After years of experience and careful self-examination, I recently came to a conclusion that most people assumed was laughably obvious.
I have anger-management issues.
Which means they probably shouldn’t point that out to my face, lest I punch them in theirs.
I never wanted to actually go this far in the stabby direction, though. I think it just sort of snuck up on me. First, I decided that maybe it wasn't necessary to be an emotional doormat all the time. Second, I turned into a bitch. There was no third step, until now. Unfortunately, sometimes trying to not be so angry makes me damn grumpy. It's a vicious cycle, I tell you, one that tends to make me bitey and punchy and all kinds of murderous rampagey.
Oh, Gojira, you get me. You really do.
...I may still have some work to do.
But, this is not a story about me #$&ing someone in the @#$@%@$^ with a #@$%@#$@ing @#%^, sideways, until they stop being stupid and rude. Oh, no. This is about me sticking to my peaceful guns, even as the universe keeps punching me in the mental kidneys.
You see, it hasn't been the best of semesters. It started with a series of crises that alienated me from some of my best friends, and steadily went downhill. A little later, I applied for veterinary school, which was a hopeful and enthusiastic process until the deadline, at which point two of the evaluators that I'd chosen to write me letters of reference failed to submit their letters by the deadline. The only way to get an extension on that deadline was to live in the midst of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.
Just fyi, I live in Kansas. We don't have much of that stuff, unless a tornado gets you, and zealous Christians and uber-conservative politicians don't actually count as terrorists, no matter how much fear they strike in my heart.
Mind you, I said “zealous Christians.” Reasonable Christians suit me just fine.
Anyways, long story short, my application was invalidated, or so I was told. Hours and hours of work, along with about $500 in application fees, went down the tube.
Then, just for kicks, I tripped and spilled an entire glass of water on my laptop. I’m just graceful like that. Unfortunately, I HAVE to have a laptop. Okay, not “have to have” in the survival sense, but it sure as hell makes my life easier. Where do I go for my entertainment? Internet. What do I type my class notes on? Computer document. How am I writing this blog at this very moment? Laptop keyboard. It’s magical, I tell ya.
I did all the things they tell you to do when you drench your laptop, but when I finally had time to take it to a repair shop, they told me I’d done the right thing for too long and that now I might as well buy a new laptop. So, I did. Well, my glorious, underappreciated mother did. I dedicated myself to declining her college-help checks for many months, in order to try and pay back a debt that made me feel like a clod the moment it was incurred.
What can I say? My mother’s the kind of mother who actually makes me want to be a better person.
Oh, and on a soap-opera offshoot in my life, the man I thought I might be dating showed up one night at a tango dance with another woman. No prior warning. Boy, I sure can pick ‘em.
Ultimately, this series of unfortunate events turned me into a very grumpy girl indeed. However, considering my recent shortage of friendships, I decided that I probably ought to try and not piss off the ones I had left. Thus began the era of a Brand New Kaitlin, one that actually tried to be reasonable with people before exploding into a righteous wrath.
However, how could I be the hero of my own small story without some adversity? That would make it boring. Yup. That’s what I’m sticking with. Sure wouldn’t want to be f*ing boring, now would we? Nope.
In the midst of my self-improvement craze, there came a day, a Monday, that tested me to my limits. You may read this story and think that I have very little anger control to begin with. You’re probably right. Again, refrain from saying this in my physical presence.
On that Monday to which I refer, I began the day in an emotional high. I received an e-mail from K-State indicating that they would like an interview with me to judge my value as a future student in the Veterinary program. Considering that I hadn’t expected anything but rejection letters, this came as a ridiculously happy surprise. The joy lasted for about 10 seconds. People are fallible, and people it was that had judged my application. Had they not actually counted my evaluation letters? Had they not seen my failure? Were they going to e-mail me again, saying that they’d made a mistake, that they’d sent that e-mail to the wrong address, that they wished me better luck next year?
To be sure, I wrote them an e-mail asking precisely that. I wonder how many of those they get.
“We’d like you to come interview with us! You are a valuable candidate! You’re not a failure at all!”
“…are you suuuuure? I don’t know that you’ve really thought this through. Have you SEEN my application?”
