I am not against the Holidays, but I am fed up with the way people act this time of the year. For being the season of peace and love to all, many become over-aggressive assholes, so de-escalation has to be present in your first-response strategy.

Some days ago, I went to pick somebody up from a hospital in Nashville. Most of these places have now a valet service and if you have any experience with them, you know they tend to be very forceful about getting business and very protective of what they deem “their lanes” which may or may not include those for dropping out and picking up patients. It seems that I violated such a DMZ when I went to get somebody from the lobby of the hospital, and I was confronted by the head asshole valet who was taking pics of my license plate. In a very confrontational tone of voice, he went off to explain why I had committed a mortal parkin sin. His attitude was as if he wanted me to reply in kind so some of fight ensued. But when I went “I am so sorry, I apologize and I promise I will not make this mistake again” while sounding genuinely contrite (I wasn’t) threw him off track. You could see his brain skipping gears behind his eyes and he just froze for a couple of seconds, unable to respond.

We got in the car, drove away, and I thought of two things: One was that de-escalation worked and a silly situation was avoided. But the other one is that those two seconds the asshole froze could have been enough to initiate defensive measures if the situation warranted it. Doing or saying the unexpected throws people off and that is something we need to keep in mind.

This is not the best of examples, but it gives you the idea.

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

16 thoughts on “It is that time of the year where you need to add extra patience to your tank.”
  1. to me the biggest problem with “the holidays”🤢🤮, it starts now before Thanksgiving! So by the time Christmas actually gets here you are SO BLOODY sick and tired of the hysteria and hype that you just wish it was over! gd “christmas songs” on the store speakers….. aaaaahhhhhhh!!

    1. My son works as a stocker at Wallyworld and told me they already have Valentines stuff there w/ instructions to start putting it out the day after Xmas.

      1. Some of that is to make sure the seasonal goods are in all the stores before the season starts. Likely they’ll put a small amount out early, then put the bulk out later. Consider it a safeguard against shipping issues and a hook for compulsive early shoppers.
        I helped write software to support just that process for a major retailer, and I suspect they all do something similar.

        1. I read “hook for compulsive early shoppers” and what I think is, “bait for the people who will buy seasonal stuff months in advance, lose/use/forget it between now and then, and come back to buy it again closer to the actual day.”
          We all know people like that. 😉

    2. Non-stop “Be happy and buy gifts”, Hundreds of emails daily begging for me to spend because it’s the season for giving gifts. Polluting the very reason for the season. Curby, there were stores down here that had Christmas stuff out within a week after Halloween.

      1. You’re not kidding. Between 12:01AM Thanksgiving and 12:00AM Sunday, I deleted over 1,000 promotional emails. I’m now unsubscribed from most of those lists because I’m just exhausted from the constant bombardment of “Buy! Consume! Give us your money for junk products!” Merrell was the most egregious one, they sent 24 emails over that time period. On Thanksgiving day, they emailed me every 4 hours on the dot.

      2. thats why I said before Thanksgiving… I work as a service tech for the big “orange” store, I get immersed in it… ah well, 2 more days ….

    3. Reversing the “Action beats Reaction” table on a threat, by doing or saying something completely strange, out of context, or out of the expected character the situation usually dictates, could save your life. It definitely increases your odds should you not get the upper hand at the beginning of a bad situation.

      1. It used to be called, “getting inside the OODA loop”.
        OODA == Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The theory goes, our brain is constantly Observing the world around us, Orienting those inputs by comparing them to known prior experiences, Deciding what to do about them, and Acting on those decisions.
        When you suddenly introduce something unexpected or out-of-context, the brain hangs up on the Orient step, and so Decide and Act steps are delayed as well. If it’s unexpected or shocking enough, the person will temporarily stop thinking entirely and go into their instinctive fight/flight/freeze response. (You saw in the video how many “tough guys” just ran away the second his pants came off, right?)
        But that last bit is also where the prankster got in trouble. He encountered someone who went into a fight/flight/freeze response heavily weighted toward “fight” and zero s#!ts to give about throwing punches.

        1. Back in the day, when I first learned CQC tactics, I remember learning that a person who looked you in the eyes could be derailed just enough to inherit the upper hand of at least three sequences, but the person who did not look you in the eyes, but focused on your midsection area, necessitated a high acceleration engagement to the trailing section of their body, which very few people train to defend against. Reducing the odds while leading the energy effort to rear was the key, providing you can take damage and use it as fuel.
          Rory Miller illustrates this art. You familiar with him?

          1. I’m familiar with the phenomenon regarding eye-gazers, but I’m not familiar with Rory Miller.
            Looks like I have some research to do this weekend! 🙂

      2. My wifes’ aunt said she got kidnapped after a date and the guy indicated that she was going to be raped.

        She said when the guy started attacking her, she started speaking in ‘tongues’ an the guy froze, and then started asking her to please shut up and got increasingly agitated as she continued. He immediately turned the car around and drove rapidly back to town, and basically threw her out of the car when they got back..

        1. Good story, which reminds me of one I’ve read about a few times over the years of women telling their would-be rapist they have HIV, which resulted in a non-rape ending without violence.

    4. Yep, and it keeps getting earlier and earlier.
      I estimate, at the current rate of advancement, in a decade or so, we’ll have precessed around the calendar so Christmas stuff is coming out at Christmas.
      Of course, that will be stuff for Christmas 2037 being put out in December 2036, but, hey, at least it’s the right season…

  2. This time of year, especially, people get stressed for what seem like, to them, good reasons. And they get less patient and more aggressive.
    One tip – when forced to go to a mall or other big-box store, start the parking space hunt far from the door and take “first available.” I find it’s faster overall than trolling endlessly for a “close” spot. (Also has the benefit of making it easier to notice someone hanging out by the car.)

  3. Good reminder
    Added reminder. The aggressor in this situation was not expecting a polite apology, it threw him off.
    It rarely works out to plan. Practice more than one response. Your opponent will not always react like you expect, so be prepared for anything. That extra second you gain could make all the difference.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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