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There are times when I am great at keeping perspective, and there are other times when I lose all sense of what matters and what is important in a brain fog or in the tunnel vision of anger.

All last week, I was dealing with the car dealership where we bought our new car (Honda Civic 2012, 30,000 miles). For my husband and me, this car is a beauty. We are used to buying cars that are five to six years old and keeping them for ten to twelve years. Well, we bought this car that is new for us, under warranty. It is a certified pre-owned vehicle. Last week my husband was driving it and when he hit the brakes he heard metal on metal. He drove it to the nearest dealership (not the one we bought it at).

The dealership where we bought it wanted to see the problem, so they had it towed to their dealership which is far from our house. Several days without a car and many phone calls later, we have an all new brake system (I would name the parts here, but I am not very knowledgeable about cars or their working parts). Let’s just say that metal on metal sound was real and ruined several pieces.

Yesterday morning, we had a friend drive us out of the city to a neighboring town to pick up our car. The man who did the service thanked us for being so reasonable and not going “sideways” on him (as he called it).

We felt good. We handled it with reason, kindness and patience.

Later in the day, I received two packages, both from online shops.  I was expecting these retro corduroy pants with a patchwork pattern on them from one shop. I received three cheap t-shirts (maybe worth a buck each at a thrift store). I had used a gift certificate I received from my mom to buy the pants and they cost $76 with shipping. I received $3 worth of merchandise that I didn’t order and I didn’t want.  I felt ripped off. I felt pissed off. I sent the seller three letters in rapid succession. I asked her what the junk was. I wasn’t very nice.

The second package I received was a pair of black pants that were supposed to be a designer pair of leggings. The black pants were total junk and full of white cat or dog hair. I again sent off three e-mails in rapid succession.

I don’t know why the major issue of our car that went on for days, did not raise my blood pressure or irritation level but two purchases of clothes on the Internet gone horribly wrong, sent me to a place of snarky, sarcastic, and mean responses.

I am not proud that I was unable to deal with all three interactions with a level head. I feel disappointed in myself for that.  After all, is getting some ugly, dirty clothing really a big deal in the overall scheme of things? No. It isn’t.  It is quite possibly hysterical. I feel a grin coming on as I type this…trash by mail – trash that came by mail that I actually paid good money for.  It is rather humorous.

I write this simply as a reminder that we all have a breaking point for courtesy. We all have a breaking point for kindness. I hit mine today, because it had been building all week.

When I hear back from the two places that messed up my orders (or ripped me off – not sure the true situation yet), I will have taken a breath and regained my calm.

If you run into a grumpy person today, or if someone snaps at you, try to think of me instead of taking it personally.

I don’t wish anyone harm, and I don’t wish to hurt any feelings. Bad days build up for us like blocks of stress stacked one on top of the other. It is possible someone may just be at that place when the blocks are falling – duck, cover your head, and don’t let that person or incident become a building block of stress for you.