That was my reaction when I traveled to another country a year and a half ago.
My finely-tuned anecdotal-like responses, thought up of on the fly and ready to be verbalized…
… could not be stated.
It was as if I were a pilot in a fighter plane with my thumb firmly planted on the red (media-influenced) button that once I pressed down would release the ammo out into the air, but instead I had to bring myself to lift my thumb off the button and make sure my elbow and any other extraneous pilot gear did not accidentally press the button down.
And by accidental I mean both the literal meaning of the word “accidental”, to happen without purpose or not deliberately, as well as the passive-aggressive “accidental”, describing something that one deliberately makes happen (without any witnesses of what happened having been your doing), that could have otherwise happened accidentally regardless.
It’s crazy to think that snide remarks said in American English cannot be translated in another language - the impossibility of exposing a culture to the ability to cause someone else to think, “How appropriate!” or “He/She did not just say that to my face!”, is ridiculous.
Throughout life we’re taught, and rightfully so, that we should be direct, honest, and respectful.
As children, most of us abide by the above. Perhaps, up until we’re seniors in high school.
I clearly remember being part of a group assignment in seventh-grade science class.
This one girl, who I’m still friends with on Facebook ten years later, was annoying the crap out of me.
I don’t know the details of my biological reaction that caused me to do the following: I had yelled, “Shut up!”
All of us were slightly shaken but were well-grounded enough to carry out the instinctive response of turning over our shoulder to see if the teacher had heard me.
He didn’t - Phew -
After that day we respected each other and became good friends - akin to Rory and Paris’s odd friendship on the no longer aired Gilmore Girls.
However, having entered the college-world and the career lifestyle post-graduation, being up-front and direct is frowned upon.
You cannot bubble up “Shut up!” at anyone and everyone, otherwise you’re fired.
You must be passive-aggressive- You’re forced into being so and if you accept this fact, then you can be a master of the art…
….which I believe myself to be, unfortunately.
My eyes will bore into yours and I will squint, but not blink, to emphasize how much I hate you right now and all the other times this once-a-week three hour class meets.
You have understood.
You have understood that I detest you’re non-stop talking without contributing, racking up undeserved participation points like no other.
You have understood that the one professor I have respected in my almost four years in college, I have now lost respect for because she cannot see through your obnoxious chatter and un-classy retaliation in the seminar room that you have turned into a summit in the Middle East.
- - VOLTA - -
The ironic truth is that us adults can still live according to the tenets of being direct, respectful, and honest.
It is understood that we cannot go up to a person and tell them that we hate them, especially in a professional setting.
It is understood that can we can never physically harm anyone, even if its to shove them on the arm - It’s not like violence would be permitted when we were children either.
Being direct doesn’t mean direct physical contact (unless you’re in a battle-field, are in a military force and serving against the opposition, and/or in the context of self-defense.)
And suddenly I believe I have regained respect for that professor who reminded me that passive-aggressiveness is not natural.
The professor, last week, e-mailed the seminar a Microsoft Word document with three questions concerning the current structure of the class. Despite having to remain anonymous, we could directly state our opinions - the whole and honest truth.
In turn, she was direct with us - why would any of us take time out of our day to write up responses to this survey if it was not going to be graded?
Two extra credit points on the next assignment -
Oh yes - And so I wrote out, in my classic diction without trying to conceal my identity to the point of maneuvering my language and writing style, the full truth - One person “dominates” the class discussion and feels the need to morph the classroom into a debate. Said person seems to retaliate…
You get the gist of my
complaints evaluations on the class thus far.
It is true, this world is not a utopia and I am anything but the optimist.
Passive-aggressiveness seems to become habitual at times when it is unnecessary.
As a result, we have to be passive-aggressive - #survivalofthefittestyo, but at the same time, if the opportunity for direct, honest, and respectful communication arises, utilize it.
The world can become a better place, really -