Today was a tough day. I got to work with the intention of getting a powerpoint slideshow done for the Youth End-of-Year Banquet this Sunday night. This would involve scanning a bunch of photos (I had some stuff digital, but not everything). Well, in the last 6 weeks we've gotten all this new computer equipment. So, scanning should have been loads easier than what we had had. Used to I'd have to scan onto Susan's computer and burn a disc and then transfer to the computer I wanted to work on. Today we couldn't get the new fancy piece of equipment to scan properly. When we finally got that working (or figured out how to do it, after numerous phone calls to the techies who gave us a separate set of directions than the manuals or the directions they'd left before), we then discoverd that we couldn't retrieve them on my computer (all the stuff had not been installed) and that though the stuff was installed on Susan's, we couldn't retrieve them. The techies had to come out twice (three people total) before we got the problem figured out, around 3 p.m., when I had hoped to have this part of my work day done by 10.
In the process of the problems with the new equipment, I tracked down the old scanner, the chords weren't with it. Found some that would work after 30 minutes of looking in 3 or 4 places and numerous boxes of equipment that hasn't been moved back to the offices yet. Then realized I couldn't use it on my computer because the box of all our old software (with the scanner's driver) was missing. Then I took it to Ray's computer, which used to be Susan's, but somehow the program wasn't working on their, something happened to it during the moving around of the computers.
After growing increasingly grumbly and belligerent, I at one point threw some pictures across the room (like a four year old) and went outside to sit and cool down.
Okay, I'm not proud of this, quite ashamed in fact. And it troubles me in a lot of ways. For most of my adult life I've been a very laid-back person. I've been pretty stoic about everything but silly stuff (like tv shows, and then I'm non-stoic for the entertainment value). Even Marty said once that I was stoic when it came to the stuff that mattered, and I believe him. But, for some reason, as I'm getting older and more mature in some ways, I'm going backward in this matter. When I was young I had a violent temper. People used to laugh at me when I told them that, because they couldn't imagine it. I thought I had habituated myself out of the temper (the last bad outburst was on family vacation in 1992, sorry Kelli). Is my temper coming back? In recent months I have become increasingly prone to anger, frustration, stress, and sometimes even outburst. What's going on?
I think some of it is the accumulation of lots of stress in recent months. But for some reason I can't handle it this time like I usually have in the past. For example, each time I've bought a house, the situation with the processes involved had always turned bad at some point, but I've pretty much always kept my calm (to my own detriment in the buying of my first house in '98). And these situations always involved lots of really big issues, including potential financial ruin. So, I handled those okay.
And why this concerns me the most . . . oh wait, I just thought of another reason, I'll get to it in a moment. The first reason is that this is not the person I want to be. I used to tell my ethics classes, when studying virtue ethics, that you have to pick the kind of person you want to be and practice becoming that person, habituating yourself over time. I've always wanted to be, as an older man, the calm, cool, collected, guy who people listen to when he speaks, because he doesn't speak all the time. You know that guy. Ray Vickrey, for instance, is something like that; I'd love to be more like Ray. Or like the Van der Luydens in The Age of Innocence, or the image of the virtuous man in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. But, alas, I'm beginning to wonder if my temperment will never allow me to become that.
The concern that popped into my head a bit ago is this -- my Dad had quite a temper. It's where I got mine. And this is definitely one way in which I do not aspire to be like my father. I guess in some ways we can't help becoming like our parents. But I hope I can avoid this one.
So, there's the introspection.