So I popped home yesterday for a 30 minute break and checked the blog. There hadn't been too many comments, but there was one individual who had taken issue with my writing and then took issue with one of the beloved and faithful commenters. I was instantly hacked off. I felt much as I do when I see someone let their dog shit on my lawn without picking it up. I fired up my fingers to write a definitive and scathing response in the comments as I couldn't respond to the individual privately. But before I clicked "post comment" I remembered to breathe. Now this is progress. I actually stopped myself before acting on the rage. I just told a story about this very thing a couple days ago, from when I was 10 years old. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a slow learner.
I left the house and cursed drivers and traffic instead.
Arriving at the afternoon lesson a bit early, I had 20 minutes to enjoy before beginning. I took my book and sat in the adjacent park and opened to the next chapter. I had to read the first paragraph five or six times because the angry voice inside me kept dragging my attention away. To what I should say, or should have said. To what I will write the next day about the silliness of the word terrorist. I'll spare you the details. Okay, except maybe just one. You know, I much preferred "suicide bomber", as it more aptly described individuals now known simply as terrorists. Trust me, we (the west) sow plenty of terror. Yes, I had a veritable masterpiece of vitriol I was composing in my head. These thoughts made my stomach contract and my jaws clench. So I kept bringing my attention back to the paragraph, much like you try to ignore a toothache. Finally, I read.
Sometimes you have to be hit over the head repeatedly to understand something. Cue hammer.
The chapter was like a direct lesson to my current experience. Funny how the universe does that sometimes. The chapter titled "The Carpet Guy" tells of how he swindled the author out of $50. (She talks about God a lot in this book, which doesn't bother me that much, because I just substitute the word universe when I'm reading. A little "higher power" trick I learned at a meeting somewhere.) Once realizing she had been cheated by the carpet guy, she flew into a self-righteous rage. But at the end of the tale, she sends the guy some flowers because she actually learned something about herself. She never got her money back.
I started to giggle at myself. A whole hour of my interior life for a semi-anonymous comment from one of what, six? seven? billion people on the planet. I just offered up all my power on a platter, didn't I? Relinquished happiness, my specialty. And then something strange came over me, as the lesson, ding ding ding we have a winner, really sunk in. And I just loved myself. Not in the boastful gloaty way. More like in the motherly way when her child shits the bed, or lets the skunk inside to play. We're all just awful messes, we human beings. Well, maybe not all the time, if you're like me, long stretches of non-messed-upness can come off quite convincingly. Still, there is always death, and that's bound to be messy anyway.
A broad smile implanted itself on my face, like it was taped there. I went inside and greeted my students.