An imaginary conversation about anger

Why do you get so upset when you think I’m angry?

I don’t. Your being angry isn’t about me.

You are quick to push it back on me when you do something would make any normal person angry, or at least irritated. I’m not angry as often as you think I am, anyway.

Bullshit.

There are things that I get mad about, just like there are things you do.

Don’t I apologize when I do something you don’t like?

Sure. But then after telling me it will never happen again, it does.

No.

Yes. And each time you apologize and say it won’t happen again.

I shouldn’t apologize?

You should actually stop doing the thing that makes me angry in the first place if it’s a reasonable request.

I do what I say I’ll do.

For a while. A  month. A year. But that’s achieved by not talking to me at all.

That’s not true.

It is true. It feels like you punish me for speaking up.

No…

Or like that’s all you have to say to me. It’s all on your terms or there’s nothing at all.

Definitely not that.

Do I have to keep guessing?

No…

No? Are you embarrassed? Angry? Sad? Afraid?

A little bit. I don’t handle anger well. I withdraw.

Do you think you might be too quick to see it even when it doesn’t exist?

I guess, but mostly I just can’t handle it when people react to me with anger.

So much that you handle it by punishing me with silence for speaking up about how I feel?

Now you’re angry.

No, now I am asking you questions that you find uncomfortable and you are attempting to deflect it onto me by saying I’m angry so you have an excuse to avoid a conversation.

I can’t talk when you’re like this!

What, logical?

No, emotional.

I’m a little of each at the moment. Feelings make a person feel. Not angry, for the record. Still. The question stands.

What is the question?

Why you shut down when any actual emotion is displayed?

I don’t think I do.

So when I disagree with you, or ask you not to treat me a certain way, you’re totally fine with it?

I guess I was hoping I could have it both ways.

You mean you want to have your cake and eat it too.

Well. It sounds shitty, but pretty much.

Am I I ever unclear about how I feel about things, usually?

No. You’re annoyingly clear about what you don’t like about me.

Thanks for putting it so kindly. I’m pretty clear about the things I do like, too aren’t I?

Yes, you are. But you’re fixated on the bad stuff.

It’s really just one particular bad thing over and over.

Don’t be mad. I can’t talk to you when you’re mad!

If anything I am puzzled. And sad.

Why?

About why I continue to let you play this game with me.

It’s not a game.

It shouldn’t be. So if I seem angry right now, you’re right. But not at you. At myself.

It’s not that simple.

It is. It really is. You just have to treat me like a real live human being with feelings.

I feel like you push me away. I am thinking about everything you’ve said.

That’s good. I’m not sure if I can keep this up if all I get out of it is what you want. There isn’t much in it for me.

Don’t give me an ultimatum.

It isn’t an ultimatum, it’s a clarification of my feelings.

I’m a good person.

Yes, you are. So am I.

Yes.

Let’s just treat each other that way, can we?

An imaginary conversation about bubbles

It is really hard to take a picture of a hand holding a bubble wand sticking out of a car window on the freeway.

I suppose it…wait, a what now?

A hand. Holding a bubble wand.

Going down the freeway.

Yeah. Blowing bubbles.

Uh. Bubbles?

Out of the passenger window of a black SUV.

While you were in your car.

Right behind their car.

And you were driving.

Who else would have been driving?

And so your first reaction was to take a picture. While driving.

No. My first reaction was to stop crying and laugh because the bubbles were so fucking adorable. Taking a picture was my second reaction.

I don’t even know what to say now.

I know. It was pretty cute. You should have seen all the bubbles.

No, I mean about the crying. Or the in car photography.

Oh, I cry on the way home every night. You should be more worried about the in car photography. And don’t sigh at me.

You make that challenging.

Anyway,  traffic started to move so I immediately put my phone down.

Immediately? No you didn’t.

Nearly immediately?

Maybe.

Well, anyway. I put my phone down.

What’s the deal with the crying?

Nothing. Just the usual  thing where 2018 thinks it will be able to kill me if it just keeps trying, and it still hasn’t given up after 3 months. So I cry.

Work?

Work. Personal. It all sucks and I’m in limbo on every side.

Your friendship side seems to be working fine.

True story, but even then…two of my most favorite people are beset with the same sort of shit that I am.

Did you really just use the word beset in conversation?

Maybe. You should pay closer attention.

I’m sure you’re right. So why do you cry in the car?

Because I have to act like I have my act together all day at work. Usually, that is not difficult…but this month I just don’t have it in me to keep it together all day at work and NOT cry on the way home. It’s all I can do to get to the car sometimes.

I guess there are worse ways to handle stress.

Well, with the whole fat camp thing I can’t handle it the usual way.

Booze?

No, potato chips.

Really? Not booze? I thought you were a bourbon fan. And IPA.

I am, but not when I feel like I really need a drink. With my family history, when I feel like I really need a drink I know I can’t have one. And I hate to drink alone. I’m a purely social drinker. Get me in a happy situation with all of my friends and a good glass filler and I’ll drink all day.  Not when I’m stressed out.

Good to know.

My drug of choice is the chip. Or mashed potatoes. I’m not sure it’s much healthier to eat my stress than it would be to drink.

Maybe not.

Anyway. I’ve been mostly able to handle the stress without turning to carbs. Kind of a miracle. The most stressful 3 months of my life, and I’ve lost 18 pounds.

Well done.

It’s probably not due to my healthy diet. The way this year is going, it’ll probably turn out to be a terminal illness or something. Which I will be diagnosed with just after losing my job and insurance.

Ordinarily I would tease you about being overly dramatic, but this has been a horrible year. Maybe you should get a checkup.

An imaginary conversation with my cat

I don’t think you respect my bodily autonomy.

That’s a big expression for a little kitty.

See? I’m a grown up cat, but you talk to me like I’m a baby.

Maybe that’s because I spend so much time cleaning up after you.

I don’t have opposable thumbs, you know.

No one forces you to lick the carpet and get hairballs that make you throw up all over the floor.

The carpet is very tasty, and you won’t let me go outside to catch mice or birds.

I’ve seen you with a mouse. You made no attempt to catch it.

I was studying it.

You had no clue that you were even supposed to try to catch it because I feed you every day.

Do you think you’re infantilizing me and forcing me into a childish posture I should have outgrown by now?

Maybe you should go outside right now and play in the snow.

What? In the cold! I hate having cold paws…

Grown up cats live outside all the time.

You’re just repressing me. Just like in that movie with the autonomous collective.

Monty Python?

You never think I pay attention.

You’re more than welcome to join an autonomous collective.

Will you drive me to the meetings?

No. You’re a grown ass cat. Get your own transportation.

Can I take the car?

Do you have a license?

No.

Can you reach the accelerator and brakes?

No.

Do you have gas money?

You never give me an allowance.

Take a bus.

Can I watch “the Little Foxes” after you go to bed?

I don’t think you should watch Bette Davis any more.

Why not?

It gives you dangerous ideas.

I wasn’t really going to drown anyone.

Still.

You have no respect for my needs as a cat.

Watch Animal Channel.

You’re repressing me again!

Take another nap, Kitty.