Parrying frustration and anger

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I held onto that teenage hardcore-cynicism phase waaaaay too long, so just reading about this a few years ago would have made my eyes roll right out of their sockets. But here I am now, advocating the stuff of self-help books. Suck it, old me. I *like* being happy.

I am trying a new thing wherein when I am frustrated by or angry at someone I try to think of another someone with whom I am pleased and I let them know about it. I may need to let the offender know, too, but as soon as that is done (or maybe even beforehand, if I am in real danger of throwing my phone out my car window on the highway) I find a positive outlet.

Example:

We recently found out (by way of a State Trooper and not, say, an informational flyer) that Matt needs to have a Common Carrier Permit to haul gravel to his job sites in his dump truck. OK, whatever, another permit, yay. We fill out the paperwork, we scan it, we send it in with a special form from the insurance company. When it’s reviewed and accepted it’s time to pay. It’s not a cheap permit, so I double check that we have sufficient funds in the business account before I try to pay. (Sometimes I don’t look at the calendar for a few days and get blindsided by a mammoth automatic withdrawal from the fuel card company.) I log in and try to pay. It says it worked and it gives me a confirmation code. Five minutes later I get a text from Matt that says he just got an email that the payment failed. I try another card that withdraws from the same account. It tells me it worked – Matt gets an email that it failed. The next day I try again. Same thing. Then a fuel bill *does* come so I wait for a check from the mill before trying again. (At this point the permit’s been suspended because we haven’t paid. Matt can’t rebuild his customer’s driveway on schedule. Yay.) I give it one more try. It fails. I call the state and ask why the payment isn’t working. They tell me that my bank is declining the transaction. I call my bank. My bank says that *no* transactions have even been *attempted* from the third party payment site. None. Scathing email time. Someone replies “oh I looked into this and I see you were trying to use a debit card and we don’t take those thanks.” Excusemewhat? Out of sheer curiosity and a deep desire not to have to mail a fucking check I try the only other payment on the site: ACH. I type in the routing number for my bank and the number of the account those two rejected cards were linked to and BAM! This time it not only works, but I am not charged a service fee. Five minutes later there’s an automatically generated email saying our permit is reinstated. I spend the rest of the day trading very nasty emails with the person who finally got around to telling me that their payment partner doesn’t accept the #1 most widely accepted form of payment in the universe. Finally, they accept that I am, as I have repeatedly stated, not holding them personally accountable for a shitty system and assure me that they will tell someone who *is* responsible that their system fucking sucks.

The problem is solved, but I am still seething. I have wasted hours over the course of weeks when someone at the sitebuilding level could have included the 4 words “debit cards not accepted.” Or one of those rejection emails could have mentioned it. Or, hey – here’s a thought – maybe they could upgrade their card processing system to one made in the 21st century, where any debit card with a MasterCard or Visa logo can be run as a credit card.

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I have gone off, but I still want to go Office Space.

But I don’t.

Instead, I try to think of someone or something that *doesn’t* make me want to brain a printer with a baseball bat.

I go to Tumblr, where I waste the majority of every morning, and I send a bunch of anonymous notes to bloggers I love. I tell one that I admire their snark in the face of adversity. I tell another that I just followed their Instagram and it is *goals*. I tell another that I am proud of their recent personal accomplishment.

I feel so much better all of the sudden that I can hardly even remember being pissed off. It’s not euphoria and I don’t believe in catharsis, but I feel quite nice now. Instead of taking my $30 Canon printer out back and wailing on it with the bat we keep by the bed, I start a new home improvement project. Not only do I still have an all-in-one printer/scanner/photocopier, but the fresh paint on the hallway doors makes them look brand new.

I’m going to make a habit of this. When someone tries to ruin my day I’m going to try to make someone else’s. Why pay garbage forward? Drop it like the turd that it is. I’m gonna take what they’re throwing at me and use it as a step stool to get out of this emotional hole they’re trying to bury me in.

Apparently this is how I am manifesting my new daily affirmation to “release negative feelings.” By dropping metaphorical turds. Lol.

— Amanda

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