Eva Bradley: Rage is all the rage so it seems

We're an angry bunch. The lot of us. When did that happen? When, as a nation (or perhaps even a civilisation) did we stop just shrugging our collective shoulders and ignoring minor irritations and instead start reacting like someone had killed our first born?

It's partly because it was awfully hard to cut someone off at speed in a horse and cart, but road rage never existed way-back-when, and once upon a time we were a patient people, not in the least put-out to wait quietly in line at the bank and reflect on life for a moment.

Things moved slower and our boiling point was lower.

A few days ago, I burst a bubble. And just about lost an eye for my troubles.

Like so many others lost in the boozy haze of the holiday season, I was out on the town in search of a hangover to go with the next day's mid-week sleep-in and found myself frequenting the sort of establishment I perhaps might have done well to avoid had I been a little more sensible, sober or both.

But in I charged like the light brigade and was instantly assailed by the greasy, sweaty mass of humanity, the sort of people you might avoid in daylight and definitely would want to steer well clear of after lights out.

Unfortunately given the volume of people packed into the pub, this was impossible. And that's when I burst the bubble.

As I made a corporate decision to get the hell out, I (allegedly) bumped into a girl standing beside me at the bar.

Cue death-of-first-born reaction.

Instead of a measured "mind yer'self, Miss" circa last century, I was shoved from behind and sent reeling.

Curious as to what might have inspired such a passionate connection, I asked the girl what her problem was.

Apparently, I was "in her bubble".

A passing observation on my part that one ought to take one's bubble outside should one wish to stand in it was not well received, if the punch in the face I got directly after making it was anything to go by.

A pacifist at heart (and yes, a bit of a wimp too if I'm honest), I opted to walk away rather than start the sort of scratchy-bitey, hair-pulling, cuss-calling girl-on-girl pub fight that achieves little for the participants beyond a broken nose and criminal conviction.

Blowing her a kiss, I left the establishment with my dignity intact but with a disappointing sense of shame and sadness that I belonged to an age where aggro was the new black.

When did it become easier to throw a punch rather than a complaint?

When did we start making war and not love and take offence when none was intended? When did good manners die?

Realistically for the poor girl bereft over her burst bubble, it was on about the tenth Vodka Cruiser. I guess people said "please", "thank you" and "sorry" back in the 18th century because mostly they weren't catatonically drunk.

But anger (sober or otherwise) does still seem to be the emotion de jour of today.

Which makes me ... well ... angry.

Eva Bradley is an award-winning columnist.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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