How to Get Bryce into a Bad Mood: A Recipe

Generally speaking, I’m a fairly even sort of a fellow. I don’t lose my temper very often, though it certainly can happen from time to time. One such instance happened on Saturday, as a number of factors came together to get me into one of the worst moods I’ve been in in quite some time. How did it happen?

First off, it almost always happens when I’m under some sort of outside stress. Saturday, a whole slew of factors had lined up to make the situation as trying as possible. Tomas had to go to a cross country meet at 8:15, but the rest of us needed to leave at 8:00 to make it to the Ellsworth area for an all-day retreat. We had to be all packed before we left, since we’d be heading down to Worcester to stay the night. We’d planned things out ahead of time as best we could, but it was all going to be pretty tight, and I knew there’d be a whole lot of driving involved. (2 hours to Ellsworth, maybe 2 hours back home, then 4 hours or so down to Worcester, depending on traffic. And that was just driving time.)

Make sure to add in uncertainty, too. I don’t handle last minute changes well. I’m the sort of person who really likes to know what I’m going to be facing each day. Give me a good agenda, an organized To Do list, and clear expectations, and I can get a whole ton of things accomplished. I think fine on my toes in the heat of the moment, but when I have time to really worry about any uncertainty, I struggle. (I’m the sort of person who stresses out about silly things like “how will I get all this luggage off the plane” while I’m sitting on the plane waiting to get off. Known uncertainty makes me worried. I don’t know why.)

We knew we’d have to get Tomas later on, but we weren’t sure exactly where or when. Ideally, we’d be able to pick him up in Augusta and cut off an hour on the trip down to Worcester, but we figured we’d play it by ear. (Not my favorite thing to do. See above.)

I got up on time, and everything was going well. It was a rush to get everything together, but we were looking good. Just one last thing to do: grab the tickets for the devotional we were going to Sunday. I had fifteen minutes left, and was feeling haggard, but happy that everything was on track.

Except the tickets were nowhere to be found. I looked for them. Denisa got involved. Tomas and DC started scouring the house as well. We had ten minutes left. Five minutes. Then we were late. Five minutes. Ten minutes. I had to drive Tomas to the bus when we were 20 minutes late. I despise being late. It can be enough to put me in a bad mood, even without any other stress.

When we left for Ellsworth, we were running a half hour late for the retreat, and we’d never found the tickets. I was one very irate Bryce at that point. Definitely suffering from almost complete tunnel vision by then. My sole goal became to cut that half hour delay down to something less egregious. If I could make it there less than ten minutes late, I wouldn’t feel as bad, for example.

The drive is a blur in my memory. Many speed limits were broken to an extent I don’t typically break them. (Which in turn put be into a worse mood. It was a bad cycle.) At the end of it all, we arrived 9 minutes late. We were actually the second people to arrive, though I think I might have torn the space time continuum somewhere along the way.

Denisa and I were both stumped, because while we can (at times) be a tad disorganized, we’re never that disorganized. We decided in the end that the seats we’d been given weren’t the right ones, and we were supposed to sit somewhere else. It was the only thing that made sense. We ended up finding the tickets after we came home. They’d slipped into a crack by the recycling bin. We had been given the wrong tickets for the kids. Tomas and DC would have been seated much farther back. Instead, because we had to switch tickets, they got a seat on the fourth row. Since the topic of one of the talks was to acknowledge the hand of God when you see it at work in your life, I’m going to chalk the experience up to that.

Though next time, I’m putting any and all tickets in a place I’ll remember easily . . .


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