Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anger Management

On Saturday mornings, Little A has Occupational Therapy. It's in the next city about a 20 minute drive away from home. During the hour he's in class, I try and fill my time productively. Today I'd booked an appointment that was timed to finish in barely enough time for me to pick him up after the session was done.

Since the therapy centre is in an office building, it's fairly quiet on Saturdays, and only two or three out of six lifts are in operation. Apart from us parents and our special needs kids, the only other floor that seems abuzz with people is a call centre two floors up.

Little A's session time coincides, apparently, with breaktime for a particular shift of call centre agents. This means that after leaving him with his therapist, it can take up to 15 minutes to get a ride down the elevator, because every time one stops, it's already packed with people. Big A says to get into one that's going up, since once it stops on the call centre floor and fills up, it heads straight down with everyone inside.

Today I did just that, and found that Big A was right. I stood in a corner as the lift filled up with young people sporting bright orange ID lanyards proclaiming their employment for whatever business outsourcing firm they belong to. One smart aleck by the door thought it would be great fun to keep popping his arm between the doors every time they started to close, causing them to open again. The other people waiting on the floor for the lift to go down so that another would arrive, and we crammed like sardines inside, were far less amused.

After about 2 minutes of this unbelievable behaviour, I snapped, "Could you kindly stop that and allow the doors to shut? Some of us have better things to do with our time than stand around while you amuse yourself." The young man quickly pulled his hand in and allowed the door to shut, finally.

The lift started down, and I would have shut up if I didn't hear a sarcastic comment whispered by someone else inside the lift. I then retorted, "There's floor full of special needs children working below you, and not one of them behaves as badly as you do in a lift. If you can't observe proper elevator etiquette, you should just take the stairs in future." At this everyone fell silent.

Once we got to the ground floor and everyone poured out, I tapped the offending character on the shoulder and asked him to apologise. Perhaps his other companions found his antics amusing, but I certainly didn't.

I don't know if a mother's voice of authority works on anyone other than her own children, but I certainly hope I shamed some of those uneducated young people into better behaviour today.

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