Why am I so grumpy today? I mean, really, it’s not such a bad day. For a change, and I mean a BIG Change — the sun is out. I can even — if I ignore the definite chill to the air (I’m still wearing my Washington, D.C.-red-and-black-flannel-lined winter coat) — imagine that we’re having Spring tra la tra la. I even saw tiny little purple crocuses in bloom on my very own block! I know that sounds pretty pitiful to you folks who have already been through crocuses, daffodils, tulips and are headed towards lilacs and summer. All the color wheel already gone through and we’re still waiting for the yellows!I had this new-agey healer in DC who, when spring started creeping in, told us that we were in for the bliss of the yellow season moving into the purple and pinks all leading towards the grand finale of summer green. I didn’t have a clue what the hell she was talking about. But that was just about par for the course since I also had no idea what all of those squats and gyrations and what now seem like ridiculous poses she had me go through had to do with getting to the core of my problem. If she had just asked me I would have told her straight out that my problem was that I had just broken up with the ex-ex after ten years of not very much bliss. And I was feeling lonely and sad and angry and generally very sorry for myself. But she didn’t ask and I didn’t tell. Anyway, in early March — it was Washington after all and not Frigid Toronto — she came into the room carrying bouquets of forsythia and daffodils. “It’s the yellow season!” she gushed. I got it after that and have always remembered her and the colors every spring — but not her name and definitely not her exercises.
But that has nothing to do with my grumpiness today. Bah. Humbug. I woke up this way. Actually, I think I went to bed feeling this way. As I sat watching old episodes of House Hunters and Love it or List — I’m a big fan — I could feel this grumpiness seeping into my body like a flu. I should have just watched something uplifting and happy or put on rocking music and danced or whistled Dixie or something. That probably would have irked the cats but what the hell. No, instead, I just went to bed. Not a good idea since I know from experience that if go to bed feeling grumpy or blue or angry I’m pretty likely to wake up that way in the morning. And, besides, it doesn’t make for peaceful dreams that’s for sure. In the second part of last night’s double header, I had an 11 p.m. appointment with my acupuncturist, The Magnificent Miriam. When the appointment was finished, she turned off all the lights even though I was there, opened the door and I could hear the key turn in the lock. I was trapped. She just left me there. I tried to call out to her but, as in all dreams of this ilk, my voice didn’t work. She forgot me! I woke myself up.
It was a wee bit weird to feel that panic again. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. It all stems from an outing with my mother to the notions store one night. I was three or four, tiny, when my mother chose me to accompany her on one of her nighttime jaunts to buy something. In retrospect, I don’t think she really needed that thread and needle but just wanted to get-out-of-the-house. Sometimes she went alone but most of the times, she grabbed one of the little kids to go with her. I loved when it was me. There weren’t a lot of times when I had my mom all to myself. Well, there we were standing in the notions store. I came up to about my mother’s kneecaps so I couldn’t see what was going on way up there over the counter. But I could keep watch over the rest of the store. That’s how I saw the lady slip from behind the counter while my mother wasn’t looking and lock the door. I knew that we were going to be captives forever inside those shelves of zippers and shoulder pads and iron-on patches. I got sweaty palms and started tugging at my mother’s skirt. She ignored me. I was feeling panicky until, finally, she finished and the lady unlocked the door. For years after that, I never wanted to go anyplace after dark and especially near to closing time.
Now what does that have to do with my miserble self? Hmmm. But I do know that I should have stayed home with my grumpiness today instead of going out and making the mistake of getting on a subway and then a streetcar. If you’re already feeling snarky, riding either of those two conveyances is sure to make things a whole lot worse. It did. Even though it was the middle of the day, the subway was packed with equally grumpy people — or was it just my grumpy perspective imposing itself on perfectly lovely, happy folks? Maybe, but that definitely was not the case with that streetcar driver. He kept up a running monologue just loud enough so that all of us sitting at the front of the car would be sure to hear. He grumbled at every slow, cane-yielding, bag-carrying elderly person who shuffled their way up the stairs to “his” streetcar. He threw out mumbled slurs about his employer, all the other drivers on the street and even the weather. But it was when he said to my back as I headed down the steps at the front door, “What is this? You people don’t know how to go to the back doors?” that I had had enough. My grumpiness matched his and I told him that I was standing at the front door and was not about to walk all the way through the car to the back. He didn’t even leave the doors open until I got to the curb. I went home and wrote a righteous — grumpy — complaint about him and his service. It just made me feel mean and even grumpier.
So I hope this mood is gone by tomorrow — like a one day flu bug. I’m whistling Always Keep on the Bright Side of Life just to hurry it along.