Thursday, December 17, 2009
When shutting up is the more graceful option
Taking public transport has not only tested many a hot-head's patience to the limits, but also their self-control. How gratifying must it feel to let everyone know that "I'm not pleased! Isn't it obvious?"--and perhaps this is not the first time anyone has fantasized about putting noisy, pushy, slow-walking, or [insert peeve here] people in their place.
This reminds me of a woman in the Guadalupe Station at the MRT. She was waiting outside to squeeze in with the heaving mass of football playing women, but alas it was no use. In her frustration, she shouted at us--all those already inside the car when the train stopped there--saying, "Ang luwag-luwag pa kaya, ba't di kayo umusog!" [There's still a lot of space, why don't you cram yourselves in some more?"] But of course none of us could move, so the doors closed and she was left outside--to the great relief of all.
Another woman let me know of her ire when she was being indecisive about entering the elevator. There were a bunch of us inside already and she lingered by the door. Everybody didn't know what she planned to do; I, being by the buttons, was holding the "open" button for her, but let go because she wouldn't come in--I really thought she wasn't going up and she would wait for the elevator that would be going down. But, suddenly she decided to step in--and the doors closed on her. After the elevator hit her and opened again to let her in, she stomped inside in a huff, gave me a bad look and forcefully punched her floor (2nd). Though I am really sorry for not understanding her body language, I still think it's very childish behavior for a mature woman. Shame.
While it may seem gratifying to let people know that you're fuming and losing your patience over their, say, foolishness, there are times when keeping these feelings to yourself is the most graceful way out. Look at it this way: in the MRT, at rush hour, everyone is tired, everyone wants to go home, everyone is not in a very good mood. But among all those women, it is you who happens to lose it--you're the only one who makes a scene! Who's the fool then?
It may not be obvious, but there are good things that can come from holding that tongue, even if you think you're in the right. One, there is that exercise on patience--an opportunity to grow. Two, the people around you (or those with you) won't feel the need to pretend you don't exist. Three, overall, it's better for everyone to be saved from enduring your tirade-cum-entertainment showcase, and that includes you. Trust me, a person who displays such a violent show of ire hardly ever leaves a gathering or a place gracefully--she may have left with her head held highly and righteously, but because actions speak louder than words, she will only be remembered for losing her temper, and not for being right.