Chronicles From The Streets · Musings · Thoughts

“Are You Okay?”

“Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.”

– Wilkie Collins

Recently, I was on the bus heading home after a long day at work. I had my ears plugged, listening to some music to keep my sanity in the midst of the unnecessarily slow traffic caused by bad drivers. Amidst the constant yelling and insults from frustrated and angry drivers and the random loud insult from one of the passengers to the driver. There’s always that one person or group of people who have driving tips for the driver.

So there I was, trying to be lost in my music and hoping to get home soon, when a man’s angry shouting suddenly pierced through my calm music. I turned to the source of the ‘noise’ and saw this man raising hell. He was terribly angry. I noticed he was yelling at a woman seated behind him and even proceeded to point his finger right at her face as I watched. No, that’s not right. His finger was in her face. Literally. Mere inches from actually touching it.

This man continued to shout like the lady had killed a member of his family. He shouted and talked for most of the trip. Everyone on the bus seemed to be on the lady’s side. The lady on the other hand continued to insist that she did nothing wrong and had nothing to apologise for. Compared to him, she barely raised her voice, although she was visibly agitated.

“I will be calm. I will be mistress of myself.”
― Jane Austen

Her attitude made the man angrier.

I was honestly scared that he might pop a vein or lose all control and hit the woman. He was that angry.

Now, I’ll tell you what started this whole episode.

The woman entered the bus first. At the next bus stop, the man got in and took the seat right in front of the woman.

The seat he occupied had a bad backrest so that if he rested back, he would practically be resting against the woman’s knees. When the woman noticed this, she told him. Apparently, he either refused to listen or didn’t understand what she said because he continued to lean back.

The woman then proceeded to ask, ‘Are you okay?’

And yes, that simple question is what kept the rest of us on the bus entertained and stupefied the rest of the journey.

Maybe the woman’s tone was unwarranted. Maybe the man was simply frustrated from a weary day at work and that prompted his reaction. Maybe they both simply exhibited a form of transferred aggression.

Whatever the cause might have been, till this moment, I can’t seem to wrap my head around how that question could be construed as such a grave insult. And even if it can, how does it justify the man’s erratic response?

In all his raving, these are paraphrases of some of the things he said;

‘With that attitude, how can you keep a man?”

After noticing her wedding band, he went on to ask ‘Is that how you talk to your husband at home?!’

‘I blame the man that allowed you leave the house!’

‘Continue with this attitude and very soon, you’ll see your bags outside!’

‘You’re a very foolish woman without home training!’

His angry comments made me angry but then after he’d gone on for a while, I began to find the humour in them.

It takes a truly ignorant, narcissistic and insecure man to go on like that. So maybe I should actually be sad for him.

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”
― Lao Tzu

This incidence, as far as I’m concerned is a terribly clear case of verbal abuse which I have noticed is becoming much too common.

So, maybe I do not know the whole story. Maybe the genesis lay in how their day went at work.

“Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control.”
– Steven Pinker

Her attitude regardless, I do not believe the man’s response what warranted.

The day we start to accept these things as normal, is the day we might as well let go of our humanity.

©Oreoluwa Matemilola 2017 All Rights Reserved



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