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You have a choice here…

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Ever observed how a single negative action can trigger a chain of negative reactions that, if not promptly checked, may end up spoiling your day?Such was my experience on the day that I was coming back from the village.

I got to the bus station and paid my fare (which was outrageous to me but quite understandable because of the season). However, I lost all composure when my luggage was weighed and I was given another outrageous bill on that. I decided “raising hell” would cow the officials involved and, having gauged the conspiratorial expression on the faces of my fellow travelers, I decided to lead the battle. Only to realise that not only was I alone in the battlefront, I was also in that battle alone.I discovered that while I was busy shouting, others had gone behind to negotiate and those whose luggage were several times heavier than mine ended up paying less.

I really could have done same if I had kept calm, but because I was already moody from home (leaving my parents at the end of my stay makes me feel that way), I chose to live out my frustrations.

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Now the officials of that particular terminal made sure I paid the sum charged because, even when I had calmed down (mind you, not a single soul begged me to calm down o!), they did not budge.

One would ask what was achieved by all that shouting and illusion of “raising hell” with such calibre of people? This kind of affected my mood that even when we got to where we needed to do some “trans-loading,” another mild drama ensued. This time around, it had to do with a seat number that was on my ticket.

Usually, a seat number gets allocated to you when you purchase your ticket and if you did an early purchase, say a few days before your intended date of departure, you get to choose where you want to sit. You can then imagine my anger (after going through all the stress!) when I found a guy on my supposed seat, unknown to me that the seating arrangement didn’t hold anymore.

I insisted he got up from the seat and even showed him the number on my ticket. The guy did not even dignify me with a dialogue; he only made it clear that not a single soul was going to make him get up from that seat. Of course, the ranting (or was it raising hell?) began all over again!

Meanwhile, all the while I was ranting at the guy, others were busy settling into available seats, such that before I realised what was happening- there was only one uncomfortable seat left.

Even the elderly man that was raising hell with me about the new seating arrangement knew where to draw the lines because he quickly settled into the next comfortable seat, which I am so sure he was eyeing, even as we were raising hell.I remained in a foul mood for a longer part of the journey and I am sure the other passengers would have concluded that my middle name is “trouble.’’

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That night, while reflecting on the events of the day, I was able to tell myself a few home truths (much as I hated admitting it), which were:
I could have chosen to go about the luggage issue calmly and that would have had a more positive outcome than the shouting that ended up getting me more worked up and no result.

This also would have helped put me in a saner state of mind to handle the guy (during the second drama), and when I sensed the guy wasn’t going to respect modesty, I should have used the time I spent “raising hell” to look for another comfortable seat.

I mean that could not have been the only comfortable seat in that coach and since the officials could not get him to stand up from my seat, it’s unlikely they can make me stand from the seat I would settle for… otherwise we would all go back to the “status quo.”

If I had been wise enough to make the above choices, I would have probably been saved the stress of getting worked up, raising my voice and subsequently having my mood soiled. A lot of things will happen in life to get one worked up, but one should always take a deep breath before deciding whether or not it’s all worth the stress.

Always remind yourself that you have a choice to either handle things calmly and get a positive outcome or raise hell-which could be double edged. And if you would have your way, eventually…pray, at what cost will that be? Will it be worth the stress at the end of the day?

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In this article:
Chukwuneta Oby
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