I’m not a big fan of tension.
Cohorts and friends have routinely (okay, maybe a half dozen times) described me to others as “the most laid back guy in the world”. Getting that kind of rep requires a whole lot of things, not the least of which is to politely ignore the nattering and churlish asshattery going on around me and blithely choosing to walk right the hell through it. Im not God's gift. Here's hoping you don't think you are either.
Jumping into the middle of someone’s histrionics, particularly when inflamed by alcohol, makes no sense to me. Why argue with an angry drunk? Chances are you’ll make no sense to them. Tuesday’s incident, as described previously, was one pre-designed to be confrontational by someone who is the very picture of sweetness and delight when sober, but off the tracks and train wrecking when not. Like I noted, it’s the sort of personality that seems to only express true feelings when inebriated.
Hell, when I’m inebriated, I get happy. I start wordsmithing out loud. Laughing. A little joy, a little dance. A little prancing in your pants, you know?
The other 6 days of the week it’s all about the mellow. I don’t go around with a half-stoned beatific grin all the time, matter of fact it might be a bit of a frown. Neutral, let’s say. Neutral in the face of drama queens and the boisterous.
I probably would make one helluva Englishman. Dry wit and all.
Hoovering up tension. I’m guessing that’s what passes for being laid back in the year 2005. I get a lot of that from my parents, who would listen to ranting and wailing with a patient air, shrug and go back to washing dishes or dusting bookshelves. They lived through a Depression and WW2. How on earth would some day to day blowup even begin to compare with staring down a machinegun nest or an eviction notice?
Tuesday was one of those unusual days when, in listening to a highly seasoned ration of pure hysterical bullshit, I didn't just cock an eyebrow and give the patented shrug or just say “You’re kidding me, right? This is what you’re upset over? Money? Why don’t you let me make you happy - I’ll go lay down in the street and let a paving machine run me over, will that do it? Sheesh.”
And the older I get the more I see it. People have no tolerance for patience. The slightest ripple on their particular pond brings a nasty snapping alligator to the surface with teeth bared. I’m not thinking exclusively of drunks here (although that seems to be the lighter fluid on that brand of charcoal, for sure) but stone sober people as well. “Satisfy my wants and need NOW! How dare you sit there trying to ignore me? My whole world is collapsing and you’re telling me ‘it ain’t no big deal‘? Screeeee!”
My maternal grandfather was a rail thin man whom family members claim that I favor in the looks and temperament department. He lived with my family for 15 years towards the end of his days after burying a quiet wife and fifty green years of marriage. A farmer, who lived through two world wars and economic hardship and everything that has happened since the late 1800’s. I never, ever heard him say one negative thing in my life and he had ample opportunity to do so. Whatever scenario, Gramp just sailed on through. He had no illusion of immortality. He had no reason to compete with assholes. There was no disdain for them, he just nodded, kept a hand to the tiller and died with little fanfare some twenty years ago. If I turn out to be half the man he lived as I‘ll have accomplished much.
Because he knew, as I hope that I do.
There’s but one ending for every one of us. 50 years, or 10 years, or 10 days from now. Your belligerence and bellicose raving will not only be forgotten, it will never have mattered in the slightest. If you get off on creating tension by golly have at it. Everybody needs a hobby.
Sunset on a long fishing pier, me. It’s out there, and twilight is sweet, isn’t it?
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