'You seem very angry about things,' said my mate at Christmas. 'You know, it's counterproductive, and reserving your anger like this...'
'and being so..so generalising,' chipped in his wife.
'..it doesn't help you.'
I may have come across as a bit annoyed: after all, I'd just narrowly avoided having had my head crushed under the wheels of one big Anxious Mummy Child Carrying Juggernaut, shortly after coming off my bike and suffering a radial head fracture thanks to the AMCCJ braking suddenly in front of me. However, it was my usual joking rant, the use of apparent anger for humour's sake, my way of winding down. Unfortunately, it seems to have come across as the real thing. The question is: Am I really governed by anger, and do I generalise?
I have to ask this question, simply because the positing of the idea by another requires me to see whether it is true. On the charge of anger, I am afraid to say that there is some truth in the matter: On the latter, I absolutely refute it. I do not generalise, except for humour's sake. OK, I've written on here about my dislike of Audi, Volvo and BMW drivers, but I hope that it's fairly obvious that I'm writing with my tongue at least partially in my cheek. Generalisations are the refuge of those who are too lazy to think. While people tend to behave in broadly similar ways - for example, in my experience as a cyclist, Audi drivers behave as though the roads belong to them - nevertheless, we are all individuals with our own definitions of normal, and our own eccentricities, foibles and madnesses. I am well aware of this, and so seek to avoid making vapid, broad assumptions of others. Apart from being lazy thinking, it is also dangerous: how easy the fall from generalising to stereotyping to labelling to accusing.
On the point about anger: well, yes. I have my moments, I can't deny that. Indeed, many of the stupid things I have done in my life have been fuelled by a moment, or moments, of anger and irritation. Anger can be constructive, though, if it is directed and leads to positive change. Unfortunately, mine tends to be aimed at myself, whenever it is directed. Yet this, too, is something I am aware of, and something that I strive to change.