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Don't Make Me Angry!
I’ve just watched the film Avengers Assemble for about the 10th time. Of course the rest of the world knows it by its proper title; The Avengers, but in this country it had to be changed to separate it from that awful mistake of a film based on the classic 60’s British TV series. By the way, how do we manage to do that? How do we take great TV series and ruin them? The Avengers, The Man From Uncle, Holiday on the Buses. All classics ruined when transferred to the big screen. Anyway, in this film – which is number eight in my top ten, between Shawshank Redemption and Grease (no, YOU shut up!) - Bruce Banner is told by Captain America to change into the Hulk by getting angry. His response is, “I’m always angry”.
This feeling seems to be very commonplace nowadays. Whether it’s political decisions, driving, sports results or the winner of Come Dine With Me, people just need an excuse to unleash their pent-up emotion.
I know I’m at fault with this myself. I have much less patience than I did a few years ago. My wife is Spanish – wait, I have a point, I’m not just showing off – and Spanish people have a tendency to tell a story slowly and with such an incredible amount of superfluous detail that it wouldn’t be out of place in a Dan Brown novel. When we first started dating I found this quite endearing. That didn’t last long. I now findmyself asking her to get to the point.
She, quite righty, finds this incredibly rude (although it does take her a while to point out how rude it is instead of just coming out and saying it). But she’s right. It is rude. The problem is I cannot bear to have my time wasted. I find myself getting angry in supermarkets when women at the front of the checkout queue – and it is predominantly women – are told the total price for their shopping. They then open their handbags, take out their purse, take out their reward card, hand over their reward card, take back their reward card, then take out their bank card and put it into the machine. Why wasn’t this already prepared? It’s not as if the concept of shopping is suddenly new to them! “What? I have to pay now? Sorry, I didn’t realise”.
I think much of this lack of patience is the result of technology. We now live in a world where we can acquire almost everything we want, instantly. Not only is food fast, but ordering anything from a DVD to a fridgefreezer can be done in seconds.
And we can do this wherever we are just by using our phones. So we are not used to having to wait. And because we are not used to waiting, when circumstances arise in which we have to wait, we get annoyed.
Talking about phones, I do believe we have all become so obsessed with them that not being able to look at them for whatever reason also makes us angry.
Think about the last time you looked at your phone. It was definitely within the last hour. In fact, how many times in the last hour have you: checked your emails, checked Twitter, checked Facebook? Updated your status? Sent a photo? Sent a text message? Even, incredibly, used it for making a phone call?! Surprising isn’t it? I’d be amazed if you managed to get through this whole article without at least once using your phone for something. Unless, of course, you are reading this on your phone, in which case... well done.
[Hang on a minute. I’ll be right back. Just updating my Facebook status.]
What’s happened to us? I see families having dinner together where every person is on their phone. They are communicating with people who are not with them instead of those who are. It’s bizarre. It really is an addiction. Like all addictions, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. I see it at the cinema, on aeroplanes, at gigs, anywhere where you are asked to turn off your phone you can see people panic or become tense.
I recently flew back from a gig and the minute the plane landed, despite the pilot clearly asking people not to do it, virtually every phone was switched on. The whole plane was suddenly filled with the noises of text messages and emails being received. Most of them with that annoying ‘whistle’ from the iPhone. Seriously, it’s not funny anymore, if it ever was.
What’s the panic though? If there is a genuine reason for putting the phone on then fine, but most of the time it’s just people checking to see what their friends had for breakfast or how many ‘likes’ their picture of a cat wearing a false moustache has received.
So, let’s all calm down a little. If something annoys you, just take a breath and count to eleven. I know it’s normally ten, but even numbers really annoy me…
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© Bennett Arron 2015
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