Throwing a Tizzy

Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.”
– Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 (NLT)

In the South we have a good term for a temper tantrum. We call it a “tizzy”. It can also be called a “hissy fit”.

Yesterday, I wanted to throw one. If you’ve ever seen the movie Baby Boom there is a scene in it where Diane Keaton has for the umpteenth time learned that her well has gone dry on her old but recently purchased charming farmstead and there is no more water. A new well will have to be dug. It’s the middle of winter with snow everywhere and this NYC professional gal turned homemaker just has had the last straw. She screams, clenches her fists by her side and proceeds to pass out backwards in the snow. City life is easier. Farm living is not the life for her, at this point in the movie.

This scene resonates with me because sometimes it just feels good to throw a fit. It feels good in that moment and then the realization of what you have done sets in and you see, hopefully, that what has just occurred is nothing more than selfish anger come forth from a fool. It’s humiliating. We are not to behave this way.

Such was the case for me as the new washer and dryer was unloaded. We purchased the floor model of the dryer. The feet were missing. Not a problem, because they had extra feet in the truck. My perfectionistic side notices that the feet of the dryer are not the same as those of the washer. I quickly tell myself that it is no big deal.

I then proceed to ask for the operating manual. I like those things. I read them and then I neatly file them in a notebook where other appliance manuals are kept. I never know when I may need to refer to one.

I have an aunt whose mantra has always been, “When all else fails, read the instructions.” I do not want to fail in operating this dryer with push pads and secret combinations that I could break (so I think). That is the reason for my angst over not having a manual. I must have the manual and preferably, the one that came with the machine to begin with when it was unpacked and situated on the showroom floor for all to see. I can read the manual and prevent possible failure in drying my loads and loads of laundry. I know, it’s a sickness…

The delivery man quickly responds that the manual was not available but a dryer is a dryer is a dryer, “Hon,” which is short for, “Honey”. Hmmmmm. Then he proceeds to quickly show me how to push the touchpad buttons on my dryer. Keep in mind it is still sitting in the garage at this point and has no electricity connecting it. I am somewhat perturbed by his relaxed yet sarcastic attitude towards no user’s manual. How can this be?

I cannot concentrate.

I come into the house and secretly grab my cell phone and go to the back of the house to call the store and ask them if they have my manual we had bought but not received. No. But, they can give me a 1-800 number for the parts department. Click. I call them and…NO, they do not have those so I can call the manufacturer directly and if I like they’ll connect me right then. I would like that. Once connected and waiting for a few (by this time I have plugged in my Blue Tooth device and am pacing) I am informed that they do not have them for free, but I may purchase one or download it from their website.

Purchase one? I tell the kind woman that I have purchased one but did not receive it. Well, the only solution to that is to buy it or download it for free. I choose the latter, although in my mind I am buying it again. Do you get my point? I will have to use my paper and my ink and my printer…

I am more peaved.

In the meantime, the delivery guys leave and I begin advertising the FREE old dryer on Facebook as well as making arrangements for a local mission group to pick up the dryer next week if nobody has snagged it by then.

By this time I am obsessed over the manual issue.

I proceed to start a load of clothes in the new washer which, by the way, operates very quietly. I had to go in a couple of times to make sure it was really working and I am a bit worried that a quiet washer cannot possibly get my clothes as clean as a noisy one. It’s like a noisy washer equals a thorough one.

I go to the website and download the manual (48 pages) and click “print” on my old printer. Nothing happens. I click again. Nothing. It takes forever to finally get it to print (2 hours). I don’t know what the matter is with this device, but I am fuming on the inside as my patience level begins to recede and anger begins to overflow with impatience. I post things on Facebook about selling tickets for people to come over and watch me beat up my printer. Then I realize that my printer would not be a reliable choice from which to print tickets. Once the printer begins, I look down at the printed pages only to realize that I am printing the French and the Spanish instructions. If I had been paying attention, I could have noted the appropriate English directions to print. But, my impatience has gotten the better of me and I am throwing a fit in my head as I contemplate beating up the printer with a baseball bat out in the front yard.

I am angry.

Granted the verse at the top is pertaining to our temperaments during adversity. Mind you, this escapade with the missing manual is not true adversity like persecution or poverty or poor health. It is frustrating and inconvenient.

The verse is clear and does pertain to my anger management issue in the moment. I was acting the fool in my head and in my heart. My actions did not follow through, but boy, my thoughts were amuck all because my impatience got the better of me.

The delivery guys were none the wiser that I was not pleased to be without a manual as they “pushed my buttons” during the rather sarcastic demo in my garage. I did not fuss at the salesman who discounted the floor model (it had a knick in the side), but who also did not secure the manual and put it in a safe place to go with it for “one day”. I did not fuss at the parts chick. I did not “hmph” at the gal’s suggestion I print off a copy. Blessedly, the printer survived my mental tirade and harsh Facebook threats.

I thought about posting the fruit of the Spirit verse from Galatians 5 but chose this obscure one instead. It cut right to the heart of the issue for me with that word, “fool.”

Another aunt in Seattle made a comment on this hissy fit issue and then I will wrap up way more than you cared to know about my idiosyncracies regarding manuals. She said, “One of my favorite Virginia matriarchs told me one day, ‘Honey, I’ve been one step in front of a fit all day long.’ As long as you stay in front, you’ll be fine.”

Well I stayed in front of it but it just about ran me over and beat me up. At the end of the day, all was well. The printer survived and I ended up with the manual in 3 languages.

Have I read it yet? No. All that impatience and anger…for nothing. What a fool.

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