When it’s just one of those days!
by Christy Gualtieri
Not too long ago, I caught the Stephen Soderbergh movie “Contagion” on cable. The film, which chronicles the infection of a deadly airborne virus, fatally affecting most of the world’s population and the mad rush to eradicate it, is a nail-biter, and one of those movies I just have to sit and watch no matter what I’m doing, no matter when it’s on.
Colds are contagious, so are coughs, viruses and the flu. But other things are contagious too: laughter, for example, or anger. Just as someone who spends time with a sick friend can come down with the sniffles the very next day, it’s just as easy for a person to be exposed to an attitude – whether good or bad – and find themselves coming down with a similar condition.
I was visiting a friend the other day when we decided to stop at a nearby coffee shop, and I ordered a pastry that I wasn’t aware needed to be heated. Thinking that the barista forgot that part of my order, I politely asked for it. She rudely told me that there was a line for the oven, and her tone definitely told me that I was way “out of line” to ask for it. When I received it a moment later from another barista, she gave me an awful look, and I thanked her and walked back to my table, somewhat confused, but also pretty angry.
After I left, I found myself losing patience with other drivers on the road, and ill-tempered with everyone just as those baristas were with me. But as I drove, I remembered what it was like when I worked at a coffee shop just like that one, not that long ago. I remembered being overwhelmed after a week of busy mornings, of rushes and long lines. We’ve all been short on tempers – customers and workers alike. It’s normal and it’s human nature. But it’s also frightening to think about how easily we can pick up those feelings and carry them with us, allowing them to be passed on to others.
It doesn’t need to happen though, and the negativity can stop with us. After I got home and took a few good deep breaths, I reminded myself that my entire day didn’t need to be ruined – I could just calm down, and move on. It takes practice, of course, but it’s possible and necessary because it’s just as easy to feel emotionally lifted by someone you meet who is happy, joyful, and who radiates peace – and the more of those folks out there, the better!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at openthoseojos.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117.
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