Archives for posts with tag: Anger

I beg to disagree.

bestamessays12

I eagerly await each year’s Best American Essay’s collection. A handy little survey of my favorite genre. Even when folks moaned about David Brooks being granted the guest editor position this year I still had hope. He wouldn’t be writing the essays; he would simply pull them together. He would pile the years nonfiction gems into a little heap and alphabetize them. That’s it, right? Oh how wrong I was.

This year’s collection was a disaster. No exciting experimentation with form or style. Hell there wasn’t even much exciting content. These felt like near academic essays and let’s not even discuss why only six of the twenty-four essays were written by women.  These do not represent the best work American essayists have to offer. It’s too bad the great writing that happened this year didn’t get the chance to be honored in this esteemed collection.

I’m disappointed Mr. Atwan.

The girlfriend and I went to test drive a car today.

My stepfather left me a “guy’s car” when he passed away last year. I call it a guy’s car because it looks like a normal sedan to me but once a week a guy stops to ask me what year it is and if it’s fun to drive. Meh, I say, it’s horrible in the snow.

So, I’m thinking about buying new for the first time or trying to, at least.

Bright and early, we drove to the Subaru dealer in the suburbs. The one google recommended. I’m still not sure why we chose that location. All those shinny cars lined up. We walked around a bit then decided to go inside where a middle aged man reluctantly helped us. Very reluctantly. He didn’t seem to believe I was serious. Maybe I don’t look like the kind of person who really buys a car. What do you think that person looks like? Then, after the test drive, after all the appropriate mpg and road worthy questions, I asked about the trade in value for my car. He offered me a third less than the other dealers I’d talked to.

“Those chips on the bumper you see,” he said, with that smile car sales men have, “They’d have to repaint the whole car. This is the best deal I could possibly give you.”

Fuck you, buddy, I wanted to say. I know I’m just a girl who doesn’t know anything about cars. I know I probably asked all the wrong questions. But look, I want to give you my business. I want to buy the product you’re selling. Doesn’t that deserve at least a little respect. But I didn’t.

I smiled, thanked him, and threw away his business card as soon as I got home.

We woke this morning to a message from the downstairs neighbors that my bike had been stolen. At five AM they were woken by a racket outside, specifically, a saw going through chain (yeah this thief had balls, no tiptoeing about it). Anyway, they hollered and called the cops and he ran off but he had already taken my bike. He hadn’t yet sawed through the girlfriend’s lock:

I find myself not as angry as I’d expect. A little violated but not angry really. There have been a rash of bike thefts in Minneapolis recently, maybe that’s why I’m not mad. I don’t feel singled out or targeted.

There is a corner of my brain holding an outdated idea that when people steal they do so because they need to. The old stealing bread to feed the family concept. I just don’t think this kid needed my bike. I think he WANTED the money he’d get from hawking it.

I’m trying to hold on to the unexpected positivity because I’m afraid to let the uglier feelings in. I don’t want to feel afraid in my home or neighborhood. I don’t want to suspect every teenager walking past. In the end I’m glad we have the kind of neighbors who care enough to holler and call the cops. My warmth for them is filling all that space I expected to fill with anger.  I just hope I can sustain it.

When I sat down to write about my time in the Army I thought I understood memoirs and I knew I needed to read more books about war. I think/hope the best works about Iraq and Afganistan are yet to be written but Sebastian Junger’s War and David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers have set a high bar. I learned a lot from them but that’s another post.

Turns out I didn’t know as much about memoirs as I thought.

I know even less about the AK-47.

First of all, writing a book is hard. They are long and keeping track of characters is more complicated than you’d think. Second, and perhaps most obvious, straight chronology can be boring as shit. Today I had the kind of epiphany you can only have when you drink an iced Americano after not having caffeine for a week. Here it is: I have to start my story from the middle – a hook, if you will. Genius, right?! No, I know, but sometimes these ideas have to arise organically in order for me to understand them. Maybe that’s just me.

When we set up for the WOD yesterday the instructor said very clearly, “Find your pull-up spot. Get a box if you need it. There is enough room for everyone to have their own space.” I’m fairly particular about my placement and assistance needs when it comes to pull-ups so I waited by my spot while some of the other folks found their spots too. Yes, that’s right, some. Why didn’t everyone find a spot? Good fucking question. By the last rounds of the workout there were three other people using my spot on the bar. Turns out, I don’t like to share my toys.

This could have been another moment to project kindness and patience into the world. Good for them, pulling themselves up and such. I didn’t have it in me. I didn’t even have enough oxygen in my brain to count to back from ten.  So I worked faster, tried to shrug my shoulders at the right point and get to the pull-up bar first. And you know what? I came in second.

My irritation breeds strength, you toy-stealing jerks. Boom.

Crossfit is built on competition. Until recently my competition has been some badass 50 year old women. Yesterday, a new girl started. She’s my age-ish (late 20s, early 30s) and I don’t like her. The way I don’t like her is immature and unwarranted and deep in my chest. She wouldn’t stop talking about how much she loves pilates. Bully for you, I thought.

Then, as we settled into the WOD (Workout Of the Day), I realized she was cheating – not doing full reps for each exercise. My anger quickly synthesized into righteousness. The old high school gym teacher’s voice popped into my head “you’re only cheating yourself”. It’s too ugly a phrase to say out loud to a stranger but really what was she trying to prove? I wanted to beat her, get a better time than her. Even more, I wanted to win. So I did all my reps. I worked until my knees and elbows shook with exhaustion. Then, though she finished a full minute before I did, I won.

Thanks, new-girl.

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