrations. For me, it was easy – go for a run. For another, it was swimming. For my cousin, it was probably fighting back with the ‘’offender’’ in her younger days but these days, she would let go more easily.

But Aggie said something which made us silent for a while. She said that, in recent years, if someone irritates her, stresses her out, or turns truly nasty to her, she has learnt to deliberately calm down and tell herself not to mind it, and even made an ‘’excuse’’ to say that the ‘’offender’’ probably had a bad day, and that every one has his or her own ‘’bad days’’. It is her way of ‘’not reacting’’ that helps her get through the anger, and she asked if it was ‘’healthy’’ to bottle things up.

The discussion naturally ambled into a womanly concern – age. Has age mellowed us? ‘’If you don’t mind, may I ask how old are you,’’ Aggie asked me.

‘’What – you are so young!’’ she exclaimed. This is the first time I have heard this remark in years. I guess age is a relative thing. My cousin and her friends are in their early 50’s.

I know age has given me wisdom, hindsight, confidence and experience. But I don’t know if it will make me as calm and forgiving as Aggie.

Do I have to wait till I reach 50, to avoid feeling homicidal, be magnanimous, and say, ‘’she probably just had a bad day’’?


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