Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Handling Life (Poorly)

Today as I was walking into the library, a nice gentleman sitting outside asked if I'd like him to "read my cards." He had a big carton of tarot cards next to him. I said no thank you and then I went inside and spent my lunch break wandering around the mystery section. I left with the more Tana French (surprise) and a mild feeling of defeat after the guy at the information desk told me they didn't have Season 2 of Scandal yet. On my way out, the guy saw me again and yelled out, "when's you're birthday?" I told him "Twelve twelve!" and he started yelling something, I didn't catch every word, but I heard "oh, the hangman!" and then he also told me that 12/12 is Marisa Tomei's birthday too.

So it was that kind of day! And now we all know a little more about Marisa Tomei.

One of the most frustrating things about being an adult in an adult world and doing adult things like working and, I don't know, taking the trash out, is that you really have to keep your frustrations to yourself, for the most part.

Days of feeling 'treated unjustly' in high school were like, the very best days. Pages and pages of angry, righteous journal entries; handing out cold shoulders like Halloween candy; feeling more and more justified with every locker slam. Good stuff! There's nothing quite like being "unjustly wronged" and totally superior for it.

Now, I can't really do any of that stuff. Not just because it would make me a bad employee or a bad friend or a bad wife or a bad daughter but because a strong woman doesn't do that. And that's one of the very best parts about being an adult; the fact that you get to decide the kind of person you want to be and then you can go be her. I want to be a strong woman, and I want to be a kind woman. I don't want to give cold shoulders or wear my frustration on my sleeve anymore, or believe I'm entitled to everyone's best graces all the time. So I don't (or at least I try not to).

The secret is I'm still 16 between the ears and behind the ribs, and life still pisses me off.

I have a very, very hard time dealing with nasty people. Not just people who are nasty to me, but just gross people. People who lie. People who use their kids as props. Innocuous, seemingly harmless people who exhibit some of the most selfish habits we've ever been creative enough to invent. People who steal your lunch from the break room. People who abuse my sister's loyalty and friendship and brains and make her get up at 6:30 am for stupid things. People who take advantage of my friends. People who leave their dogs in their cars when it's 119 degrees. Lazy people who take advantage of my non-laziness.

Mostly though, it's people who treat me like I'm an idiot.

Because I'm just, so very not an idiot!

The thing is, we're all generally pretty nasty. I've talked about this before. I'm nasty too. I know how to manipulate Aaron to make him feel bad for me, or to make him feel guilty. And I do it sometimes. I beep my horn prematurely when people in front of me don't notice the green light fast enough. Yesterday I made a big show about how annoyed I was that it took 15 minutes to make Aaron's sandwich that I was picking up for him at Paradise Bakery. I'm a bit insufferable like that sometimes. A lot of times.

Our flags in Phoenix are at half mast today - I think it might be the first time I've ever noticed an entire city's flags being at half mast. It's pretty arresting, actually. They're at half mast for the firefighters that died. These are the strange, inexplicable parts of being human - that we have 19 firefighters who died in the line of duty at the same time as we have someone pretending to be a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing to get some money. Not only did those firefighters die, but more firefighters are still fighting that fire. They are leaving their wives and kids and pet goldfish at home to go fight that fire, that killed 19 of their colleagues! And there's also people in Texas sending e-mails to pro-life legislators telling them they hope their daughters are raped.

What kind of place is this? Are there two kinds of people, or are well all terrible? And are we all a bit good as well? Would the fire fighters have claimed false victimhood? Would they have cut me off on the highway?

Currently, I am in the market for an effective, respectable way to deal with these things. I pray for peace and wisdom and will continue to do that, but it doesn't always come, and I find this all very confusing and a bit overwhelming. (Tarot cards need not apply.)

I made cupcakes for the firefighters at the station down the street from our house and I felt like such a huge idiot giving them to them. They had white icing and then I wrote "Thx" on them with that blue writing-icing stuff. Is it common knowledge that "Thx" means "thanks"? What in the world did I write "thx" on there for?

I gave them to the guy and said Hi, we don't thank you enough, I'm on my way to the gym, thanks for everything, sorry you've had a rough week, I made some cupcakes, wow it's cloudy, hi, bye.

He offered for me to bring my kids to the station to see the fire trucks. I don't have kids, though. When we do have kids, I wonder if they'll be the good or the bad kind, or if you can be both at the same time?


  1. Maria, thanks for writing this. Your timing is perfect. I appreciate your honesty and I feel the same way. This week, for me, was discouraging, at best. While we all put on the happy face and etc. because that's what us women do in the plastic-y, fake-y southwestern United States, we all don't feel that way. You described the entire situation perfectly. Love to you, Diane

    1. Diane - so sorry to hear you had a tough week. Let's get together when you get back and hash it out. Hang in there, love you too.