Am I angry at the Ball?

If a ball doesn’t move the way they expect, physicists would be disappointed with their theory of gravitation, not with the ball. When people don’t behave the way we expect, we should be disappointed with our theories about people, not people.

This is one piece of wisdom I could have done without. However, I can’t dismiss it and act like I didn’t read it and so it leaves me wondering if my disappointment in people is actually just that, anger at the ball?

Are my expectations too high -and perhaps also unfair?

I have this theory about how I want people to be and, to be honest, it’s not a very realistic one. I want people to be heroic, brave, honest, kind, fair, intelligent, accepting, warm, generous, and comforting…

…yet the ball lands where it wants to.

My theory of people clashes with reality -always has, and perhaps always will. Where does my arrogance -and the ignorance- to expect others to be extraordinary, come from?

My vision of a nonviolent society and a peaceful world, where people would live together in harmony, where we would acceptance each other regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation -and all the other small stuff we like to make big- started when I was just a teenage girl in a classroom full of other girls all close to my age.

We were the second generation after Word War II, in a boarding school for privileged girls in Western Europe. We heard about the wars, the pain and the cruelty past generations had inflicted on each other and we just knew we, and all the generations after us, would be different.

Interestingly enough, I was never only disgusted when leaders brought so much harm to people, but also sickened by the crowd who didn’t react. In Latin class, when I learned how the mob reacted two thousand years ago, when they watched gladiators fight for their lives or freedom, I wasn’t just bothered by the brutality the rulers showed, but also deeply disappointed with the audience. Why were they even there? How could they feel any excitement -or entertainment- when others fought for their lives?

It wasn’t just Hitler and his helpers who outraged me but also the surrounding soldiers who fought in his army -not the foot soldiers who were sent to the front lines- but the ones who stayed behind and knew about his insanity, but didn’t stop him. The citizens saw and heard the trains but did nothing.

I wish for people to be heroic, brave, honest, kind, fair, intelligent, warm, generous, and comforting.

So what about me? Do I fulfill other people’s theories or am I myself the ball that doesn’t move as expected?

To be honest, I fear I am the ball.

Just yesterday I lost my temper -again- and barked at someone far away. A call center employee in another country who certainly tried his best to accommodate my needs, and who was trying to do his best, got rewarded with a heavy dose of sarcasm, given by me so freely, to a total stranger who was only trying to do his job.

How quickly I judge the ‘other side’ just because they don’t think or behave how I want them to.

I am angry at the ball…all the time!

Why do I have such high expectations? It’s not like I don’t know better. Lower your expectations and they might surprise you?

Here in America, some are fired up by the slogan to make America great again, which I think is not possible because let’s be honest, how can a country be great when half of the citizens are not great -of course, to be judged by the other side, who thinks of them of being great or right (or left.)

If both opposite sides think they are right, who is wrong and who determines it? Are they all right? All wrong? All great? All balls?

Again, I am angry with the balls, not with gravity!

It leaves me wondering, who do I disappoint -in theory, of course. 🙂

21 thoughts on “Am I angry at the Ball?

  1. Another thought-provoking post. Having worked with people until I retired – and even now deal with the fall-out from my children’s work experiences – I realise that our high expectations are not the problem, but that we need to learn more tolerance. The latter is not easy at all. Right now we live in a situation where the government power facility leaves us sans electricity for up to nine hours a day and every second day we have no water in our taps. Roads are so potholed that one cannot keep to the rules of the road as drivers swerve from one side to the next to save their tyres and suspensions. One can rail against such ineptitude from those in power – or make the best of the good things we do have. Of course we must try to make things better: many private citizens set about picking up litter and fixing potholes; collecting water for those who have run out; feeding and clothing those in need …

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  2. You speak in a way that really enhances my personal observations, Bridget, but I have never said it this well! I am in total agreement with you, as it turns out, but I don’t think I have been living this! I am not just disappointed in people (the 50% you refer to, probably) but I’m annoyed, irritated, and often infuriated. I think my “scope” may be flawed. You’ve given me a lot to think about, as you so often do, my friend. I think my expectations are sometimes a real deterrent to listening and responding with kindness and at least an openness to having my opinion of someone enlarged or even changed.

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    • My scope is flawed as well. If I wouldn’t give adult classes and live in a Republican state (not my choice) I would have never been forced to adjust my outlook glasses a bit.
      I am annoyed, irritated, frustrated and infuriated as well and often think I will swallow my tongue, while biting it so hard, but the truth is, I am often surprised how much I have in common with ‘the other side’ when I start listening (and it’s not easy).


  3. I am trying not to be angry all the time. For some reason, the pandemic made that easier for me because I don’t go out much any more (except for the recent conference in DC) and I don’t have to deal with people a lot. And those that ARE working at, say, the grocery store, I know are overworked and the store is short staffed so I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy though.


    • I was not even angry anymore, more discouraged, disgusted and very frustrated. Like you, I found myself pulling away from people, and enjoyed being alone (with my husband) during the pandemic. But there came a time when I realized I am hiding from everything because I had been tired to face reality and in my line of work, I have to meet people. Not dealing with people helps most defenitly. 🙂

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  4. You have certainly opened up a can of worms with this post It is good that you pose such questions. I have been thinking about these matters, of late, wondering how much of the past can be labelled or judged a crime when at the time these actions were socially acceptable. And what does that say about humanity? When viewed with the lens of modern times these people of history are mad men and criminals, people without conscience and lacking morals. Yet if we lived in those times, would we be just like them because we would lack the open-minded knowledge we know have?
    As you alluded, this generation is different and thinks accordingly because their experience is different.
    If I was born in another era, I might still be the person that speaks her mind and rails against injustice. Perhaps then, I would always have been a voice that speaks up, but not one that was heard – by the rest of the population.


    • Call me ‘worm-can-opener’ I seem to like it. :-).
      Your history question is a very interesting one. When do past crimes become a crime when they were legal during the time they occurred?
      When countries hide the truth, I suppose that’s a good indication they are against human rights and commit crimes and are fully aware of it.
      As for speaking up, I suppose the fast time we live in makes it hard to focus on just ‘one’ thing.


  5. I relate so much to this Bridget that it scares me in a way! Well done you, for questioning yourself, and others. That is exactly what we must all do in order to try to make things better. It is never time to sit back and accept all that occurs around you. It is never time to be complacent. It is never time to say “It doesn’t matter what I do, or say, because I cannot make a difference.”

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