A few jobs ago, I was sitting in on some bull-shit seminar about managing stress and anger. Lo and behold the speaker’s cutting edge remedy for the latter was: counting to ten.
If I wasn’t getting a free lunch out of attending, I likely would have resigned immediately afterwards, as that sort of company culture is abysmal. However, you have to remember, I was living in Nebraska where the only sort of upset is derived from an ill-fated corn crop or an anti-immigration movement getting broken up by the police.
Flash forward to today and lucky for me, I rarely get angry. Actually, I take that back. I get angry so often, that I have become immune to actually doing anything about it. My philosophy is that if the event falls somewhere between M Burger forgetting the special sauce on my cheeseburger and a friend flaking out on a coffee date, then I’ll just eat a carb and tweet something passive aggressive before I move on with my day.
But recently I felt the need to wage an undeclared war (on a loved one, of course) regarding a stimulus that I seemed to think fell outside my designated peace-bracket. And in the moments leading up to what can only be described as “flying off the handle,” something very odd happened.
I counted to ten.
I don’t know how it happened, or why, but the seminar from several years ago caught up with me in the here-and-now. Though I’m sure those moments are meant to restore proper breathing and slow the heart rate, I used them to breakdown my breakdown. Enjoy…
Moment 1) What do I have in my hand right now? Should it be thrown? It’s a $600 purse and my very-expensive sunglasses are just kind of floating around in it along with all 24 of my keys. Fuck it, I need to make a point.
Moment 2) WAIT! If I do throw it, what are the chances I break something? I don’t own this place and I’ll be damned if I don’t get my security deposit back in full. I haven’t whipped anything this dense across a room since playing dodge ball in 4th grade, I’m not sure I trust my aim…
Moment 3) Shit, I just threw it. No wall damage, but my sunglasses are for-sure broken.
Moment 4) This awkward silence is perfect for a smoke break. Where are my cigarettes? Actually, what kind of a question is that?…I don’t even smoke. Plus, I can’t really justify spending $13 on a pack of cigs when I really need that cash for a small Pinkberry with one topping.
Moment 5) This is stupid. What were we fighting about again? Oh, yeah, now I remember. BTW: there are no groceries or clean clothes to be found in this entire apartment. And if another bill comes today, I’m just going to write “Return to Sender” on it and hope my lights stay on until my out-of-town guests leave. Do we have toilet paper? I seriously can’t take it anymore. This is a Cymbalta commercial, isn’t it.
Moment 6) Okay, I need to bring the focus back to the issue at hand. Is this a Fight Night or not? Fuck. This would be a lot easier if I wasn’t starving and he wasn’t so attractive. #whitegirlproblems galore.
Moment 7) On with it. I’m a writer, I make words my bitch. It’s time to fire off something nasty.
Moment 8 ) Awesome. Now I’m using my powers for evil, not good. That’s always smart. I know I’m Jewish, but this is seriously the antithesis of WWJD? Have fun in hell, Emily.
Moment 9) I’m officially one sentence away from reaching a critical mass. If the next thing that comes out of my mouth is a dig on something like personal hygiene, then this relationship is probably over. But, if I raise the white flag ever-so-slightly, then maybe – just maybe – can walk away from this entire thing with a genuine apology and some decent make-up sex.
Moment 10) Apparently I’m a dude because I’m springing for the make-up sex. Here goes nothing…
There you have it. Not quite Letterman’s Top 10, but I have to say, we are getting along flawlessly again.
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