Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No right to rain on my parade

One day almost seventeen years ago in a city in Turkey I can’t remember, my wife and I stood in line with other tourists and our Turkish tour guide waiting for admission to a museum.  

Our line was long and moving so slowly, as was another line of other tourists also waiting to get inside.    

All of a sudden, there was a harsh exchange of words between our tour guide and the other group’s tour guide.  This confrontation took place in French because that was the language spoken by the other tour guide and, fortunately, our tour guide spoke it too. We all stood and watched the action while continuing our wait.

It ended quickly as it started with our Turkish tour guide remaining calm and collected during his brief ordeal.  His feathers never got ruffled during this heated verbal exchange and he remained ever so polite to his verbal combatant who he constantly referred to as “Madame”.

Sensing our curiosity of what transpired, our tour guide summarily described it as an exchange of courtesies with his French lady counterpart.  

He also shared that these French outbursts are not to be taken seriously because “the French spend the first thirty minutes of their day hating themselves and then the rest of their day hating the rest of the world.”

We all laughed at his wit while continuing our wait. 

Five years later my wife and I had our first opportunity visiting France.  We wondered if all the stories we had heard about the French being rude to Americans were true.  After all, we had somewhat of a taint from this “French versus Turkish match” five years earlier.  

Much to our pleasure, we had wonderful experiences as American tourists in both the small towns and bigger cities visited.

Yet closer to home, every once in a while I cross paths with an unpleasant person who may try his or her best to put me on the receiving end of their misery.  

As a calloused middle-aged man in my own right, I’m able to dodge their anger bullets and remain unscathed.  Nonetheless, it’s no fun being in the path of someone else’s anger.

Sometimes these people seem so angry and miserable that I’ll ask myself a rhetorical question of whether they “had a bowl of shit for breakfast.”

Being in the company of angry and self-defeating people is no fun.  They are their own worst enemy and if I’m not on constant guard, some of them can easily rub off on me.

Everyone is entitled to be as miserable as they want to be and this I must accept.  They’re entitled to rain on their parade all day long but they have no right to rain on my parade.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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