Once More With Feelings

May 13, 2017

Anyhow, my tone mounted as it became clear that I would not penetrate the wall of commercial langue de bois spoken by the woman at the other end of the phone. And then suddenly I stopped arguing when it dawned on me (what in reality I had always known) that I was enjoying myself, and furthermore that in playing the injured party I was actually not only enjoying myself, but enjoying myself because I was making my interlocutor uncomfortable, and perhaps even spoiling her day. Which, given the nature of her employment, was unlikely to have been all that grand in the first place. In fact I was bullying her because, for the same reason that she could not answer my questions like an intelligent being, she could not answer me back, whatever I said. The call was being “monitored” for “training and security purposes.”

My anger drained away, like water through sand. As I have mentioned, it did not matter in the least when the merchandise was delivered; not only was I not in urgent need of it, I was probably not in need of it at all. More likely than not, it was a waste of money, and even if it were not, it would hardly give me more than momentary pleasure.

My anger, even had it been genuine, was therefore stupid; but in fact it was insincere as well. It cannot be said that at any time I was wholly and completely unaware of this, but I chose for a time to ignore the still, small voice of truth in some part of my mind.

We have a duty, then, to control our indignation, for most of the time it will be liberally admixed with humbug. I do not, however, expect my message to be heard in Jakarta, to judge from the pictures of those hundreds of thousands of canting humbugs in the city’s streets.

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