Yesterday, a guy crashed into me with his bike. From two edges of a right angle, we came into a cross point at the same time. I thought I slowed down to see whether he would turn or go straight. And, BAM!
Before I knew it, his front wheel hit my left leg and his bar handle went over my hands. Immediately he started to shout. Angrily. Even when he cycled away, he was still shouting.
I was speechless. The shock seized me inside out and left me with no words. Not to tell him that I believe I was right. Not to ask him whom he was so angry at? I was the one who got hurt, physically. He didn’t. At least not so obvious that I could see.
In a similar situation, a nice person would ask me if I were okie. Once or twice, I felt off my bike on narrow and slippery corners of Amsterdam. Always, someone stopped to check if I needed any help or just some comforting. Was it their fault I was hurt? Not at all. Did they have to care? No, but they did anyway. That is what a nice person would do. That’s whom every parents should raise their child to become.
Anger can make you a not-so-nice person because you are blindsided by your own feeling. All you could see is your frustration. You don’t see how the rest of the world struggle, sometimes because of you.
I used to be filled up with rage for no reason. Mostly there would be a reason, but in hindsight, it was often nothing so serious to be angry about. Back then, I lived in a small town in Northern England. Working as an interpreter, I travelled around the country to help people to be heard. I didn’t earn much but I got to travel a lot and I paid my rent. I had a close-knit group of friends. I was supposed to be happy. But I was angry.
Now and then, the rage would come and go leaving scars on me and the people I cared about. I would withdraw into the furthest corner of my room staring into the light under the only lamp. Or I ran out into the cold snow without a scarf and shook like hell. I was scared.
I don’t remember when was the last time I felt like that – thankfully. The guy yesterday reminds me of how lucky I am not being in that place anymore. Still I wish I could understand what he shouted out about. It was not in Dutch, English or Vietnamese. It could have been in any other languages of the multiple ethnic groups in Amsterdam. Or it could have been the universal language of pain – the one that most of us have felt but not so many could articulate.