Things I have learned (or re-learned) this week

  • Defending yourself against a charge of being neurotic is impossible.
  • Likewise, if you start explaining that no, actually, there’s a reason every day devolves into drinking, the person critiquing you will nod as if thinking, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
  • Emotional investment leads to weariness.
  • So does parenting, over-scheduling and the aforementioned daily drinking.
  • The antidote is the same as it ever was: slow down, eat right, leap into the ocean.
  • Poetry helps.
  • Impulsive spending does not.
  • To be welcomed should be expected, but one must be girded for the times one is not; sometimes, one ends up seated next to a person whose politics are not only anathema to one’s own, but who feels no compulsion to refrain from attack for the sake of social nicety. Don’t end up a blustering fool.

“Don’t end up a blustering fool.” That’s sound advice regardless of the situation. Talk less, listen more, take time to offer thoughtful response. Unless a quick wit is called for and then I hope my brain is dulled by neither alcohol nor lack of sleep. (Clearly tomorrow – today – no one should expect a quick-witted response.) Did I think the red wine wouldn’t trigger insomnia this time? Why do we gravitate toward that which harms us? It seems an evolutionary flaw.

I feel too serious tonight, the result of a long week with too many commitments, so many commitments that even fun moments with people I love arrived accompanied by a twinge of burden. I was late for everything except the first obligation of the day; with no time to spare, every delay snowballed into increasing tardiness until I arrived an hour and forty-five minutes after the start of a Saturday night event. Bad form – although I found a seat in time to inhale a quick salad before the main course. Things do have a way of working out, which is good, although sometimes I find my bad habits enabled by this fact. As a friend quoted to me this week, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” – true to the extent that if you’re well-intentioned and likable enough, people usually will forgive. The danger – and let me acknowledge that like many things this week, I took this whole discussion too seriously – is that if the asking-for-forgiveness part becomes too habitual, you face being a lesser person than you really ought to be. Also, at some point, people will get fed up. Shouldn’t, ideally, if I’m true to myself and those around me, shouldn’t I have to ask for neither? Isn’t that how the grown-ups do it?

I’m reminded of how little kids can get away with a lot of behavior that would otherwise be obnoxious because they’re so cute – a cherub-faced four-year-old stamping her foot is an image flavored with sweetness – but at some point the cuteness wears away and the child is just another gangly pre-adolescent bewildered that no one finds her cute any more, only obnoxious.

Imperfect metaphor, but it’s 4 a.m. and in between writing these sentences, the small dog has begun to pilfer the trash, which makes me think no one thought to fed her, so I supposed I should do it, only because it’s dark and I’m clumsy, I knocked over the lint roller, which hit the picture frame, which fell to the ground, creating a moment of ruckus in this otherwise quiet household. No one stirred, however; hopefully this means no one else will spend these hours awake and wishing to be asleep.

Speaking of which, this thought train’s derailed and I’m unsure it was worth the ride in the first place. Off to seek solace in someone else’s words.