Vices we love: Vices we love

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Vices we love

I have this theory: When people are pissed off at you, that's when they tell you honestly how they feel about you. A good no-holds barred fight gives them the opportunity to tell you all the things they have wanted to say to you but held back from. When I was a kid, a good fight at home always included references to how stupid, ugly, cruel, etc... the other person was. It was not about the moment- it was about all the things that they had been wanting to say to each other- all the dark things that they had suppressed for the sake of keping the peace. At the end of it, though they always made up, it didn't feel- at least not from my perspective- that they had the same relationship as before. Because now the other person knew what lay in their hearts- what their true nature was. Maybe there is such a thing as too much truth.

I'm not directly confrontational. Instead, I tend to avoid people whom I percieve as having hurt me. My mother calls this avoidance and makes it sound like a bad thing. But is it really? To me, avoidance is the essence of self-presevation. The world is full of people out for themselves. It is packed with users, abusers, leeches, people who will skin you alive just for kicks. I used to work for a woman who once threw a mug of coffee at me. What do I say to such a person? Or how about the high school history teacher who opined that Hitler was a wise and brave man? (Some milder and less emotionally draining examples.) I shouldn't have to sit them down and explain:

"Leslie, coffee is pretty darn hot. If you throw a coffee pot at someone you may burn them."

"Mr. Yeager, Hitler put my grandmother in Auschwitz. Maybe he wasn't such a great fellow?"

No. I choose not to play kindergarden teacher to the world. I figure, Leslie, Mr. Yeager and tons of others already know what is right and what is wrong. Which path they will follow is entirely their choice. If you choose to hurt someone, if you choose to use someone, if you choose to treat them like dirt, that is your responsibility. I have no sympathy for people who have been hurt and then use that hurt as a reason or pretext to lash out at others. It is the most selfish, despicable thing to do in the world.

The one emotion I cannot cope with is anger. I have never found a way to appropriately respond to it and I think most people close to me sense that.


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