Say what you Meme
Full confession. Sometimes when I read those peace-loving inspirational quote things on social media, I want to punch the writer in the face. And yes, I know that’s hypocritical because I do myself periodically verge into the bigger-picture perspective, but that does not mean in any way I'm also not an asshole.
It is in our nature to be the hero of our own stories, but that still won't stop me showing up in other people’s narratives as the villain or the fool.
There’s been a building site across the street from us that’s been going on for a while now - by a while I mean, over a year. The rumbling and house shuddering and ‘this vehicle is reversing’ noises would be annoying enough, but what’s twice as annoying is that the foreman is not only not a people person, but a complete idiot. This has meant that they often have to repeat stuff that they’ve screwed up. They’ve drilled through a water main, and the gas main and I dread to think what they might do with the electricity. They’ve dug up the road outside or house more than a handful of times and regularly block off the whole street with big truck/small penis vehicles.
They’re tricky to talk to because they seem to see being female as some sort of sub-class, and more than once I have to bite my lip so as not to say, ‘ If you're so fucking manly maybe get a pair of trousers to fit you properly.”
They laugh in the face of regulations, but they weren’t laughing this week when at 6 am, one of them started jackhammering just across from my bedroom window.
I’m not good when my sleep is disrupted, and especially not good when my sleep is disrupted by some jerk with a jackhammer. I was out there all hoodies and pajamas with my half-crumpled, old-lady face spouting - in full force Scottish accent - a tirade of expletives (which I call Gaelic if I’m ever challenged on it). As a result I had managed to terrify a wee cluster of guys with massive tool belts, and call up the city to lodge a noise complaint before the clock even hit 7 am.
When my youngest got up and ready for school and wanted to talk to me about his ‘problematic’ English teacher, I had to say to him, “Son, I’m not at my parenting best this morning. I’m only on my first cup of tea and I’ve already been outdoors for a fight with some construction workers”
“And it’s not even a Tuesday,” he said.
“I know, but it is one of those days.’
“Oh,” he said knowingly. Then he gave me a brief hug and said, “You'll be OK.”
If you know me, you’ll know I have a thing about Tuesdays. I believe that if anything shitty happens, it generally happens on a Tuesday. It’s not a weird thing. Its statistics. So on Tuesdays we give ourselves more space, because anything might happen.
But a Tuesday scenario is totally different from a full-blown ‘ one of those days.”
Because some days are just tricky. Sometimes it's because of circumstance. Sometimes you might get terrible news and not know how to process it. Sometimes there is no reason and you’ve just gotten out of the wrong side of bed. Other times, you get out of the right side of bed but an hour and a half early -AGAIN -because of some complete jerk with a jackhammer.
On one of those days, I tend to work by the slogan “Do no harm to yourself or others.”
Because on a particularly tricky day, my aim is to just try not to do something that I’ll later regret: Don’t get a face tattoo. Don’t run away and try to join a circus. Don’t yell at your accountant/dentist/ annoying lady in the shop. On one of those days when you hypothetically open a kitchen cupboard and pack of badly placed crackers falls out and knocks a jar of badly placed Nutella off the countertop onto your bare feet, and really really hurts your toe, don’t lose your shit about people not clearing up after themselves, and how you’re the only person who ever takes one single moment to consider other people.
Instead, hop over to the kettle, make a cup of tea and resolve that tomorrow when the dust has settled, you can remind everyone about the cleaning up after themselves even when in a hurry rule.
“Do no harm to yourself or others” basically covers the vast grey area that lies between your bog-standard fairly difficult Tuesday, right up until ‘go hide in your bed until this shitstorm is over’. Because it’s fair enough to be pissed off at a day, but you don’t want that day to become one that you particularly remember.
So that means when your youngest talks to you about his problematic English teacher, and you're still in full conflict with a construction worker mode, you don’t respond with frustration to something that might need a bit of gentle care.
On days when I am doing no harm to others or myself, you might find me head down doing a jigsaw, or Godddamit knitting knick knacks or whatever. When I was in Scotland my sister gave me a pattern for knitted birds, and I took it gratefully. I couldn’t ever foresee a time when I might need an actual knitted bird, but I could foresee a time when I might need to knit one.
And the day passed and another day began and after a couple of proper uninterrupted nights’ sleep, the rest of the week did improve. There were no knitted birds. There were no jigsaws. I had a bit of a clear-out and took stuff to the charity shop and there was a 76 lb pumpkin from the backyard that had to be made into puree. And then life went back to normal.
And later on in the week I went to my youngest’s Back To School Night and met the ‘problematic’ English teacher.
I'm not at all surprised he gets her on a Tuesday.
Till next week,
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