It’s a sunny Saturday morning. Perfect for a visit to a flea market. I get on my bike and set off. Right behind a roundabout, two pedestrians cross a zebra crossing on the left. As I have such good speed, I steer my bike to the right. At that moment a third pedestrian comes from the right. I swerve out of the way. “F*** YOU!” shouts from behind. I can’t believe what I’ve heard and reply “excuse me”? And again: “F*** YOU“. A few metres further on, I stop to look back to the bully, who just keeps on running. When suddenly, an SUV pulls up next to me with the an upset woman inside shouting at me: “don’t you have brakes”?
I am speechless. Not about the fact that I’m causing annoyance with my misbehaviour. But about the destructive reaction. And why did the driver of the SUV, who was completely uninvolved, attack me? I feel offended. The form she addresses me is patronising.
As I move on, I reflect on what has happened. What kind of society do we live in? I don’t live in Berlin-Neukölln, where you might expect to be mobbed. Hamburg-Harvestehude is one of the best neighbourhoods. The guy who shouted at me was a good looking and smartly dressed man.
Where does this very short fuse come from?
I’ve been observing this anger for some time. It’s easy to spot it at waiting points, such as supermarket checkouts. The cashier triggers an anger and is quickly brushed aside. So I think, the whole situation must have a larger context. The only explanation I have, is that the worldly and political situation is manoeuvring us more and more into a feeling of powerlessness. And as a result, we are increasingly anxious about the future. Nevertheless: If we don’t realise the source of our anger, then we react to external stimuli like a charge of dynamite.
I believe it is essential for the well-being of humanity that we ALL reflect on our behaviour and treat each other responsibly. Because there is a dynamic at play here that we can only stop if we stop blaming others for our situation.
“Everyone is the master of their own destiny; it is up to us to create the cause of happiness. This is our own responsibility and not that of others.” (Dalai Lama).