But They Ripped Me Off! by David Ring III
I recently purchased an air conditioning fan. I had my doubts about it. But after the recommendation of friends, I went ahead and made the purchase. It was the hot season in Thailand. Sweltering heat forced frequent naps and stagnated production.
Our townhouse had an air-conditioner, but a rat, or, a family of rats, and nibbled at the internal wiring, making it inoperable. For the most part, I made due with a fan. But the unending heat soon wore me down.
We tried all the settings. Even adding copious amounts of ice to thoroughly chill the water. But the result was an increase in humidity — it was like getting into a steam room.
I returned the item. I demanded a refund. As I did so, as I stood in front of that salesman, I was overtaken by an onslaught of angry thoughts. It was as if some long concealed childish version of myself had risen into consciousness and forced his beliefs on to me.
I wanted to completely abandon that air conditioner. To angrily push it aside and to let him know how much I abhorred it and his company. It was a childish tantrum, but nonetheless it had conquered my inner world. Rage was building, and I felt awful.
Yet there was this space inside of me. This awareness of what was going on. The realization that this process was an external entity. It was not a part of me. Just this out-of-date relic that I had once identified with.
In days gone by, I reveled and danced in its madness, burning bridges, destroying relationships, and blindly burying myself in isolation and unhappiness.
It was a marvel to see this process in action and to recognize, from a distant perspective, this device that I long knew existed. But knowing it exists does not eradicate its hold over you. It’s like watching yourself be beaten up. You know you’re being hurt, but you just can’t get away.
Escaping your thoughts is not an instantaneous process. It is something that needs to be continually pursued.
These thoughts are fused into you, and you need to tear away at them. Having seen and felt the damage that they have done to you, all that stands in the way of removing them is time.
The salesman refused to refund the money, but offered to fix the product. I hesitantly agreed. After once again bringing the fan home, I plugged it in and recreated the steam room. I was not happy.
I eventually called the salesman’s superior, for a second time, and demanded a refund. He told me they didn’t do refunds. That I could take it back and they would fix it. That I should have known it would not work very well, for it was not really an air-conditioner.
Tired of hearing his excuses, I told him that if he generally believed in his product and was willing to help out his customer, he could make steps to refund me the money within the next 48 hours. Otherwise, I would leave a negative review and we would both lose. He hung up after implying that he had no intention of refunding me.
I was irate. I had been ripped off, insulted, and had my time wasted. I wanted justice. I wanted this man who had taken advantage of me to face consequences. I began plotting strategies on what to do. Where to complain. How to raise awareness. What words to choose on my future Facebook rant. I envision myself going to his kiosk in order to describe his business by complaining to his potential customers about my bad experience.
Needless to say, I had created a hell inside my mind. I didn’t do it intentionally. I know very well that these thoughts are extremely bad for me. Yet they still come, at lesser and lesser intervals, sweeping me up unaware into their madness. And when they finally let me down, I feel almost breathless, exhausted, but relieved and tickled by the great joke that has once again ensnared me and by the knowledge that with every moment of awareness its hold over me dwindles.
This episode with the air conditioning fan, though unpleasant, also excites me. It has given me a very real look at my past problems and the confidence to know that they can be eradicated. After all, enjoying life was never really a problem for me.
Problems occurred during those brief times when insanity would override my reality.
Equipped with this great weapon of self-inquiry, I feel encouraged to go out and seek things that bother me – that cause me to bother myself — so that I may further sink into the perpetual happiness that is my true self.
Author: David Ring III is the author of Unclog Your Happiness: A Practical Guide to Living Blissfully.