Jamie Goodwin plans a personality overhaul for 2013
The raging Hulk, glowing green with anger, maniacally toots the horn of the little car in which he’s squeezed as he hurtles down the highway. The comic book monster’s knuckles turn white as he is forced to swerve the tiny vehicle to avoid a 4x4 that pulls across multiple lanes to exit at the last moment. The Hulk’s language turns industrial as he almost misses his own exit thanks to the convoy of buses hugging the second lane like a newborn baby gripping its mother.
The Hulk is me. The little car is the modest rental vehicle in which I navigate the city’s challenging highways and byways. Granted, a journey on Bahrain’s main arterial road can make the veins in the neck of the calmest individual throb like a thumb that’s been hit with a hammer, but if I continue to toot my horn every time a car pulls out in front of me, the horn might wear out completely.
No, I’m not the most tolerant person in the world and, as I approach the middle of my fourth decade, that needs to change. I’m no longer talking about driving, either. Colleagues are sick of me muttering and groaning at my desk; my quite cantankerous flatmate recently referred to me as ‘a grumpy guy’; and I’m convinced some of my basketball teammates think I suffer from Tourette’s.
We expect to have a few decades of calm between our angry teen phase and our grumpy old-man years, but so far the mellowing that my mum promised would take place after my formative years has yet to set in. Instead, the confused and frustrated pre-adult has given way to the stubborn know-it-all of the present day. In short, I have prematurely become my father.
So rather than vowing to eat better, travel more or spend less in 2013, my new year’s resolution (which one month in I’m trying to stick to) will be to be a calmer, more tolerant version of myself. I do solemnly swear that this year the world will see a new me. Friends shall marvel at my patience, colleagues will wonder at my kindness and my basketball teammates will be in awe of my newly found self-control.
Next time the mobile phone across the office signals an incoming call with the most irritating sound known to man, I will simply shake my head and laugh. When a referee misses yet another blatant foul, I will give him a pat on the back and say ‘better luck next time’. And when a bad driver slams on his brakes in front of me and forces me to swerve, I will just give him a polite wave. Though on second thoughts, it might just be easier to replace the car horn.