Sometimes I just don't know how to react. My instinct isn't always right and yet over thinking something can lead to the oddest of conclusions. Let me give you an example:
I went shopping to pick up a gift for Joe so, of course, I was alone. I was zipping through the mall and then came to a stop just past a news vendor. Something had come to mind and I wanted to take a moment to think about it, I find that in crowded places, it's not safe to think and drive. The vendor, seeing me come to a stop and sit there for a moment, approached me. English isn't his first language and he said, "Where is your keeper? Do you need help?"
Clearly he'd seen me many times before and typically he'd seen me with Joe. It is a fact that many people in our neighbourhood express surprise to see me without Joe although Joe says they never express surprise seeing him without me. Anyways, my first response?
I DON'T HAVE A KEEPER!!
I AM MY OWN KEEPER!!
But I didn't say either of those two things because when I looked at him, I didn't see pity, I saw a genuine concern, one person for another. He was worried that I needed help, that I was alone, and he offered his help in Joe's stead. I think his choice of words, wasn't actually a choice. His English is rough at the best of times and I think he just used a word he knew was an approximation of what he was trying to communicate. That's different.
So. I didn't think this was the time to react. I thought it was time to simply take a breath, trust that the concern that showed in his eyes was simply genuine. I realized that showing concern for others isn't a bad thing - and that there are many people who might, in that same situation, actually need his help. I didn't want to make him fearful of offering a helping hand.
I just smiled and said, "Thank you, I'm fine, I appreciate the offer."
He smiled and wished me a "Merry Christmas" and went back to his newsstand.
And I went back to Christmas shopping.
I am, apparently, sometimes, able to be a keeper of my own temper.