Sunday, November 30, 2008

How mittens may have saved my life. seriously.

In the past few days I have wallowed in my time off. I have lazed around, gluttonously reading blogs, snatching up endless Amazon deals tossed my way like candy at a parade by Mir, and watching episode after episode of CSI on Spike. Every so often my conscious will nag at me, remind me that I DO have to go back to school on Tuesday and I DO need to have that short story lesson plan done, but I push it firmly away and down. Shhhhhh.

Then, in the midst of my lolling about, I read one of Joshlyn Jackson's blogs about being thankful and it really got me to thinking. No small feat in the middle of this me-fest, but still. What am I truly thankful for? (Besides reading Jenny the blogess who makes me laugh so hard I that I can't read it during school. The kids stare when I snort.) I am of course so happy to have a wonderful husband and four healthy and moderately happy children (I can only let them be so happy, after all) and grateful that I am alive and ... but this is happiness. What am I truly thankful for? What in my life makes me a better person? This is the question posed by Joshlyn, the one that sniggled around in my head while I was trying so hard to pay attention to the miniature killer and had she really changed? Finally I have given in to this thinking while I am on vacation, and have decided to write about being thankful.

I am thankful for the awful people or even the normal people who do awful things. Yes, I know that this sounds strange, but it is also true. I don't like it when people are nasty, but I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt (maybe they are having a horrible day, a parent in hospice, trying to deal with infected hemorrhoids). At the very least, I always walk away with a story:

I did not grow up in this snowy, icy, slippery climate, so driving is a bit ... tense ... for me in the winter, but I stiffen my upper lip and just do it. So it bothers me A LOT when I am going the speed limit on a snow-packed road that is all twisty-turny and the person behind me is annoyed that I am ONLY going the speed limit and is completely disregarding how scary it is for me to be doing that. My white knuckles mean NOTHING to him. Or her. So when this person, who maybe was in a hurry because his wife was in labor or maybe had infected hemorrhoids (I'm kinda pulling for the second) passes me as we are on a swoopy downhill turn to the left with NO WAY to see if any cars are coming in the opposite direction, I did get a little angry. Angry enough that I forgot to worry about his anus or his imminent fatherhood. I was so immediately angry that I honked my horn and flipped him off.

I was wearing mittens.

I laughed so hard on the way to school at my ridiculousness that I forgot to be angry and mulling. I am grateful firstly that another car was not in the other lane and we all lived and secondly because I need to let that shit go. People will be thoughtless and rude and downright mean, and when they are I remind myself that I am not. I do not believe in an eye for an eye, an insult for an insult. This has been particularly difficult for me to stick to with only one person. This person is inadvertently part of my life on a daily basis and she. is. horrible. To me. Just me. It is a long and sad story as to why, but it wasn't my fault (really) but she obviously feels differently. And lets me know it every chance she gets. It can be depressing how often she has these opportunities. However, I do not reciprocate. Sometimes I imagine the things I could say to her, how I would slice her with my rapier wit, scathe her with caustic sarcasm, silence her with my Socratic logic. But I don't because it would be mean. And, in a twisted way, as I think about Joshlyn's question, I am thankful that I have her in my life because it is a constant reaffirmation of my commitment to be a nice person. I agree with Tom Hank's character in You've Got Mail: when you say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, you end up feeling remorse. I can't believe I just admitted to watching that movie and that I quoted it. gah.


Katie said...

Ok, I died when you said you were wearing mittens, LOL. I should wear mittens at all times, it would save me a lot of explaining.
And also, good for you for being the better person. It may be tough to swallow that awesome one-liner in the moment, but I bet sleep comes a lot easier when your head hits the pillow.
And is it coincidence or just pure torture that after Thanksgiving, your word verification is "gratin"?

Sprite's Keeper said...

I always have to stop myself from flipping people off in traffic (And I live in Florida so I have to work on that every day.) since I have 1. a toddler who can see me and will learn from me and 2. a fear that the driver I flip off will turn all road rage on me and make my day go a lot worse than his stupid driving did in the first place.
Great post!

KNab said...

Having moved to the land of ice and snow, I feel your pain. Ice driving used to be a white knuckled, heart pounding experience for me. Now it's just Tuesday. I have learned to control my road rage seeing as how I am armed and in a company car. Not good for my career or my freedom.