In the words of the pop singer, Meredith Brooks, “I hate the world today.” Which is odd because I’ve been sitting alone in my housesince the kids got on the bus. I’ve exchanged some emails, had a lovely chat with a super helpful sales agent (he restored my faith that customer service is not, in fact, an oxymoron), put away some laundry and wrote a whole bunch.
What’s there to be grumpy about? NIGHT BLINDNESS is in bookstores and selling well, SCAR TISSUE is all but done (just waiting to hear back from my editor). The first draft of book three is complete and I started book four. And, I have a job where I don’t have to leave my house and get stay in my jammies. Although it’s miserably cold outside, I’ve been inside since waving goodbye to my kids as they happily filed onto the school bus and found seats with their friends.
So what’s my problem? I could tell you, but it’s stupid and petty and I’ll get over it. The real issue is that as of three twenty three this afternoon when my kids get home, I’m going to have to be happy. Just suck it up, you tell me. Well, I wish I could. But, despite being told by an “expert” in the field that Ainsley cannot pick up on social cues, she is the most empathetic, tuned-in person I have ever known. If I’m in a bad mood, but smile and hug her when she comes home, even before I speak, she will ask me what’s wrong. I’ll give the “expert” this- Ainsley might sometimes ask why I’m sad when my real emotion is one of murderous annoyance, but the kid’s pretty sharp.
My foul mood has nothing to do with my kids. So I will be genuinely happy to see them. But, they’re both extremely perceptive, so at some point in our twenty-seven minute drive to the ponies, I’m going to have to answer them when they ask what’s wrong. Coop is ten and Ainsley is nine, so I have to watch my mouth. They’re pretty cool kids. They’ve heard every curse word known to man and a few that my dad made up. They actually converse back and forth with adults. But, I don’t think the answer to, “What’s wrong, Mommie?” should be, “I f***ing hate people, sweetie.” So, for their sake, I will sing along to the radio and put on a smiley face that they will know is complete BS.
It’s everybody else who I will encounter today that is bringing me angst. For example, I know the second I’m a bit short with someone over four and a half feet tall, I’ll get the third degree. You may have read enough of my blogs to know the following about me- I’m not nice enough to make things up so that others feel good about themselves. That statement, of course, excludes my children. For them, I would do anything- including chit chatting with the skinny, pretty moms in this town who I never call by name because they all look alike to me. Oh- the things that must be done to score playdates. But, if a grown up asks what’s wrong, and I tell him or her that I’m grumpy, why can’t we just leave it at that? Suffice it to say, if you’re the reason I’m pissy, you’ll hear about it. If you just happen to be in the same general space as me, then could you please leave me alone?
Does anyone respect the completely insincere phrase “I’m fine”? Everybody knows that whoever says they are fine most certainly is not. But, we should all know by now that “I’m fine” is also code for “Please leave me alone before I bite your f***ing head off.” My philosophy- if I tell you I’m fine, even if it’s clear that I’m not, I cannot be held responsible for my actions if you continue to poke the bear by asking said furry, grouchy animal what’s the matter or telling the beast with the killer claws that she doesn’t look fine. Take if from the bear- move on.
Would it kill the world to take a page from Kurt’s book? He always tells me I don’t even have to talk. My expressions say it all. He can tell before he opens the garage door if the answer to any question he might ask is going to be, “I’m fine.” In that case, he bypasses speaking to me altogether, fills a plastic Dora cup with wine straight from the box, sticks a bendy straw in it, opens my office door just wide enough to fit a plastic Dora cup through it, slides it in, closes the door and tells me he loves me through the safety of an inch and a half of wood.
I’m not asking the chipper moms on the playground to drive around with alcohol in their cars. Nor do I want the after-school activities people to give me a wide berth. All I’m asking for is the right to be silently grumpy without having anyone trying to fix my bad mood or worry that they caused it.
And once again, I am reminded why I’m a writer. After taking a fifteen minute break from novel number four to get my ya –yas out (as Ainsley would say), I feel so much better. Although writing doesn’t bring me wine the way my unbelievably kind and tolerant husband does, like him, it always makes me feel better. So, for now, the bear has gone back into hibernation.