I should probably just keep my big mouth shut and maybe then I wouldn’t feel so sad when the person I said something to answers back with more vehemence and meanness than my remark warranted. I think there’s a whole lot of anger that’s resting just below the surface of a lot of folks these days. Like yesterday, when a bicyclist almost knocked me and a cane-less Harriet to the sidewalk — a very scary close shave that left both of us frozen to the spot afraid to move on — I yelled out to the girl, “Hey, this is a sidewalk! It’s not for bikes!” I didn’t think that was so outrageous. She glanced back, and responded with something rude enough that I won’t write it here. Afterwards, I was the one feeling bad and hurt and sad about the whole thing.
Then today, in a very crowded aquafit class, I made the same mistake. I said something to this very arrogant, smug man who, whenever he is in the pool, has the attitude that the water is his to use as he sees fit. I usually stay clear of him, but today, when we were doing a tricky exercise which required us to balance on our noodles and row ourselves to the opposite end of the pool — not something that Harriet is particularly adept at — there he was right in my path You have to appreciate that I was in the deep end where I am still a little nervous about flipping off my noodle and drowning or something moderately less dramatic. So, I said to him, “Why don’t you get a noodle and do this like the rest of us or if you don’t want to do that, don’t stand in the middle of the pool!” He looked me and spat out, “Don’t you ever tell me what to do!” I tried, as fast as I could, while still balancing on the frigin noodle, to get the hell away from him. But the more I tried, the more he seemed to pop up exactly in the spot where I was headed. I finally just gave up and stayed where I was. It soured — at least for a wee bit — my usual enjoyment of this class.
Why are people so angry these days? I mean, what happened to me here was not so awful, really, but it did bring me down and make me feel sad. It also gave me a quick reminder that I need to find other ways to deal with my frustration with inconsiderate people out there. I guess, if you put my big-mouth incidents in perspective, say, with what’s happening south of the border, it wasn’t so horrible, eh?
I have diligently ignored as much of the primary coverage as I could. But, last night, I slipped and made the mistake of watching a program focusing on a particular candidate for the Republican nomination in the US. I won’t mention any names — actually it could be any of them, I guess — but watching it I just got sad and very afraid of what’s happening in my country. Has all that anger and meanness and racism and arrogance always been there? I can hear some smug Canadian saying, “You doubt that?” I like to think the best of my country, but sometimes it’s almost impossible. I didn’t dwell on it but went to bed when the show was over. Then, like a very bad attack of heartburn, the whole show came back to haunt me at 4:00 a.m. when even the mildest of fears can expand to immense proportions. I managed to create a picture of the future which negated all the good that I know still exists there. So, in an attempt to out shout the nasty voices in my head, I started to recite my mantra out loud, over and over again, “All Shall Be Well, and All Shall Be Well and All Matter of Things Shall Be Well.” It didn’t work.
To make the whole “nightmare” of worrying about all this stuff at 4:00 a.m. even worse, last night we were “springing forward” with our clocks. Losing one hour was bad enough, but adding a couple more to it was awful. So that today, in addition to feeling sleepy, sad and worried about this mean world, I’m walking around with a jet-laggy fog hanging around in my head which, unfortunately, makes me grouchy and impatient. The cats are in hiding. So I promised myself and everyone out there on the sidewalks, to stay home once I got back from swimming. I don’t want to be mean to anyone today — the guy in the pool doesn’t count.