Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today I encountered a very rude nurse. I wrote a song 'bout it. Like to hear it? Here it go...

Tis the holiday season, and with it comes a lot of stress. Also in the air is the subject of my blog post today- rudeness. This afternoon I asked what I thought was an innocent question of a nurse who works in my company, just in a different department. This was patient related, and although the outcomes of the patient were favorable, the nurse spoke to me in a very rude manner that left me a little grumbly (enough to document on our computerized system what exactly happened and copies were sent to my superiors) but also thinking of ways I could have dealt with the situation. I think I took the high road by not acknowledging the problem behavior (that the nurse was being a grade-A turd) to the actual person who was committing the problem behavior. Chances are, people who are willing to be rude to total strangers are somewhat mentally unbalanced anyway, capable of terrible things like kicking small children in the shins,and are likely to react to a nice rational criticism by violently lashing out.

Just kidding! But seriously, after thinking for a bit about my feelings and what made me feel better, I’d like to share my techniques with you. Perhaps you already perform these on a regular basis, but if not, you may want to try them. My little rhyming motto on dealing with rudeness is: Take time for you, before you be rude, and make an ass outta you.

1) Take ten. This is the standard happy therapy gold standard of simply chilling out in your happy place. Usually here I don’t think about the person with the snotty attitude she felt so inclined to share with me. Usually I think of very very pleasant things, such as a violin concharto, spunky cool nursing students, or Sawyer from Lost in one of his shirtless scenes. This effect has been scientifically studied, and the defusing process one gets from just cooling off without a lot of stimuli leads to a nicer outcome for all. Watch the Anger Management episode of Penn And Teller's Bullshit! for further detail on a study that compared venting therapy vs. a cooling off period. Very interesting.

2) Surround yourself with positivity. This can be in traditional or untraditional forms. For me, it’s reading a good comic book, preferably where a female protagonist kicks an evil person’s hiney and saves innocent city denizens. Also, I love positivity in animal form- Bob and Fee. Domesticated animals and pets (yours or those belonging to your friends) will never be rude to you. They will crave love and attention, and let’s face it, when there’s a fanfare because you’ve come for a visit or you’re simply home, it’s a great ego boost. Makes you forget about the pathetic slob who tried to piss in your latte earlier that day. Right now, I am sitting here and Bob Cat is sitting next to me. When I give him a kissy on his widdle nose, him starts a-purring! Yeeessss! Ahh. Feel better already!

3) Put yourself in the person’s shoes. There is most likely a good reason why this person is so unpleasant. And most likely the reason has nothing to do with you. Maybe her cat just died, or she has a nasty hemorrhoid flare-up. Maybe her husband’s screwing her former BFF and she knows, but she doesn’t want hubby or BFF to know she knows. Or maybe they all know and continue to act out their own little drama day by day with her hubby and BFF trysting in broad balls-out daylight while she stuffs a pound cake in her gullett, alone and calls it lunch. Maybe she was one number off on the winning lottery numbers and the winner was some old trailer trash bitch whose probably gonna kick off in the next year or soMaybe, in order to survive, she must rely on the nutritional sustenance of drinking her own pee. Maybe she went to New York to watch a taping of her favorite soap opera and to meet her favorite star, only to have the star ignore her fandom, or worse, make fun of her. Maybe her Beanie Baby Collection was destroyed in a fire. Maybe, her only true happiness in life rested viewing the now-cancelled Rosie O’Donnell variety show. Maybe she listens to NPR on a regular basis because she wants to get away from schmucks like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, only to tune in to Morning Edition and hear the two of them being interviewed by a mild-mannered public radio DJ, whom they also make fun of, who just happens to have the same name as our rude person (i.e. O’Reilly: You know what’s wrong with people like you, Sherry? You sniveling liberal media pigs just suck up to celebrities and liberals…) Maybe she just joined Facebook, only to have all of her friend request rejected (what goes around comes around) and the only person willing to Facebook friend her lives in Duboobah Iceland and sends her several dozen inane applications daily, causing her computer hard drive to fill up and crash on a regular basis. Maybe her brakes got cut, her house got TPed by the neighborhood kids (you can always tell how unpleasant someone is by how many times their house gets pranked. Do the math sometime- fascinating), she just found out she was allergic to her favorite food, or she’s just pissed off because, unlike you, she doesn’t have a boss that likes her or gives her cool work stuff like a laptop, cell, and car. Maybe, worst of all, she is a closeted skeptic, afraid of exposing herself to her true believer family and friends, and doesn’t realize that there is a kick-ass skeptical group right here practically in her own backyard! Can you imagine the horror any of those situations carry? So, after pontificating for a while, imaging all the outlandish and somewhat hilarious scenarios that this joker might be suffering from, it’s easier to let the behavior roll off your back and not let it bug you anymore.
So there it is, my simple three step system for still having a good time despite someone who wants to bring you down. If only more people would just picture the rude curs of their own lives having to drink their own urine, I feel that there would be more smiles, more peace, and happy holidays.

NOTE: Feel free to leave comments here, but I’m also a very strong presence on Facebook as well. Feel free to join and friend up with me and my buds!

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