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A Series of Unfortunate Irritations

This subject has been written and blogged about before (and undeniably more brilliantly) in many different ways--most resonantly for me, "The Sneaky Hate Spiral" (in Allie Brosh's hapless and hilariously insightful Hyperbole and a Half), or more optimistically, playing more gently on the theme of Brosh's Hate Spiral, as "one of those days" (Brian Konzman, a Jesuit scholastic in The Jesuit Post) that present an opportunity to see the glass as half full or expand, through prayer or meditation or yoga or whatever, our capacity for patience and whatnot, or as the classic depressive cycle that is kicked off with irritation, frustration and restlessness as can be found in just about any artist's self-reflecting blog on the internet.

So I'm not covering new ground here. Although when one is slogging along, deep in the tangled undergrowth of the circuitous path of the Hate Spiral, even though you're all oh-shit-here-we-are-again, it still looks as though no one mowed the grass for like, seventeen years, and you don't recognize anything. Anyway, when you're really deep in it, you wonder if you've ever been this deep, or if this will be the time you can't find your way out, if anyone will find your body.

And part of what resonates about the name, "Sneaky Hate Spiral" is just that--it's hard to say exactly where it all starts to go horribly wrong.

Looking back on my Facebook posts, there was some evidence of mental itchiness from run-of-the-mill irritants--

  •        Aggressively idiotic tourist-season traffic 
  •        People throwing litter out of their cars like this was the freaking 1970's  
  •        Painful pimple on the inside of my nose and one exactly where I sit! 
  •       A lost crown that required an unanticipated series of painful and hideously expensive       trips to the dentist.      

 While all this was amusing fodder for my crazycake rants, I can see I was increasingly getting mired in the absurd, obscenity-laced batshit frosting of it all.

But there were also underlying factors and events biding their time, picking away at my self-control  pretty much the same way I pick at my cuticles.

I know enough by now to warn the husband and children when I start getting itchy like that-- that this isn't their fault. I try to give them fair warning to keep clear and not to do too much teenage rebellion stuff--at least within radius of, say, how far I can throw a sewing machine. I don't often get that memo out in time to friends and neighbors.

Exhibit A:
My Career:
I'm in the process of switching out spring and summer eBay inventory for the winter inventory. It's a long, physically tedious process. The house is full of piles of clothes waiting to be photographed, piles of clothes waiting to be cleaned and mended, piles of clothes waiting to be weighed and measured and piles of bins full of clothes waiting to be listed and shipped. Piles of winter clothes waiting to be sorted, stored or returned.
It is a grim reminder that my career took a turn a few years ago and now here I am--shining shoes and removing grease stains from clothing that I simply can't figure out how anyone can afford at retail prices. Seriously-- $250 for a tank top? And then spill wine down the front--stand in the splash radius of a cherry pie??

Speaking of which, I give you Exhibit B:

I usually don't mind laundry. I kinda like the chemistry of stain removal. Making freshly cleaned, line-dried and ironed piles of folded laundry is a kind of masochistic aroma-therapy. But then I bought this at our fancy, new neighborhood natural food market:

I have bought this brand before. But not this super-duper concentrated variety in this super-groovy, eco-friendly packaging. I was feeling pretty dang virtuous: shelling out that premium price and toting it out in my little re-usable grocery bags.

It smelled like my laundry room had been occupied by a musty hippie commune and 23 pet ferrets. The odor then wandered and filtered through the rest of the house like a nosy little-old-lady wearing dimestore toilet water and made itself right at home with what smelled like a leaky kerosene heater and threatened to stay.
Super-pissed me off.

Then this:  Chapstick. In the dryer. Left in one of the boys' pockets! Yay! Sneaky grease Stains!

Then, a whole load of red laundry had a color run accident and I was so incredibly pissed I threw the entire load in the garbage.

Then, it all sort of cascaded down:

People who do unrelated things to "create awareness." Like wearing some little ribbon on your lapel. Or doing a walkathon. Or that bunch of celebrities that climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to "create awareness" for fresh drinking water. They got to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. People in Africa still need fresh drinking water. How did a bunch of actors climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro get fresh drinking water to people? I mean, I'm aware that they need water. Everyone needs water. But the whole goofy celebrity awareness circus still does nothing. So I was eating lunch and saw this bike. This sort of makes me want to bully this person. We all know about "bullying." Is some jackass biking around going to completely change human nature? Are we going to see this person and say, "gee, I should stop being a bully?" Or: "My kid should stop being bullied?" Obviously, the answer is yes. Biking to save gasoline or to prevent traffic jams might make more sense. Climbing Mt. Kiliminjaro to pick up litter that people left on the mountain, too. I wanted to take this person's front wheel.
There were also little things like this:
A flattened cheap fork that didn't properly fit a too-deep crockery bowl. 

 Sidewalks that end for no reason:


Smug people who, completely without irony stick "Adopt don't Shop" "Who Rescued Who?" "Shop Local" "No Blood for Oil" or those self-righteous "Coexist" bumperstickers on the back of their Toyota SUVs.

Low frequency beat played so loudly in cars behind you at traffic lights, that your own car rattles.

National Geographic articles--In one issue, they can go from how horrible it is that small town culture is being abandoned to how horrible it is that small towns are expanding and causing urban sprawl; people living in rural areas are losing their "rural heritage" to how ignorant people living in isolated small towns are; people are despoiling the environment; people aren't out exploring the environment. MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!

Gnawing one's cuticles to shreds, and finding nothing but small, weird-shaped bandaids left in the medicine cabinet.

Dead batteries.

Piles of dead batteries left in the junk drawer so you think they might be good batteries.

Live oak trees.

Mosquitoes in your bedroom at night.

Expensive clothing that gaps and pills.

Well-intentioned people telling me to "calm down" or that I'm "over-reacting." 

Has that ever worked?

Let me just say that I showed them what over-reacting really was.


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