I have in the past been called tactless and have tried over the past few years to bite my tongue and keep my cool. It hasn’t been easy and I have endured a bleeding tongue at times but here are two incidents that come to mind that have made it worthwhile to me.
I am driving along with my children in the car and suddenly this car comes off the slipway and nearly rams into the back of me. The driver in a panic hoots.
Absolute anger – until I see the look of total apology on the driver’s face.
As we pulled up at the traffic lights the passenger in the other vehicle decided to start ranting and raving at me. I turn my head and find an elderish Indian lady glaring at me and cursing, a highly apologetic old man cringing and waving a frantic apology and two children trying in vain to hide behind the seats in embarrassment.
Amongst the insults that flew my way were incompetence as a driver, being mindless and uncaring to the safety of others and racism (the South African favorite) Every 3rd word was Fucken and the ones in between were God and culture.
From the back seat of my car I can hear my kids saying “oh oh, now mom’s mad”, so I take a big calming breath.
I sat quietly and intently listening to her raging away and when she had finished I ever so calmly and sweetly asked her please to wipe the little red spot off her forehead as her found her behavior insulting to all my Indian friends and I’m sure that Allah would not approve, I also then offered to wait on the side of the road for her apology while they drove around the block to check the road signs proving that my knowledge of “road safety” was in fact superior to hers.
Upon this her husband first gasped then snorted as he tried to hold in a giggle – this earned him her attention and as I drove off -my whole body shaking in anger but a sickly sweet smile on my face- he simply smiled and waved a farewell.
Five mintues later my daughter plucked up the courage to speak and simply said, “That was way cool mom”
That was when I realized that NOTHING angers a person more than when you remain calm during an argument. It felt great!!