Keep calm and carry on

We were going to try to avoid our annual conversation about road rage, but then we saw yet another person make an illegal left-hand turn from the right-hand lane because of the poorly signed downtown “special” event last weekend, and the subsequent aggressive bumper-to-bumper, finger flipping and fist-shaking chase, and here we go.

Look, it’s hot. The air is filled with smoke from recent forest fires and allergens from the annual pollination. Traffic is snarled from road and sewer repair, random public road closures, and inadequate signage with insufficient warning.

We feel your pain, and we know you feel ours. We’re all in this together, and we know that there’s nothing that feels better than jumping back in somebody’s face when they act like a tool in public or when the outfit they work for seems to show no courtesy for the public that actually pays their salary. We know the parking situation is extremely aggravating, and we know the extreme fiscal incompetence the last Reno City Council showed with their lack of due diligence with regard to the parking system contract has only exacerbated your foul mood. And for god’s sake, if we see one more billboard with an apostrophe in the wrong “its,” we’re going to scream. And those people who increase their speed as soon as you turn on your turn signal on the freeway in order to prevent you merging over in a safe manner? Yes, we too would like to kick them square in their out-of-state lug nuts. Goddamn, it’s like the whole culture is coming apart at the seams!

But when you step back, you’ve got to realize that as long as you keep your cool when those around you are losing theirs, in a matter of moments or hours, none of these frustrations will be important.

At any rate, the Mayo Clinic offers 10 tips for anger management on its website, Here they are: Take a timeout; once you’re calm, express your anger; get some exercise; think before you speak; identify possible solutions; stick with ’I’ statements; don’t hold a grudge; use humor, not sarcasm, to release tension; practice relaxation skills; and know when to seek help for your anger issues.

All of these techniques have one thing in common: Don’t be reactive. Put a few moments between you and the offending act, and your blood pressure and adrenaline will stay at comfortable levels. Not to be too touchy feely, but you have no idea what kind of day that other person might be having. They could have just lost their job or a family member. Maybe a bee flew into their shirtsleeve. It’s possible they’re just stupid, and nothing you can say or do is going to help them with that.

Just imagine yourself walking a mile in their skin. But by all means, check yourself first. Your day will fly by much more pleasantly if you don’t let the bastards get you down.

It’s. It is. Get it?