A couple of years ago, I went through mediation training. I wanted to be a better city council representative and asset to my community, and the training was offered through my employer (a university). It was a 40-hour training program. I even met someone during it.
But there was one major drawback to this training—I discovered the extent to which I struggle in emotionally impactful moments. It took me nearly a week to get all of the role-playing and fake conflict out of my system. I was jumpy, I was shaky, and otherwise just not okay.
Looking back, this is also why I don’t like being in competitive situations anymore. I don’t like the moods I get; I don’t like the way I feel.
I went to trivia night tonight, something that happens every other week. I don’t like myself at all during trivia, either, as I go to that competitive place. But good people run it and attend it, and I want to support it and see my friends, so I go.
I’ve been having more tightness in my back, so between rounds I went outside to walk and move a bit. It makes it feel better. A few people came out and joined me. We weren’t talking about anything important, but there was a sound. A crunching sound. And then squealing tires.
Someone got hit rather hard by a car a few hundred feet from us, and the car then took off out of there, running a stop sign along the way. Two of my friends ran off to see if they would be stopped at a nearby intersection, trying to catch the plates. I thought about it, but I was wearing sandals that I knew I’d trip in.
Some of the others went over to help. Ultimately, dozens were there helping, people trained in emergency medicine and people trying to find anyone who saw more of it. The cops and an ambulance came. If nothing else, the quick response by the community and the professionals was reassuring.
There was one more round of trivia yet to go. It was really hard to focus on it as the gentleman who was hit was whisked away. I was fidgety. In fact, my hands are still shaking a bit on the keyboard here. There was a bit of being competitive in that last round, but there was also the wash of emotion from the incident. The anger at the driver who ran off, the sympathy for the person injured, the appreciation of those who jumped in to help.
I had a good talk with another friend about it after the fact. He said I was normal. That that’s the normal reaction. And maybe that’s why we ultimately do good things even though what’s broadcast on the news is bad: it’s supposed to be bad. Bad is unexpected and unusual—as we want it to be. And the good tries to make up for it.
I’ll be up for quite a while tonight, though. I’m glad I don’t have to work in the morning. It’s going to take a long time to wash the emotion away.
UPDATE: The pedestrian passed away overnight.