Wednesday 24 January 2018

#423 Why I replied sternly to Karen

It was Christmas Day. That alone should serve as a completely adequate answer to the matter in question, however I will elaborate.

I was under pressure. I tend to remain outwardly calm in such situations, at least in the short term. At the exact moment that I locked myself out, I doubt whether my father or my landlord could have detected much concern in my voice although they may have. I was focused on what to do about it. However I was still under pressure. My fight or flight mechanisms had been prepped. I just wasn't using them.

I was trying to make a very difficult decision. The question of whether or not to stay in East Dulwich had many variables to it. It wasn't in my landlord's interest for me to stay, since she'd have to come back to let me in. It wasn't in my father's interest to spend too much time thinking about it because he had his own reasons to get going. These two people, both senior to me in more than one way, had motives. Yet I had to look after my own interests. I'd just spent two days in the company of my family and had been expecting that to end and it hadn't. That distressed me.

Karen was being judgmental. The first time she blurted "SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE LOCKED YOU OUT!" I just ignored it. For a start, it seemed completely unhelpful. The landlord was miles away and there wasn't much we could do about the house being locked. Also, I didn't agree with Karen's view at all. The landlord had explained to me more than once that she'd be locking up while I was away and I'd agreed it was a good idea. She'd done nothing wrong as far as I was concerned. In fact, getting locked out could have been my fault. Maybe I'd said I'd be back on Boxing Day.

"SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE LOCKED YOU OUT!" moaned Karen again and that was when I replied. I didn't shout. I didn't swear. I didn't insult Karen but my tone... somehow I occasionally find myself able to deliver an ordinary message as though it's a smack to the face. Karen fell silent. She'd made what she thought was a perfectly reasonable observation and had been unexpectedly shot down for it.

I might not have completely mastered my emotions. As adults, the better we are able to control our reactions to what we feel, the more mature we are. If I was asked how consciously, how deliberately I'd decided to use that tone with Karen, I'd have to say I don't know. I can't remember. However it's possible that my anger was misplaced. That I let too much of how I was feeling come through in my voice. It's possible and if that's what happened, I'm sorry for it.

No comments