Tuesday, February 20, 2007

remembering tempers

A week ago, I drove to work for the first time. I left with no time to spare, which meant that I could not afford any extra stops along the way. Naturally, therefore, I hadn't been driving five minutes before I got stuck behind a garbage truck.
Patience, I told myself. It's a mantra I often find myself repeating. It's a throwback to older times.
Suddenly, I felt a strange pressure on the back of the scooter. I turned back to see what it was, and discovered that the driver in the car behind me had decided to inch forward while looking out of his window at the autorickshaw on his right. Which meant that he was slowly inching into my vehicle, which was now tilted at an alarming angle and practically falling from my hands.
I yelled, Hey, and Hello! (he bellowed help! and let me out! who knows where that's from?) The person in front of me turned back to see what the commotion was about, and kindly added his voice to mine. It was rather reedy and low, but it's the thought that counts, surely?
The car continued to inch forward.
I couldn't move forward, I couldn't move to the side, I couldn't move at all. My bag was falling off the front sideboard, the smell of garbage was in my nose, and all at once I lost my head. I let go the handlebars with my right hand and made a fist, and banged on the hood of that great big smug silver car. I banged and screamed expletives and watched the spittle from my mouth make tiny drops on the visor of my helmet. Naturally, the man noticed the insane woman denting his precious car and he stopped moving.
The light changed, and the vehicles moved ahead, and I went on to the office with an adrenaline rush I hadn't had in a long time.

When I was younger, I was famous for my short temper. Flare and flash, and explosions. Violent tantrums, more often than not. Banging my head on walls, banging my sister's head on walls, slamming doors, throwing things around. Later I progressed to less noisy methods of venting spleen - breaking pencils, tearing sheets of paper into shreds... I remember walking around in moods just begging for someone to trigger an outburst. I had a short fuse, and it was too much work to lengthen it. It was also much more fun being volatile.
Eventually, of course, I grew up, or grew wise, and I found ways around the anger. It still bubbled, one of those little background simmers, but any time the temperature got too hot to handle, I ran.
That day, I felt again the rush that being deliberately cruel gives me. And as I felt it, I missed it. A painful visceral ache. Perhaps the way reformed alcholics feel when they lapse and take a drink again.
I wouldn't know.

I am addicted to the strangest things.

P.S. cat's paw.
Sigh. I'm so witty I slay me.

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