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KUCHARUK: why are our emotions on such a hair trigger?

I was met with an extremely dirty look and a nasty comment. “Sir, you dropped your wallet.”
Mad house.

Walking into a gas station on the weekend when a pickup pulled up in front of me, a man jumped out and headed to grab a newspaper from the newspaper thingy in front of the store.

I saw that something has fallen out of his truck, so I yell, “Sir, SIR!” to get his attention.

He had the common sense to look uncomfortable that he had returned my attempt at a good deed with a rude comeback. He picked up his wallet, nodded thank you and hopped back into his truck.

What did he think I said to him? Granted, my mask covers a multitude of sins, most notably the impossible pimple that I had growing on my chin. Did my mask also muffle my, “Sir, SIR!”? Did he think I was verbally berating him for not wearing a mask?

His response did sound like, “I am not wearing a ‘bleeping’ mask.”

Whatever. World Kindness Day had been the day before so I should not have expected the niceness to overflow the date into Sunday. I began to wonder if our interpretation of a verbal response has changed since wearing a mask. The man could not see my mouth, or really hear the intonation of my words.

He assumed that I was calling him out for something and responded accordingly. The fight or flight mechanism kicked in and he lashed out. Why are our emotions on such a hair trigger? Is it stress? Are we ALL completely stressed out?

Society is collectively reaching a tipping point where we need to take a moment and decide if our first response is going to be one of suspicion or anger or if it is going to be one of curiosity and an intent to understand.

World Kindness Day should be an everyday thing – shouldn’t it?