I probably shouldn’t start this by saying ‘I hate people’, as I’m assuming if you are reading this, you are a person. Also, one of my cats is eating something off the floor that will inevitably make him choke, and he won’t let me help him. So, it’s probably not just people that I hate.
Being small & being from Massachusetts
To start, I will say this: I’m from Massachusetts, and so it can be difficult to gauge whether I have an official Anger Problem, or if I am just used to yelling, “you call this coffee?!” and/or getting the finger from someone with a coexist bumper sticker on their car. Today, for instance, I shouted out my car window, “dipshit!” to a driver who was legitimately being a dipshit. Does that make me have an anger problem? MAYBE. I DON’T KNOW. I’m not a fucking doctor.
The other thing that I am, however, is small. So, when my frustrations come out, they seem especially large and uncalled for. However, this seems utterly discriminatory. Large Bostonians can scream & I am left to bottle my emotions? Discriminatory, I tell you.
I don’t know that I’ve always noticed that I am an angry person. I currently live in the Midwest – we moved here a few years ago when my husband got into a good school out here. So, I live in a progressive & cosmopolitan city in the Midwest, but it is still the Midwest, where everyone is nice, for some reason. No one complains about the shitty coffee in a downtown bodega; the streets are mostly clean because no one angrily spits in the street; people say hi to each other; humans driving cars with co-exist bumper stickers don’t typically give the finger. So, this environment has led me to believe that I may have an anger problem.
On Sunday night, I had these two conversations with two separate people, which made me start to wonder:
(Talking to my sibling about an attempt to return something)
L: What did she say when you asked for a refund?
M: Well, honestly, she wasn’t the nicest person I’ve ever yelled at.
(Watching an episode of Black Mirror with husband)
M: What’s that loser doing? If someone was harassing me on the internet, I’d tell them to fuck off!
J: Well, he’s just a teenager. He’s still young.
M: Bullshit. I’ve always screamed at people.
So, I’ve been curious about my anger recently. Maybe you can help me decide if I should enroll in anger management courses based on this blog post. Also, if you have any other memories of my anger, don’t fucking tell me. (Just kidding. Maybe go ahead. It might be necessary.)
Something else might be important to mention, and it is that as a stubborn & unreasonable child, I had an inadvertent catch-phrase. Do you guys remember Michelle from the 90s series, Full House? She had a catch-phrase, too. Hers was cute & agreeable since she was a small child. “You got it, dude!” was the cutest thing on TV.
Mine, you ask? Mine stemmed from my dad’s pathological mansplaining. Let’s go back in time, perhaps 1995, to one of my brother’s soccer games. For context, the referee just had made a bad call, and I reacted.
Me: What?! Come on!
Dad: You see, in soccer, there are rules, and when players break those rules, there are penalties.
Me, 6 years old, without the ability to explain why he’s an ass: THAT’S YOUR OPINION, DAD
Eventually, the catch-phrase transformed into something that made more sense.
Mom: Water is healthier than apple juice. You need to drink more water.
Me: THAT’S YOUR OPINION, MOM
It still didn’t make much sense. It was just my way of communicating dissent. I asked my mom to comment on my catch-phrase. She said, “Well, I think you didn’t want to be swindled.” When asked who was trying to swindle me at age 6 or 7, she responded, “Well, no one. But, you were ready just in case.”
Clutter & also my husband
The post-its read: “JOE. The cleaners were here on WEDNESDAY. Pick up after yourself. Dishes and laundry, too. BYE. Also, fix the handle on the drawer. You will probably do none of this if I don’t leave a ❤ <3.”
I can scream through post-it notes!
Last year, my mom flew in from Boston to visit us for Thanksgiving. Nice, right? Family time. Lovely. Driving to the airport to pick her up, there was no traffic, so I was optimistic that the airport pick-up would be a breeze. Then I met a stocky, no-nonsense woman named Linda.
Linda was responsible for directing traffic AWAY from the pick-up area. Linda was being paid to shoo cars away and force them to continue to circle around the airport until their families are given the OK to jump into an open window of said moving cars. Still circling, Mom. Just jump right in. It’s fine.
After the first time I circled around, my mom called & told me that she was standing outside the terminal, waiting to jump into my moving vehicle. I pulled around, and I had to pull my car up to a spot slightly out of my mom’s view, but I could see her from my rearview mirror. Because my mom didn’t immediately see me, Linda stomped over to my car, told me I had been stalling for too long, and that I needed to move.
“No,” was the first word that came out of my mouth. It was not the last, though — let me tell you!
“Excuse me?” Linda blurted out, stunned that someone was standing up to her airport fascism. These sweet, continuously circling Midwesterners were letting Linda walk all over them.
“No. I’m not moving. I can see my mom from my rearview mirror. She’s making her way over right this second.”
“If she’s not already in front of your car, you must circle around again,” she shouted, foaming at the mouth.
“No, I don’t. I’m waiting,” I shouted back. Linda went red in the face.
“MOVE YOUR CAR.”
“FUCK YOU, LINDA. FUCK YOU.”
Still, my mom didn’t see my car, and apparently didn’t notice me screaming at an old lady, so I ended up having to give in to Linda’s freakish demands & move my car again.
As I started driving away without my mother, Linda bellowed maniacally, “happy thanksgiving”.
I stopped my car in the middle of moving traffic.
“HEY LINDA.” She looked at me, and I quickly took her picture. “I HAVE YOUR BADGE NUMBER, LINDA, AND I AM GOING TO GET YOU FIRED ON THANKSGIVING. HAPPY FUCKING THANKSGIVING, LINDA.”
When my mom finally got in my car, and I told her my story about Linda, she laughed, thinking it was a little quirky, but she said I ultimately did the right thing. She would have done the same, she said.
And that’s how Bostonians do holidays.
I want this last bit to have less to do with my anger. I scream a lot, as you have read so far. But, I’m also quirky! I can scream + be quirky at the same time. Let me show you how!
So, I was a bit of a basket-case throughout 2016. I was screaming at people on the internet quite a bit, and I did scare away a 300-pound Trump supporter at a grocery store one time. But, that’s a story for another day. The quirkier side of 2016 was my dramatic screaming as a reaction to the constant twists & turns of that wretched year. For example, when Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race, I was terrified. My sibling, Lars – thinking my terror was funny — posted our conversation on Instagram. And by conversation: I mean me typing a lot and Lars not doing that.
So, I had decided that my terror felt like my body was falling out of my skin; later, as Trump continued to gain popularity, it became just that my skin was falling off. I still have skin and a body, but it was really the only way I could adequately scream about how I felt. See? Screaming can be quirky. Screaming can be about skin falling off.
I ended my post this way so that you wouldn’t recommend anger management.
Did it work?