Angry

Thank Mary, Mother of God, the pen and paper were in the backseat. That did not quite bring all the expected relief, but it sure helped. I’m the angriest I’ve been in years, and I’m not sure why.

That’s a lie. I had a date planned for today. At Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders. It was to have been the first date of my life. I’m 27 days from turning 26. A major step toward social comprehension, toward interpersonal competence.

I mentioned it to my mother, who went ballistic. “Jon, Sunday you’ll be at Disneyland, with your cousins, Chris, Katrina, and Ariana, and all those little cousin childs you’ve hardly ever seen. This has been planned for weeks. How did you not know? The problem with this family is no one ever communicates!”

So I cancelled the date. “family reunion. We’re going to Disneyland, apparently. People should tell me these things.”

I wasn’t mad. Disappointed, yes, especially when I discovered our weekday schedules were irreconcilable, but I’m nothing if not even tempered.

I’ve calmed down a bit now, writing this. I can drive.

 

I am not accustomed to anger. Sadness, yes, for reasons medium and small, but anger is a foreigner, slipped undocumented across my borders.

The date was arranged Friday or Saturday, and cancelled Saturday afternoon. It’s Sunday. I’m returning from Disneyland.  I’m writing this at stoplights now. Yes, I know writing at stoplights is a bad habit.

I got angry Saturday night when I was told that the reason I hadn’t been told previously that I was going to Disneyland was that I hadn’t been going to Disneyland. My mother, in believing I was going, was victim of a miscommunication. On hearing from mom that I’d cancelled a date to make time for Disneyland, my sisters, knowing very well the non-status of my love life, hurriedly arranged for me to come as well.

I shrugged and figured it would be good to spend time with the family. But the shrug wasn’t quite so carefree as they usually are. I was bothered.

Sunday, in Disneyland. With cousin Katrina, who I’ve always been close with, though it had been awhile and the conversation wasn’t flowing so easily as it had used to. Cousin Ariana, who’s always impressed me, with her little hellion, Audrey. And Cousin Chris with his wife Kate, and their three children, Rockie, Gracie, and Joyce. Chris and Kate won’t let their kids read or watch Harry Potter, think gender roles are swell, and I suspect they’re young earth creationist, but they’re beautiful people despite all that.

The new term starts Monday, tomorrow, and I’ll be teaching advanced ESL grammar for the first time. We’ll have gerunds after verbs the first week, and that’s one of the few major aspects of grammar that still confuses me.

I kept glancing at it on my phone. He is attending school. Flip it. Attending school is he. Not right, not a gerund. One of his tasks is attending school. Flip it. Attending school is one of his tasks. That’s right. Attending is a gerund. But why? I said that “Attending school is he,” doesn’t work, but poetry and Yoda both talk that way. Yoda puts the predicate first, but why is that the predicate and not the start of a noun phrase? Knowing what it is isn’t enough to teach it, I have to know why.

Waiting in line, (that waiting is a participial adjective, if I’m not mistaken) I finished Coraline. Good book. But it has that typical Neil Gaiman thing where a bunch of interesting events happen, one after another, without ever quite congealing into a plot.

Book done, I reached in my bag for my notebook and TEN DOLLAR fountain pen, but they weren’t to be found. Had I lost them? My temper went through the roof. I do believe I was briefly the angriest person over the age of seven at Disneyland. I said nothing about it.

I hadn’t brought my own car. I’d driven with my sister. I prayed I’d left my pen and paper in her backseat. I said to my sister, “I have an unreasonable request. Could I borrow your car, and then you can go home with Mom and Dad?”

She was reaching for her keys before I’d finished speaking, so perhaps my fury was more apparent than I’d thought.

The tram was mostly empty, so I let myself frown. That’s a luxury I seldom take even in my room. There were no mirrors on the tram.

You know the rest. I’m home now, finishing this in my hammock, because the route home didn’t have enough stoplights. Should’ve taken surface streets.

My first cousins once removed are delightful, but I would’ve preferred having a relaxing day preparing for work, punctuated by what I imagine would’ve been a two or three hour date, to spending 7 hours at Disneyland.

But I’m quite used to a dispreferred possibility becoming reality. It’s not what angered me. Trivial stuff that would normally slide right off. What angered me was the knowledge that what I would’ve preferred was how it was supposed to have been.

Thinking about it, the last time I was really angry, almost three years ago, it was also about something that “wasn’t how it was supposed to be.” A boss who believed that the correct response to advanced students was to teach the same lesson but talk more quickly.

I hypothesize, based on stuff I’ve read, that some people assume that whatever they would’ve preferred it automatically how things were supposed to have gone. I think such people must be angry a lot.

I think I’m not much good at dealing with anger because I don’t experience it often.

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