The experts (whoever they are) tell us that one of the biggest causes of conflict occurs when our expectations are not met.
I had an opportunity to witness this firsthand earlier this week.
I live in a condo building which has a large 350 vehicle parkade which means during the day there is a steady stream of cars entering and leaving the building.
On Wednesday morning a vehicle entered the parkade and accidentally drove through the high-speed door’s leading into the building, rendering it inoperable.
Not only was the door inoperable, it was stuck in the closed position effectively preventing vehicles from entering or exiting the parkade.
Our on-site concierge called the door company for assistance and was told that technicians would be dispatched immediately however, due to the winter road conditions throughout the city, it might take several hours for them to reach us.
It took the technicians 90 minutes to get to our building and an additional hour to dismantle the door so as to open up the entrance way to our parkade.
Being unable to enter or leave any busy parkade one week before Christmas will certainly prove enormously inconvenient for many people, and this was true for numerous residents in our building.
There were several folks wanting to exit the building in order to drive to the airport and begin the Christmas vacation. They could not leave the parkade
Many others were trying to leave the building to get on with their busy days. They too were stuck inside.
And of course, an equal number of folks were returned to the building and unable to enter the parkade forcing them to try and find street parking close by which, even in the best of times, is rather scarce.
Most of our residents caught in this dilemma, while obviously frustrated, accepted the situation for what it was and rapidly made new plans to carry on with their day.
One lady called her sister and asked her to come to the building to drive her to the airport. She also offered a ride to one of her neighbors who too was trying to get to the airport and was having difficulty ordering a taxi.
For the most part most of our folks responded well to a trying situation but unfortunately not everyone responded the same way.
They found themselves in a situation when nothing could be done until technicians were able to reach a building and dismantle the door. There was no other available option.
And yet for a few people this was just not good enough.
Their initial response, upon realizing that they could not get their vehicles out of the building was instant fury.
And of course it was all the fault of whichever member of the building staff happened to be present.
Our staff were told they were idiots, morons, imbeciles and incompetent fools. Naturally these labels are accompanied by the very descriptive words that, when used by children in the good old days, would have seen them dragged into a bathroom in order to have their mouths washed out with soap.
In order to test the memory of some of our staff members, a few of these irate neighbors, while reminding staff members of their importance, did ask them, “Do you have any idea who I am?”
I am a member of the Condo Board of Directors’ and some of these folks had my cell phone number. One person called me – I was at work in my office – and ordered me to, “Get your &^%*ing ass back here and fix this if you know what’s good for you.”
Several others called to express their anger and, of course, as is in keeping with this type of rational behavior, threatened to sue me, the condo board, the building, and, no doubt, our Mayor, Premier and Prime Minister.
I fully understand how frustrating this type of situation is. I truly get the enormous inconvenience brought about by this type of incident and I fully understand that being unable to get one’s vehicle out of the parkade can wreak havoc on carefully prepared plans.
What I don’t get is the irrational outbursts we experience when these things happen. The out-of-control anger in each that seems to reside in many people simply waiting for a spark to ignite it.
What I’m sure these people don’t realize is that a broken door and their childish, immature behavior are not in any way connected.
The broken door is the broken door and that is all it is. The broken door is not the cause of their anger. They brought their anger to bear all by themselves.
And while I am sure they will all blame the door as the cause of their anger there was absolutely no cause and effect in play here.
The door was broken. It is what it is.
I feel no anger towards these folks. If anything I feel sadness for the stress and anxiety they must bring into their own lives by their inability to understand that the only meaning of any and every experience in our lives – and consequently, our reaction to each incident – is the meaning we choose to place upon it.
These few people chose anger. The vast majority, equally affected by this event and despite their annoyance and frustration, chose to deal with it in calm and rational ways.
I know I speak for all of our staff who bore the brunt of the venom spewed by these few that we are truly thankful that the vast majority of adults, know they are adults and behave like adults.
One young man, in leaving the parkade to try and find an alternate way of getting to the airport, took the time to go to each of the staff members present and wish them a Merry Christmas.
What a great spirit. I am going to take a leaf out of his book and wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful, joy-filled New Year.
Till we read again,
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