Sisters, a warning. This week I am cranky; spicy, radishy, salty, swashbuckling. Oh, I can tell you what I believe. I believe should be more gentle with ourselves and others. We should let ourselves off the hook sometimes. Maybe, learn to say conflict-de-escalating things like: "Yeah, Nickelback are really an under-appreciated band." And "Yes, please tell me about whatsisname, that rugby guy's wedding, I'm so interested to hear all about it." (Seriously, his name slipped my mind. Congrats and all.)
So, do I actually practice this kind of tolerance in my day to day life? No, dear reader, I am ashamed to say I do not. In real l life, I frankly, argue with everybody about everything.
Here's a quick and dirty summary of a few of the arguments I have had this week.
ONE: Auckland Transport. I woke up to the sound of a tow truck. I ran outside, ill-advisedly in my slatternly night attire, shrieking. No bra. Fishwife, I think is the word my mum would use.
TWO: Psychology Today. I wrote to PT, for whom I blogged very briefly. Why do they insist on illustrating every story, mostly about devastating psychological disorder and mental illness, with gratuitous pictures of fruity nymphets? Clickbait, I know. Waiting for a reply.
THREE: Auckland Council (again). It's always advisable to bound up and surprise a man in a fluoro vest chopping down a tree with a chainsaw in neighbouring reserve. (I have form. I once climbed into an oak tree in Devonport that was about to be chopped down and the police had to be called.)
FOUR: Apple. A "dongle". Did my iPhone really need a wacky sidekick?
FIVE: Genesis Energy. They cut off my best friend's power even though he paid his bill in full and in plenty of time. But the bill was still going to the generic "occupier". So they just cut the power off without warning.
SIX: Massey University. Last year I applied to do a psychology paper but before I could even log on to the online forum, I found I had been accepted to another course in London so I had to withdraw. I had paid my fees in full and did not ask for them to be refunded, but now the university is relentlessly pursuing me for $180 for "non-tuition fees", whatever they are; student union gigs or something? Norml rallies? Beats me, but something else to yell about.
SEVEN: AUT scientist Charon Lessing said I was "misguided when I claimed I had a bad reaction to a generic version of the antidepressant Effexor". (See last week's column) I checked back with my psychiatrist who said she was sticking to her diagnosis that I had developed serotonin toxicity. Still, I wrote to Dr Lessing, partly because I hoped she might be related to Doris Lessing, but I haven't heard back.
EIGHT: The Times of London. Thanks for ringing me back in the middle of the night.
NINE: Countdown Supermarket, Quay St. I got a $50 parking fine for apparently "walking off" from my car. This can't be legally called a fine so they call it "enforcement costs" even though all they do is put a piece of paper on your windscreen. And their supermarket never stocks vanilla flavoured Fun Sticks.
TEN: Workshop Clothing. I took back the fancy blouse I bought two months ago because it went all bumpy and "pilled'. The shop assistant said no one else had ever, ever, complained. So the problem must be mine. Also, I appeared to have worn it. (They later agreed to give me a credit. Sometimes arguing is worthwhile.)
ELEVEN: I had arguments about Sir Bob Jones, who criticised people who resort to begging. Bob, if I didn't have the support I have from my family it could be me out there shaking my polystyrene cup. We're all a few steps away from catastrophe. Just functioning day to day is bloody hard for many people.
So c'mon, be honest with me. Doesn't this seem a lot of very stupid, trivial, self-immolating, snowflake arguments to be bothered having in a single week? Do you think it is possible that I am transferring my fury about major geopolitical issues onto some less threatening and more accessible targets, like local shopgirls, and parking wardens and Bob Jones?
The problem is I would really rather be out protesting with Lena Dunham and cool chicks who with placards that say "Melania, blink two times if you need us to rescue you."
Let's make sure our righteous fury is going to the right place. From now on I am going to try and save my arguments for the battles that matter, not waste them on non-events like parking tickets. To quote Kingsley Amis: "All his faces were designed to express rage or loathing. Now that something had happened which really deserved a face, he had none to celebrate it with. As a kind of token, he made his Sex Life in Ancient Rome face."
To the barricades, ladies!