Sunday my husband and I stopped to make a purchase before delivering Easter baskets to our grandchildren. We came out to the car and I could hear a woman screaming obscenities. She was on the sidewalk we’d just left. I assumed the usual don’t look, don’t engage posture I learned living in the badbadbad part of Portland many years ago. I opened the truck door and got in only to lock eyes with the woman standing about 15 feet from me. She screamed at me, spit at me, and then swung her coat in anger and started stalking away. After a few steps she turned and spit again and then left. We watched her cross the parking lot into an empty field across from the store.
Homelessness and mental illness were obvious. It was a sad to see a person so corroded by a harsh life. Especially on Resurrection Day.
Fast forward to this morning.
Saturday I was kneecapped by a couple of family members. (Metaphorically. Not that we are such a high-class bunch, but there was no physical violence.) I live with one of the people and had tried to think rationally and keep my powder dry on this. Particularly since this person is in the early stages of dementia. (We are one step away from being that commercial where the guy’s father forgets how to brush his teeth.)
Anyway, today was the day to try and work things out. The person will not even acknowledge the actions of Saturday, and brought up a topic that she circles whenever things get tense.
And then she said, “And you’re always bragging about your writing.”
HA! Again I say, HA!
My writing career is pretty much a dried up husk. I published two books a million years ago and she thinks because I come upstairs to get some time alone to think, I’m bragging. I can feel the corrosion of my soul in the midst of this. Pretty soon, my soul will look just like my writing career. Or the lady screaming and spitting in the parking lot.
My point in all this is to ask, do you go for the knees when you’re arguing? My natural tendency is to try and hit a clever, snotty tone without looking cheap and low-class. Most of the time I can’t accomplish that so just walk away from confrontation.
What do you do when goaded?
BTB, I acted like a jerk and screamed at this person in my home. But only after she screamed at me. Yeah, that’s no justification. I think I need one of these: