Tuesday, August 13, 2013

You are not the boss of me.

I am not going into it but a train conductor fucked me over and out of $300 the other day. Believe me, I want so badly to wax on about how abysmally I have been treated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York right here in this blog that my fingers are shaking. I work with a woman who is strange for many reasons but one of the strangest things about her is that when she types on her computer, she bangs on the keyboard like a toddler holding a sippy cup and wanting attention. I feel like doing that right now. And I would, if only I hadn't been stewing in my anger like a peeled and pulpy tomato in a crock pot for the last three days, the acidity of my own anger bubbling all around my head leaving me chewy and burnt out and completely useless. But if no one bears witness to this injustice (I know, I know this sounds like hyperbole but couldn't it be possible that there are levels of injustice?) did it happen?

In truth, lots of people bore witness during the incident on the train last Saturday. More people still when I ranted about it on Facebook. And even more could conceivably crouch painfully under the weight of so much witness if I decided to pen my beautifully worded "fuck you" to whomever in the complaints office will listen. So I'm pretty much covered in the "witness" department. Still, another rehashing and all the subsequent encouragement I am certain to receive from people who know me and all the well intentions I live inside might ease the rage a little. Then again, something I've noticed in the last few days since said train conductor made me question what is truly at the heart of my behavior and whether or not there is an angry little mouse of a girl at the helm of my psyche just waiting for a good excuse to enact violence against another person, is that it is disturbingly easy to let one emotion overcome you. Believe it or not, this is not something I have really noticed before.

I do consider myself an emotional person. I am affectionate and desirous of affection. I cry when I am sad. I scream when I am angry or excited. I laugh until I cry and scream. I think, though, that I have always felt completely in control of my reactions to things because I have never felt anything remotely close to extreme. I have known several people in my life who feel things extremely. Sure, most of them have emotional disorders and I can recognize that when I see it. But a reaction that happened to me when that corpulent, pimply, small bepenised train conductor destroyed the memory of an otherwise brilliant weekend, has thrown my navel gazing for a loop. The reason is this: I wanted to hit him.

Ok, I have felt angry before. But my anger is one of the simmering kind. I am comfortable using my words for a lot of things (not everything, clearly) so as a result I can usually tamper what I feel down long enough to go somewhere to write it down in a secret place. So what has happened before has followed the same formula: get angry, simmer in silence for awhile, write out my anger, come to terms with it, let it go. I cannot actually say that anything has made me angry to the point of wanting to strike another person. Ever. Not even when I overheard that bitch from high school tell her friends after a gym class freshman year that she wanted to see me "die a slow and painful death." I think, because of my maturity level, I just ended up crying about that one. But this guy. This guy. I started to understand how people say they "see red". I literally did see red. My brain was coated in a thick red, raging paint that threatened to block out my vision, coat and constrict my throat and pool at the bottom of my stomach where I imagined it would dry and become splotchy and permanent. That's where I felt the strongest desire, there at the pit of my stomach, to draw my fist back and punch him in the temple. I wanted nothing so badly then to send his conductor's hat flying across the train car where it would defy the laws of physics and fly out the open train car door and up and over the platform full of sweating passengers and land at the opening of a dirty sewer grate among crushed cigarette butts and the mud caked metal crosses. Having never hit another person before, my imagination stopped conjuring what he would do and instead focused so intensely on me and the immense satisfaction of having hit such a poor excuse for a person that was in the realm of possible outcomes; had I been alone or even slightly intoxicated, I feel certain that I would have chased that rainbow until the end.

But then, just as I reached the point of no return, I heard my grandfather say "No importa. Dejar lo." There is just something about grandparents, some unreachable pitch in the sound of their voices.  My brain clicked off the rage switch and I started to feel the steam rise as I cooled. I began to meditate. I decided that I would feel contemptuous pity for this walking blob instead of throbbing rage. The majority shareholders of my personality began to show up for the meeting and unanimously passed a resolution: I can rage to my friends and family about this. I can send a message to the ether of Facebook and garner support from friends and acquaintances. I can meditate and hold an imaginary lotus in my hand for an hour until all thoughts of revenge disappear. But, and this must be a steadfast ruling: anger will not be the boss of me.

I wanted to whittle down the details of this non-event of my recent life in this blog. Then I decided that enough was enough. I'm writing a check. I'm breathing in and out and I'm letting it go. To everyone I have personally told and complained to about this, I and my board of directors thank you for listening. Let me buy you lunch next time you are in my neighborhood.

Just try to avoid taking the train.

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