On CBC Radio yesterday morning someone was commenting on how difficult it is to deal with angry people because angry people lose everything – their families, their homes, their friends, their possessions – because they are angry.
I find it difficult to listen to nonsense like this on CBC. And, it is nonsense. I have no idea who it was that was making these claims or why. I walked in while this person was talking, listed for a couple of minutes and then turned the radio off. She made me angry and I have a choice, I do not have to listen to her!
That person on the radio laid out the ground work to blame the person who was angry, for being angry. Leaving out any possible justification for anger. Like any other emotion, there is root cause. People are not born angry. They become angry. Sometimes for very valid reasons and those are often reasons of their own making but sometimes, it could be that they are more aware than others of what is happening in the world around them.
Like the bumper stick says, “If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention”.
“They told me I could work today…
Arms flailing and storm clouds billowing around him – he launched himself out of the Sky Train lobby and across Hastings Street. The pigeons, crows and seagulls scattered. One taxi swerved. Another honked but not loud enough to drone out the angry words.
His words were heard by all and directed at no one.
We have all heard him. This was an angry man. The man was dressed as a labourer and his clothes hung off of his lean frame like rags on a scarecrow. He lurched through the traffic, boot tops flapping as angrily as he was.
On the other side of the street, a police car pulled over. Two uniformed officers emerged and watched.
The people at my bus stop gave him room and he came to a violent, seated stop about two feet from where I was standing. I gave him room. He had already seen the flashing lights and his hands went to his face as his large frame slumped into the tiny space.
Under a welders cap, fair lank hair framed his face. The bill of the cap had buried itself under his jacket. The work boots were not tied. The clothes looked like they used to fit someone much larger but, they were the right length and he was very tall.
The two cops were now one on each side of him, placing themselves between his anger and the mixed emotions those of us still waiting near this bus stop were feeling. “What is your issue?” barked the younger of the two. The older cop dropped his stance very slightly and looked up in a way that suggested he was not only prepared for the worst but was disappointed at his partner’s tone.
“What is the issue?”
“What is the issue?”
My heart began to soften and went out to the angry man. My eyes went to the cop and I thought, “What is your issue?” Why did this young officer need to keep repeating a question that was not getting a response.
The older cop looked down at his younger partner and motioned him back. With careful thought and much compassion he softly asked, “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“They told me I could work today.”
The hands came down from his face. He looked smaller. Beaten. “They told me to be there with my boots on. They told me I could work today.”
There were tears on his cheek.
“You okay now?”
“You don’t need a ride, do you?”
The man swallowed, “No sir. Thank you sir.”
He wiped his cheek with the back of his hand, “I’m okay.”
My heart wrenched. The cops backed off. Walked to the car and waited a bit. They drove away. The tall man wasn’t so much angry as heart broken. We are not all capable of working. Most of us want to. Being useful and self-sufficient are just very human things to be or, to want to be. Most of us want to work.
Copyright, April 28, 2020