Usually I live life on a pretty even keel, effortlessly gliding over bumps, getting along with others and portraying a very optimistic attitude. Usually that is…except for last night, which is when I had a full blown temper tantrum, in my apartment, by myself. I was fine when I arrived home. The place was quiet, kitties were contently eating, thoughts were flowing in my blog…until around 8 p.m. when I heard boom, boom, boom, boom…my simple home of 950 square feet sits on the second floor, on top of another abode, from which the boom, boom, boom, was emitting.
Just for a moment, let me back up. Since around November of last year, loud booming noises have been intermittently coming from below. The boom, boom, boom sounds just like the amplified speakers in those cars, driven by young kids, hot rodding down the street, only instead of the noise dissipating, it is right under my living area.
At first I tolerated it, as it was not regularly occurring, also figuring I would be the ‘nice’ neighbor in realizing noise sometimes happens in homes stacked one on top of the other. However, the frequency escalated as well as the volume, so much so I wrote the leasing office asking what action could be taken to alleviate the noise. They wrote a letter to everyone in my little complex. It worked. The leasing office even followed up with an email making sure I was not hearing noise anymore. I positively answered saying I heard it once in a while on the weekend during the day but it was tolerable. My mistake!! Then on Christmas, the noise came back with the incessant boom, boom, boom so loud I heard it above the volume on my t.v. Ever since it has been quite the nuisance. One night, I could not take it anymore, so I marched myself downstairs, rang the door bell three times, with no response. I rewrote the leasing office asking for them to write a personal letter. I thought they did as shortly after that, I heard nothing from below until it started again last week.
Except this time, it was gradual, one day the boom, boom, boom went on for five minutes, the next time one hour. It was during the day, and once again trying to be a ‘nice’ neighbor, I choose to ignore it, get on with my day and do nothing until last night…
As stated above, life was fine. I was just getting myself off to bed to read around 8 pm when I heard boom, boom, boom, boom. So, I thought I would fold some socks, you know keep busy, try to ignore it, once again being the ‘nice’ neighbor figuring it would not last long. You would think at the first sound, I would have gone downstairs, politely asking them to turn it down. However, I was so steamed after a couple of minutes, I knew I would scream my head off. After one hour, I could not stand it!!! So…I gave in to the anger. I know I shouldn’t have. I know it was wrong. I know it was childish. I know…I know…I have harbored immense guilt ever since but I totally lost it!!! As a result, I started jumping up and down as hard as I could all over the living room. I did it for a couple of minutes. As soon as I stopped, the doorbell started ringing. It rang once. It rang twice.
At that point, my anger turned into shame. I froze, thinking OMG what have I done!!! I knew it was the neighbors below probably thinking I was going to come right through the ceiling. I did not answer. And the door bell was not rung again. When I went to bed, my anger had returned. I wanted to scream, punch, jump up and down again. Instead, I imagined myself doing all three. But it did not work. All day I felt terrible, wallowing in the fact I got angry. It was only on the way home from work, it hit me, why shouldn’t I have gotten angry? Okay I could have done it in a more constructive way. And that is why I had such guilt and shame, because I am NOT a revengeful person. So I began thinking about why I reacted the way I did.
My first thought was to give the neighbors a piece of their own noise. I figured maybe if they heard incessant boom, boom, boom, they would get the picture. However, the more I mulled over it, the more I figured out, the noise was just a tiny bit of the issue. The real issue I needed to address was interacting with those people whom I have nicknamed the ‘entitled ones.’
You have probably encountered this group as well…those who, like the abode dwellers below me who seem to think regulations don’t apply to them…shoppers who have one or two items, and despite self checkout being open or the limited item line having a short wait, ask if you would mind if they cut in front of you…drivers, witnessing signs posted about lanes ending, who at the last minute attempt to squeeze in…shoppers who rush to be first when another lane opens even if they have others waiting in front of them…drivers who pull out, then slow down way below the speed limit…and so on and so on and so on…the ‘entitled ones.’ Of whom I have zero, zip, nada, zilch tolerance.
Yet, I am the one feeling guilty, as the noise continues. I am the one feeling shame over getting angry. I am the one making myself sick because I know I should have not acted the way I did. It was totally out of my character. However, on the drive home, it occurred to me that the ‘entitled ones’ usually don’t think about anyone but themselves, without guilt or remorse. They just keep living the ‘me first’ lifestyle, regardless of who they step on to get what they want.
But, you see, I am not that way. I am a giver, not a taker. I don’t think of me first all the time, but others. That is when the AHA moment hit. These were the REAL reasons I was so hard on myself. See, I have a habit of putting my perceptions onto others, thinking just because I act a certain way, I will be treated as such. Yes, I know only in a Disney movie would that come true. However, instead of having a tantrum, I should have, from the first boom, boom, boom, sound gone down, politely voiced my displeasure at the noise and indicated how much better my life would be if the boom, boom, boom quit. It might have made things better. It might not. I don’t know. All I know for sure is despite my Jiminy Cricket force feeding me guilt and shame it felt good to make some BOOM, BOOM, BOOM noise of my own. It felt great to get angry. And, even though I reacted like a two year old, I am still a good person.
Lessons learned? I need to use my vocal cords more often. If I don’t like something, I need to forget being ‘nice’, remember to be polite and face the issue instead of ignoring it. When I display anger, which needs to be handled in a more constructive manner, I will not feel guilty or ashamed as I have the right to let others know how mad I am. And, just because I treat others with the golden rule as my guide, does not mean I will have the same treatment bestowed on me. Regardless, I don’t have to accept or kowtow to those who feel a sense of entitlement.
All day I could not wait to get home to get these thoughts down…it is not easy to admit…it did help to release Jiminy from his perch…and it did help me dig deep to discover the ‘real’ issue behind the noise.