All the Rage

Why everyone is so angry and why we must calm down

| November / December 2007

You are better than this.

You are not a hostile person, not a picker of fights. You’re a Boy Scout troop leader, Friend of the Library, PTA volunteer. Last year, you even called in and donated money during a National Public Radio fund drive.

And yet you have these moments when the worst parts of your nature come to the fore. Moments when the world seems to be conspiring against you and the frustration builds inside you and the frustration turns to rage.

This morning, for example, you were running late for an 8:30 meeting and you just wanted to get your latte and bagel from Starbucks and run. Of course the guy in front of you in line had to spend 10 minutes talking to the woman behind the counter about that most fascinating of topics, the weather. You’re ashamed to admit it now, but you were on the verge of balling up your $10 bill, throwing it across the counter, and screaming for service.

Actually, the whole day has been a little like this. At work, you had a tense exchange with your boss about what he called “peculiarities” in your expense account.

Then, on your way home, as you were inching toward a tollbooth on 294, it happened again. You had 20 minutes to get home, pick up your daughter, and drive her over to her dance lessons. No chance, right? The traffic was going nowhere when suddenly, thank God, another lane opened up. You went for it. So did the guy in your blind spot. A Hummer, cutting right across your bow like you weren’t even there. And off you went, laying on the horn, screaming some embarrassingly unoriginal obscenities, spittle flying, face contorted. If you could have caught a peek of yourself in the rearview at that moment, you would have seen a person who appeared utterly insane.

Adrian Tremayne
1/28/2009 1:56:52 AM

It seems to me that most of the anger is caused by people feeling devalued and unrespected. Perhaps the answer we need is the reinstatement of common courtesy as common?