This is what hell is like, I thought, as I looked towards the thrashing angry ocean. The water rose in frustration and slammed itself against the beach, grinding rocks into glass colored pebbles with its agitation. It was a thing of all motion and no progress, like anger.
Can you see anger in a place, a non-living thing? Or, do human emotions only make sense to humans? On the early morning streets of Italy, as I walked to school past St. Peter’s Square, I saw two men cursing at each other in Italian. Their arms gyrated like mimes and their faces were red. One had parked the other in.
Another time I saw homeless people wrapped in rags and dirt and drunk on cheap beer throwing glass bottles at each other. Most of the bottles just smashed into a thousand pieces on a nearby chain link fence. But they were angry and out for blood nevertheless. Maybe one had stolen the others burn barrel.
You see a lot of anger when traveling, both in others and yourself. Navigating new languages and cultures is overwhelming, and sometimes you just can’t contain it anymore. Most of this anger centers around the stupidity of the way things are done. When in reality things aren’t stupid, just out of your comfort zone.
Once a man got angry at me. We were docked at a Moroccan port and I had forgotten to get my passport stamped. They wouldn’t let me off the ship, and I waited until the passport man drove back from home and placed a bit of ink in my travelogue. He was furious and used the opportunity of having a captive audience to rant about the disrespect of Americans. In reality, I was not trying to be disrespectful. I was merely ignorant.
A good amount of anger when traveling is due to this, the discord between people. One thinks one thing, and another something else. Our stories are different, but both make sense. Anger, in this instance, becomes a game of fools.
But, the angriest thing I have ever seen had to be that ocean thrashing against it’s constraints. It shuttered and rocked like water in a bath tub trying to contain a two year old. There was noise too, a resounding slap that was wet and low, as it hit the shoreline.
Is it odd that the angriest thing I’ve experienced has to do with nature? Why should it? Humans are always misunderstanding each other, failing to bridge the gap between culture, words and actions. Anger arises from our faults, not our successes. This is not impressive but unfortunate.
When we grow comfortable sitting at home and binge watching t.v. on a weekend, or plopping down in a chair on the porch and watching the cars go by we feel at home. When someone breaks our routine, our comfort we resort to anger. It is such a futile emotion, and a reminder that we need to get outside of our pretty little doll houses and find compassion in the world.
But, nature’s anger is beautiful, powerful. It demands respect, and is boundless energy. Anger of this nature awes us in to submission. We stand, fixated on shore, watching the water swirl unto itself, consuming itself until the time it lays calm and flat, tired and bored. But in us, boredom breeds anger.