I was watching Seinfeld the other night, a show that I never tire of. It's mindless, but at the same time, I find myself applying theories and concepts from my studies and I love that. I've actually used several episodes in class to illustrate various communication and relationship issues. My students like it, I like it. Win-win.
So I was watching an episode the other night where George decides to see a therapist for his woman problems. As he's sitting in the therapist's office, he tries to unzip his parka, but the zipper sticks. After a few seconds of trying, the therapist encourages him to let it go and focus on the issues with his on/off girlfriend. George lets go of the zipper for about three seconds, but it lures him back. He can't focus on the conversation because the zipper is broken, and it's driving him crazy. So he's pulling and tugging on the zipper, and the therapist keeps telling him not to focus on it. But the more she says it, the more he becomes obsessed with it. And the more obsessed, the more filled with rage that it won't unzip. Pretty soon, he's completely freaking out in anger over this stupid little zipper.
I was laughing while it happened, but then I realized I was laughing because I could relate to it. It was funny because it was........me. That is absolutely 100% how I would behave in that situation. I become so obsessively focused on the little things, on the things that I can't fix (and that don't ultimately matter all that much), that I lose track of thinking of the really important stuff. I become so angry when things don't go the way they are supposed to that I lose it.
Because I live alone, drive alone, etc., I usually get away with this childish behavior without anyone noticing. But sometimes I lose it in front of friends and family--something inconsequential gets under my skin and I freak out. At the time it seems perfectly well within the range of reasonable responses to the situation, but inevitably I look back later and realize (with shame) that I was a giant ass. People laugh at George Costanza (me, too) for doing exactly what I do. This is not the way I want to live my life, nor how I want people to see me.