The Sage Connection

It’s time again for some not-so-weird behavior


I recently read an interesting article in The Atlantic titled "Why People Are Acting So Weird," by Olga Khazan.

She writes, “crime, ‘unruly passenger’ incidents, and other types of strange behavior have all soared recently. Why?”

According to Khazan, “everyone is acting so weird! The most obvious recent weirdness was when Will Smith smacked Chris Rock at the Oscars.”

“In February, people found ways to throw tantrums while skiing—skiing, she continued”

Another example Khazan cited was air travel:  “There have been far more unruly passengers on airplanes and in terminals. Early 2021 saw the highest number of 'unruly passenger' incidents ever, according to the FAA. In February, a plane bound for Washington, D.C., had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City, Missouri, after a man tried to break into the cockpit.”

Even healthcare workers are seeing these behaviors. Khazan cited as an example that “Missouri hospitals planned to outfit nurses with panic buttons.”

High-stress, low-reward

“’We’re all stressed out. The pandemic has created a lot of ‘high-stress, low-reward situations,” Khazan quoted  Keith Humphreys, a psychiatry professor at Stanford, “'and now everyone is teetering slightly closer to their breaking point. Someone who may have lost a job, a loved one, or a friend to the pandemic might be pushed over the edge by an innocuous request.’”

It appears we don’t react well to being sent to our homes for two years plus.

The JOLT’s been reporting on weird incidents in our area, including arrests of people over age 75 alleging violent behavior. Usually people of that age don’t get arrested for anything other than driving too slow.

I am one of the lucky ones. I live with one of my daughters and son-in-law and have family next door. I rarely had to leave the house for anything if I didn’t want to, having family to shop and pick up prescriptions, etc.

I live in a beautiful country setting with neighbors close enough to wave to but not next door. I don’t care for air travel and as far as I know, no one has attempted to highjack a train recently.

All this and many ZOOM meetings later have really helped me to comply with our governor’s request that we stay apart as much as possible.

Children, teachers and parents are others who were constantly confused. School at home or in person? Masks or no masks?

As for the health care workers, I am amazed they haven’t begun to act weird after all they have been through during the pandemic.

Despite all the uproar, rise in crime and rude behavior there were a few times a giggle escaped my lips.

For instance, did you ever think you would enter a bank or a medical facility wearing a mask? The latter experience reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode.

Well, now we have a decision to make. The masks are off, for the most part, kids are back at school and their parents have returned to their workplaces. Social events can be held, indoor eating can be enjoyed and we see each other’s faces at the grocery store.

So, do we return to pre-pandemic behavior or stay the course we created for ourselves during the past two years?

Do we revert to kindness, politeness, helpfulness and overlooking small irritants?  

I hope so…I really miss the old us…    

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.


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