At times, when you least expect them, and are unguarded, contrary emotions overwhelm you. This has the impact of a solid punch driven into your stomach! Let me give you an example: consider that you are waiting for a bus to go to work. The expected bus at half past nine does not turn up. A pile of work awaits you at the office, and your boss, although accommodating at most times, is knowingly passing through a bad personal patch in his life, so you don't want to be on his wrong side. If you wait for the next bus, which is due after 45 minutes, you will surely not arrive in the office at ten, which is, give or take ten minutes, your reporting time.
If you decide to cab it, you are going to burn a big hole in your pocket, as the office-home fare is near about one big note of Rs. 100/= (U.S. $1 = approx. Rs. 42/= as of 20th May 2008). You expect to feel worried, a little panicky and perhaps a bit depressed at missing the bus, but suddenly, a quite different kettle of fish grabs you by the collar: you feel exhilarated! Relieved! Lucky!
Now, why should THAT happen? I don't know, but here is my take on this: base emotions sometimes take over your ego and superego and make your cunning, impish and devilish side show through! Thus, you could be happy because you got that genuine excuse to throw at the boss and see his reaction when he realises that he cannot punish you or chide you; you feel relieved because, in any case, the huge bundle of files awaiting your attention could NEVER have been done by the same evening. You feel lucky because here is a reason to actually bunk going to the office at all!
Now, a sane, rational person would be appalled to come face to face with these, quite contrary opinions, right? Not so with me, as I often come up with totally unexpected emotions in life. At times, retrospectively, I despise myself for it. At times, though,I continue to feel unrepentant about those ill-feelings and go ahead with life without missing a heartbeat.
Dear reader, have you ever felt such contrary emotions? Do comment.
Are you telling me you can get a cab from home to the office for about $2 US? That's less than it costs me in GAS here! I'll take it. Oh, wait - do cabs there actually have seat belts? Do the drivers drive like they do in Tehran, Cairo, Istanbul, Paris, or New York? Maybe I want to live a while longer...
As for your question, there's always Schadenfreude... no, no - I've never felt joy in someone else's misfortune, of course (that would be bad Karma, now, wouldn't it?) but that there's a name for it means it must not be uncommon. ;)
And then there's that adrenaline-fueled surge of energy and feelings of competence that arise during a crisis - I get those. I could almost welcome a crisis, some days - if only because it puts things into perspective ("Hey, what's today's minor-irritation-du-jour at the office, compared to a hurricane that's wiped out half of New Orleans?") and lets me DO something to shake myself out of my own petty rut. But on the whole, I could be quite happy without the surge; adrenaline surges are inevitably followed by a corresponding crash.
And that pile of work is still waiting for you at the office tomorrow, but now it has grown teeth.
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