Friday, November 23, 2012

Mind your own business. Oh, and Happy Holidays, f***er.

Today, after a long, lazy lunch with a friend, I walked to the grocery store.

On my way, at each corner, I stopped, looked both ways, stepped into the parking lane, and then waited for either the traffic to clear or the signal to change so I could cross.  I do this a lot, if it isn't a corner where a pedestrian might get picked off.  Because I'm a jay-walker.  Always have been, and always will be.  I don't think I could stop, not even if I tried.

Anyway, while standing in the parking lane at one particular intersection, I saw that the car about to enter the intersection had nearly stopped, and so I checked the light to see if it had changed, but it hadn't.  Then I realized that the driver might have thought I was going to continue walking.  Even though I was looking at the car and not really moving very fast.  I figured that since it was Black Friday, that the driver was someone that doesn't get downtown much, someone being extra cautious of foot traffic.

Then, after a few more cars passed, a truck slowed down as it passed me and the driver rolled down his window to say, "Maybe you shouldn't try crossing against the light."

I looked him in the eye and said, "Maybe you should mind your own business." And then I gave him the finger.  And then, as he slipped out of earshot, I underlined the hand gesture with something like, "Happy Holidays, F***er."

Apparently crows-feet and laugh lines can erase the petulant teenager from my face, but nothing will remove her from my mouth.

I seriously don't know where the that came from.  I do know that this is the kind of thing that leads me to sequester myself from people as much as possible.  I do stuff like that.  I like to think everyone does.  But somehow I can forgive the humanity of everyone else much more easily than I can my own.

The poor guy said what he said with gentle concern, and he seemed like he was trying to be helpful.  For all I know, they guy could have been an angel, sent down to give me a little nudge so that I'll be a bit more vigilant and avoid a fatal accident in the next 48 hours.  And what do I do?  I flip him off.

The hand of God could have been reaching out to me, and I spit in his palm.

And that's my only consolation in this whole thing.  The guy in the truck wasn't an angel.  Even if they exist (they don't), there'd be no reason to send someone down to keep me safe.  I'm not that significant.  That's not poor self-esteem, it's just a fact.  I mean, I'm pretty sure I won't be on my way to kill Hitler on Sunday.

Regardless, I want to say:  Happy Holidays, Truck Guy, wherever you are.  I mean it this time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pros and Cons of Letting Go

There's this woman I know.  I don't come in contact with her much.  More and more, I hear less and less from her.  And when she's out of sight, she's totally out of mind, and yet, whenever we cross paths, she always dings me with some vicious back-handed compliment.  She's a master at the form.  If you overheard her at a party, or read her words as a comment on Twitter or Facebook, you wouldn't give it a second glance.  But you would feel a sudden draft, the chill that tells you that Evil is nearby.

No, not really.  She's not evil.  Really not.  She's a super-capable work-horse kind of a person.  Team-player, community-minded, responsible, and practical.  And it seems as though she's been that way from birth.  And, she's got a beef with me.  My very existence seems to offend her.

I hadn't heard from her in years, and as I was sitting and trying to come up with a post for this week, up she popped with a new message.  It's funny, I see what she's doing, and yet it doesn't register with me on an emotional level.  With her, for some reason, I don't care.  I just take whatever she says at face value, as though all she's serving up is deep-dish positivity, and I respond with nothing but smiles and good humor.

I don't wonder why she does it.  I don't wrack my brain to figure out what crime - small or large, real or imagined - she thinks I did to her.  I don't think up ways to fix it.  The only thing notable about the whole thing is how effortlessly I forget her.  (Except when I'm desperate for something to blog about).

Once upon a time, I wished it were so easy with everyone.  I used to think it would be a certain kind of freedom to not care what people thought.  But now, without much effort, I care less and less, and it's a bit terrifying.  Not in this situation, with this woman, there's nothing scary there.  It's more the larger implications for me and how I will engage with the world.  In the end, caring less about how others see me crept up on me kind of naturally, and so I don't know where it will stop.

It seems a slippery slope.  If I let the opinion of one personally unhappy bitch roll off my back, does that put me on an express route to become like my undergrad screenwriting professor who would spend our weekly meetings talking at me non-stop, while shoveling salad into her mouth, allowing the dressing to dribble down the front of her clearly slept-in sweatsuit?

Time will tell.  For now, I will enjoy not fretting over how others perceive my status, likability, intentions, and sundry traits in the same way one effortlessly exalts over absence of snot after a long and persistent head-cold.  And I will set-up a little face-time with Vanity, maybe Pride too, applaud them on their low-profile, but confirm they're on the job by way of keeping me presentable.  Salad-dressing free, at least.