Last Stop For the Grumpy Train

I’m having a bad, bad day
It’s about time that I get my way
Steam rolling whatever I see
Huh. Despicable me…

     [“Despicable Me” Lyrics, 

Pharrell Williams]


The other day I listened to a woman humbly apologizing for her grumpiness — grumpiness that had led her to scolding her husband for a fairly minor offense. She spoke about how kind her husband was and how much help he has been to her, particularly since she has become ill.
Immediately afterward, another woman made the comment that it was okay to be grumpy, and that there was no need to apologize. She was, in fact, a frequent passenger on “The Grumpy Train.” I watched this second woman with her child a short while later; she was clearly unhappy with whatever he had done, and it showed in her angry face, her curt words, the way she literally dragged him out of the room.
All aboard the Grumpy Train…
It was one of the clearest, most striking visual lessons I’ve ever had about attitude. Watching that entire exchange, I felt abruptly guilty for all the times I have let my bad days injure other people — particularly my children, who were young and innocent and unsuspecting victims. 
Grumpy has quite the list of synonyms: bad-tempered, crabby, ill-tempered, short-tempered, crotchety, tetchy, testy, waspish, prickly, touchy, irritable, irascible, crusty, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, bearish, surly, ill-natured, churlish, ill-humored, peevish, pettish, cross, fractious, disagreeable, snappish, grouchy, snappy, cranky, ornery. (Thank you Thesaurus.)

What is “okay” about any of that? 
I will concede that it’s “okay” and understandable to feel grumpy. Adding your vinegar to the soup, however, is not going to make a tasty, nutritious repast. It will probably make things worse!

The only disability in life is a bad attitude. (Scott Hamilton)

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

And the clincher:

When you choose to be pleasant and positive in the way you treat others, you have also chosen, in most cases, how you are going to be treated others. (Zig Ziglar) 

I wonder about how that little boy will grow up, and I wonder about how his mother will view his  attitude. I went through a period in my life where I’m pretty sure I was grumpy all the time. Amazingly, my kids have turned out all right and my husband still loves me, so maybe it wasn’t “all the time.” Recalling how I felt during that time (in addition to being grumpy), I can’t imagine volunteering to hop onto that train, much less advertising the ride. “Come on over! Feel terrible! Make yourself sick! Hurt your friends and family! It’s GREAT!”

I’m still grumpy sometimes, but I find myself a lot less tolerant (?) about it. I don’t like that feeling, so I try to turn my thoughts elsewhere. Singing happy songs and drawing smiley faces doesn’t really do it for me; I’m just not that kind of gal. I find it much easier and more productive to simply busy myself with other things. And if that doesn’t work, why I’ll just be quiet. “Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.”

Do you think it’s okay to have a season pass on the Grumpy Train? Do you have curmudgeonly tendencies? How do you move past them?

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