Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Upon which I shall base my New Year's Resolution

I believe that your birthday is when you should celebrate the New Year. If you make resolutions, you should be making new year's resolutions on your birthday - because that is when your new year really begins, is it not? And as my birthday is finally here, it is time for me to sit down and think about what I want to do with myself for the next year. Changes I want to make, things I want to accomplish. Don't worry - just like the resolutions everyone else made on January 1st, I will start out with the best of intentions, clutching a glass of champagne, slurring my words, and kissing everyone through my tears and regret, then looping arms and singing Auld Lang Syne loudly and out of tune - and then I'll forget all about them after I have sobered up. But for now, I have experienced a bit of a revelation, and I am going to go with it. A resolution I can resolve to be resolute about, if you will.

It all begins with a quote. I read a quote on Antonia's blog that I think is worth remembering, maybe even words to live by - because after I read it, all I could think was "This would fall into the category of Advice I Really Could Have Used Yesterday".

Not that being a day late and a dollar short is anything new to me, that is pretty much status quo. But after reading and then contemplating, I realized that last night, rather than playing the role of the put-upon dutiful employee, I was being a complete and total twat.


I mean, I can come up with all sorts of justification for acting like a petulant 5 year old. It did not help that I was riding a wave of "FUCK THEM you QUIT ALREADY" (a chorus of which had been phoned in from literally around the world) when I got there. Which is admittedly a bad way to start a workshift, I gotta give you that - but the truth is, you always have the choice to suck it up and be the better guy. Especially when it is just for a few hours. And in retrospect, last night - the last night I was scheduled to work - I could have done things differently. Left on a high note. Sucked it up and been the better person. Stopped being so fucking sure of my rightness when I was, in fact, so wrong - and obnoxiously so. I could have gne in there with a smile, enoyed the last night, and left humming a happy tune.

It didn't go quite like that.

No, the switch had already been flipped, the gears had shifted, and I wanted nothing to do with waiting on anyone. I didn't care what anyone wanted to eat, or if anyone was thirsty. I wanted to be home with my kids and my husband enjoying a nice evening completely free of commitments and obligations. Instead I stomped into the cafe, threw a fit, and stomped back out. If I was my mother, I would have given me a big spanking. As it was, I sent myself to bed with no dessert.

I am sure my replacement, who was also scheduled last night and got left holding the bag when I walked out less than an hour into my last shift, must be thinking "My god I hope this place doesn't turn me into such a shrew." Oh, honey, you have NO IDEA.

And so I will spend my birthday feeling like a badly behaved child, which is appropriate because on a regular basis I find myself wondering "just when, exactly, did I become the grown up?" This happens when I am faced with cleaning up someone else's vomit, or when the car breaks down or I realize that I forgot to pay an important bill, or I have to wake up much too early to pack lunches and drive children to school and be someone's mom for chrissake. I had that thought just today, as a matter of fact, standing in the orthodontist's office paying for my almost teenage son to have some sort of metal device screwed onto his teeth. "When did it come to this? How could I be responsible for this? WHERE IS MY MOTHER??"

Enough with the preamble and backstory. Without further ado I give you this quote. The Quote. A rule, if you will, to live by. Consider it MY birthday gift to YOU - because seriously, if I had read this 12 hours ago I would be sleeping peacefully right now and not sitting awake fraught with guilt and composing letters of apology to everyone that had to deal with me and that enormous chip on my shoulder yesterday, complete with foot stomping and dark glares.

Take it away, Doug:
"Seriously any time you ever feel sanctimonious I can guarantee that you are wrong - it's the feeling you get when you are avoiding complexity, when you want a lovely unsophisticated feeling of clear, honest vindictiveness and you feel utterly justified."

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