Thursday, December 21, 2006

Angel Hair Morning

The world is wrapped in mist this morning, a mist so thick it feels like doubt. Serious, existential doubt, the kind that keeps you from seeing things your heart tells you are right in front of you. Unless the world reconfigured itself last night, the pond is still 15 feet beyond my windows, yet it has ceased to exist to those who accept only what they can see. That group, I fear, has too often included me and my doubts about myself and my inability to trust in what I know without knowing how I know.

Does anyone else remembet angel hair? It was soft, white, slightly irridescent strands of fluff that we used as a Christmas decoration when I was a child. I no longer remember exactly how we used it, only that it was wondrous stuff and I loved to pull it apart to watch the strands separate themselves.

I'm having trouble seeing the strands separate themselves this morning. It's not the mist outside, though. It's the mists inside--the clouds of unknowing despite "getting it" for a few seconds every great once in a while.

In a comment yesterday, my wise friend Reiman wrote: Getting it is easy. Doing it takes diligent practice and reflective meditation.... to remind us.

Geesh. Truer words have rarely been spoken. Not two hours after I typed that post, I found myself shouting at a young man in a Sprint store. My phone, which was weeks past its warranty period, had up and quit on me, and I stopped by the unfortunate young man's store for help. It was his sad duty to inform me I had to buy a new phone because the one they sold me last time was BUILT TO BREAK just past its warranty period because the old one was beyond repair. To add insult to injury, he also informed me I had to pay an "upgrade" fee of $36. Yes indeedy, I'd have to shell out slightly more than $150 dollars to continue having exactly the same thing I'd had the day before—the privilege of pouring money into Sprint's coffers every month.

I politely declined the opportunity to pay the extra $36 for absolutely nothing, explaining that I didn't want to "upgrade" anything, I just wanted to continue to make and receive calls. He broke into his company spiel; I objected; he retorted. Feeling totally unheard, I smacked my hand on the counter and shouted—truly shouted, "Do NOT fight with me until you've listened to what I'm trying to say!!!!"

Before the breath propelling the shout had whistled past my teeth, I was horrified. It felt like my real self was up in a corner somewhere, watching a much more mentally ill version berate a young man doing nothing but his job. I've yelled at someone in public no more than two or three other times in my 52 years on the planet, so it was as though an alien had taken possession of my larynx. Well, more like my brain. After all, this was happening not two hours after I "recognized" what's worth fighting for.

I apologized (immediately, profusely, and often), bought the stinkin phone, paid the stinkin $36 dollar fee, and fled, leaving an invisible trail of guilt and shame behind me. For some peculiar reason, I've confessed this bit of ugliness to almost everyone I've talked to since it happened and now I'm confessing it to cyberspace. As I type here, it occurs to me that maybe I've been looking for absolution, unconsciously wanting others to tell me it's okay to yell at someone every decade or two, that cell phone company employees are used to being abused, that my guilt is groundless. The thing is, I know it's not okay.

The world is wrapped in thick mist this morning. Impenetrable, insubstantial, impossible mist.


Anonymous said...

I love this post, Jerri. I want to say - very accurate writing, though that's not quite it. You seemed very aligned in the writing and the words beautifully reflect that. I think denial is the killer. As long as we own our 'shadow' and keep the conversation open with ourselves and others about it, well, then it's just the journey. Everyone negotiates the edges and I think it's refreshing a) to allow the intensity and b) to openly share about it. Prema

Freakin Blogger won't let me post as myself

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think it's perfectly sane and quite reasonable, to expect/demand that people listen to what we are saying, before arguing! More of that! Less guilt and shame afterwards, I say!

Michelle O'Neil said...

I think it's great you told this young man that it is not acceptable to try to manipulate you. Perhaps you taught him a lesson? Perhaps he'll decide whatever pennies Sprint is paying him isn't worth it and quit. Either way,you probably did him a favor!

Screw "nice." No means NO.

Bah Humbug!