Damn. I made L upset. Although the cause is her, I should have been better with expressing my anger. Specifically, I should not have raised my voice.
The situation was silly, which disappoints me even more. She ordered a “Number 9” at KFC. Our conversation being over the phone, I did not know what a “Number 9” was.
“What’s in the number nine?”
“I don’t know.” She begins teasing me.
“What do you mean you don’t know? You ordered it. Come on… what is it?”
“It’s a number nine.”
“I know that. But what’s in it?”
“Sheesh, why are you being so vague?” I am getting upset.
“Do you want the number nine, now? You wanted me to order you a number nine.”
“No.” I was upset at this point.
“Ah… the right answer would be ‘Yes, I want the number nine because you’re giving it to me.'”
“Don’t change the subject, L.”
“Yes… I was asking you what was in the number nine.”
“We’re still talking about the number nine.” She giggles.
I am silent.
“Are you annoyed with me?” L asks.
“Yes I am annoyed with you.” The irritation in my voice is palpable. In all seriousness that goes unnoticed, I ask one last time, “So, what is it?”
“Some kind of chicken,” she is still having fun.
“Fine,” I muttered. “Let’s get off the subject.”
“Are you frustrated with me?” Her voice is of playful concern.
“Yes,” I raise my voice. “I am frustrated and mad. I just wanted to know what it is!”
“It’s a combo.”
“I know it’s a combo. But, is it a leg and thigh, wing or what?”
“It’s a sandwich.”
“You see?” My voice is still raised. “A sandwich. How would I have known it was a sandwich? You could have told me that in under a minute.”
“It’s a sandwich, but I don’t know what kind.”
“I was just playing with you,” she begins. “This shows your patience, or your lack of patience – ”
“Yes. My patience or tolerance for your teasing.”
“I like to tease. I like teasing people.” Pause. “You’ll just… you’ll just have to think about it.” I understand that she is telling me that her teasing is for fun and that it’s a fact that I will have to come to accept and not get angry about. At that moment, I did not think she understood the nature of teasing.
“Well, if you think about it, you’ll realize that what you’re doing is a one-way pleasure. You may be having fun, but the other person is not. The fun is not mutual.”
“It may be one-sided, but I’m only teasing you about something unimportant. You don’t have to get angry about it. You can play along.”
I realized that I was angry before she understood I was getting upset. We talked about how we could prevent this communication breakdown in the future.
“So, if I said ‘L, I’m getting upset’ you’ll stop and tell me whatever I’m asking?”
“Yes, but not in that tone. Your voice… when you raise your voice, it’s very intimidating. It’s authoritative and… you have to control your temper.”
“Okay, then. Next time I’ll say that I’m getting upset and you’ll know that I’m annoyed.”
“No, you can just say you’re annoyed and I’ll know. Next time, I’ll be more sensitive to when you get upset. You can be more aware of your voice.”
We chat idly for a bit, but she wanted to stop talking to me because she was upset.
So, here I am reflecting on the situation. Damn. Me and my stupid voice-raising. I need to stop doing that.