Friday, September 26, 2008

Be cool

Sometimes I say stuff.

I don't know what it is about how I write things but I seem to be able to make people really mad. Emailing friends or posting online or even here on the old blog, I get e-yelled at a lot for my choice of words. The thing is, I can say the exact same thing somebody else says but I get yelled at because what they said SOUNDS nicer.

Yet in person that almost never happens. In person I get along with almost everybody.

That may not be the best sign for a writer.

Or maybe it's just that you're missing the lovely inflection of my dark Kathleen Turnerlike voice.

I'm really not kidding about my voice. And I never even smoked.

Anyway, whenever I say something that makes somebody mad they tend to say something really nasty back, so I start to say something nasty back to them. Then I try to stop and take a breath although I don't always make it. Then I go, hey, Emily maybe you're wrong. Maybe you should be nice and logical and not raise your blood pressure. Or maybe you should just explain your position more clearly and without the personal shit. But then when I'm nice back they think I'm being passive aggressive, especially if I already said something nasty back a minute ago.

I'll give you a stereotypical conversation.*

Me: I think yellow is the worst color.
Them: What the fuck is wrong with you? Yellow is the color of the sun! Why do you hate the sun?
Me: I don't hate the sun. Yellow just sucks. Why are you being an asshole? Blue is a better color.
Them: Oh so now you're calling me names? Oh well look here, little girl [I get the little girl thing a lot], I don't know where you got your information but you should look ups some statistics on yellow. Sunflowers are yellow. Maybe if you had more sunflowers in your life you wouldn't be such a bitch.
Me: I just wanted to express my dislike for yellow because I still think yellow is a hideous color. I'm sorry if I offended you and am glad you enjoy yellow's company.
Them: Yellow is the best color to ever happen to the world and here's why [followed by long list of Wiki'd facts that I don't read because they're boring] and if you can't appreciate that then you should die.
Me: Okay. Maybe yellow is cool. You certainly make a good case. But I still prefer blue.
Them: That's because you're a bitch.
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way.

It's a whole snowball effect. Nobody wants to admit they're wrong once the yelling starts, even if they know they are.

And although it was one particular argument that got me thinking about this, this conversational progression is pretty common with me. Maybe I should stop being so blunt with my opinion. I should say things like "I prefer blue over yellow," but that usually doesn't occur to me until after I've been yelled at.

Besides, yellow IS the worst color.

I express opinions all the time that reasonable people disagree with, and sometimes it surprises me how mad people get when you disagree with them. I mean they get really mad. Like way over the top mad.

I really don't want to get mad. Around Christmas time I drive to the Target with the eight million people all pushing and shoving and cussing each other and I have a theory. I say to myself, Self, don't get mad.

And I don't. I wait for people to pass me, I take my time, I stay in a zenlike state the whole time, and then I enjoy my shopping trip. Seriously, it works. So I try to apply that to arguments as often as I can.

So the point is, if I sound mad, wait ten minutes and we'll be cool.**

*Conversation eggagerated for more awesomeness
**this also works in boyfriend arguments


  1. Welcome to the internet, the place where everyone wants to argue with you over innocuous comments you said in passing. It has happened so often to me that I've become hesitant to post on message boards, blogs, or even in private e-mails. Rebutting idiocy just takes so much time and is really a headache. And they will keep the debate going because everyone, no matter what the facts, thinks they are "right!" and you are "wrong!"

    I've learnt it is best to not respond since responding just encourages them.

  2. Come on Emily, not all of your arguments go like that. I've been to Wordplayer. Some of your arguments go like this:

    Emily: Dramatic irony.
    Poster: @(*#(%#(*$@(%(*$)$^

  3. Personally, just because you hate yellow I wouldn't hate you (even if yellow is one of my favorite colors, as is blue)--to each their own, right? I'd be more apt to ask, "Which shade of blue is your favorite?"

    Then I'd deride you over that choice.

  4. (in a sing-song voice)
    I know what you're getting for Christmas....

    well, not really...but it's gonna be very yellow.

  5. So you must have some deep seated need to kick the crap out of Ronald McDonald (Clown + Yellow suit).)


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