Knowing how bureaucracy works, I decided to squash my rising excitement like a pathetic little bug until I knew better. It was a hoax. It was a lie. Damn them, the big fat lying liars.
Later, I went to work, and was informed by a co-worker that I had a phone message; some woman had called earlier, claiming that I’d bounced a check with her company and that she needed to verify my address.
At first, I panicked. You already know I was in some rather dire financial straits, so it wasn’t implausible that I might have made that mistake with a check. However, upon calling them back, I listened to a voicemail recording for a company that I’d never even heard of. I called back a few times, just to be sure.
Then, as the anxiety began to fade, I started to actually think. First off, it’s not exactly professional to spread personal information about someone’s finances to whoever might answer the phone. Second, why had they called me at work? I never give out that number. Third, why on Earth did they need to verify my address? The whole thing stank. It stank like an unwashed sports bra. It stank like Sadie, my dog-niece, when she lets loose one so bad that she actually runs from the room in terror and confusion. It stank like when somebody hid a pork chop in the cereal aisle at the grocery store where I worked, and we didn’t find it for two weeks.
It just sucked, is what I’m saying, and something felt off about it, and it was starting to piss me off instead of scare me.
So, after work I headed directly to the bank, squinting through the sheeting rain as I narrowly avoided dying at the hands of other idiots like me out in the nasty weather. As I pulled under the drive-through awning, I put on my best smile and prayed that the whole thing really was a scam, and that I hadn’t just fucked up with my bank-keeping.
“How can I help you tonight?” said the woman at the teller station.
“…I think I’m being scammed.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda how I feel about it.”
So, I explained the situation to her, trying to avoid using any obscenities. I REALLY don’t like people who try to steal from me. I mean, I know there aren’t many people who would actually enjoy that, but it’s one of those things that hits me in all the wrong places and makes me seriously consider hunting people down like fleas on a dog and squashing them.
A story about a sociopath, or a man who actually gave money to a Nigerian prince?
Anyways, after looking at my financials on her computer, the teller concurred with my deduction. We sat there, commiserating over the immorality of man, until suddenly, my car rocked. We paused.
“Wait, was that the wind?” she asked.
“Umm…no. I think I just…got…hit.” I glanced in the rear view window, and sure enough, the car behind me was slowly reversing from where it had tapped me. And then a red film came over my eyes, and I didn’t see much else. Turning to “smile” at the bank window, I tried to keep my voice calm.
“Yup, looks like I’ve been hit!” I chirped. I may have overdone it. I could dimly see her smiling back, though her eyes weren’t in on it.
Cracking my door open, I stuck my head out of the car and shot eye-lasers at the car behind me. They’d just hit the wrong #*&-!*%$ woman, and they would not get away with it.
“Did YOU just HIT ME?”
Silence fell for a beat or two, and then a young male voice quavered back.
“Y-yeah. I did. I didn’t mean to.”
“Ah. Well, that’s good. As long as he didn’t mean to, that’s fine,” I snarled under my breath. The teller was still watching me.
“So…” she said.
“Yeah. Yeah, I got hit. I’m gonna go deal with this. Yup. Gonna have some fun with this one. Yup, yup, yup…” I didn’t wait to see if she was going to call someone authoritative. I figured I’d have at least a couple of minutes before they arrived, and that was really all I needed.
Having parked too close to the building, I had to awkwardly shove myself out of my car, but then I strode back towards the man like a fuzzy-headed Valkyrie of indignant rage.
Like this, but with more clothing and frizzier hair. Rain is not kind to the curly-headed.
Trying not to meet my eyes, he stumbled out of his car in a Steak ‘n Shake apron.
“I-I don’t think it did much. Like, it was, uh, mainly here on the bumper…”
He pointed to the offending scrapes. They were little black marks, maybe five of them the size of my pinky nail. Still, I wasn’t going to be a push-over, dammit. I was riding a high of productive fury, and I wasn’t ready to come off of it yet.
“I’m going to need to get your insurance information. I don’t know what I’ll do about this. You’ll have to wait while I figure that out.”
“Oh, oh, of course, yeah, let me go get that.” I almost felt bad, watching him stumble around, trying to make me happy, but then, I already knew I wouldn’t follow through on it, not for that minimal damage. I had very few qualms about making him think I would, though.
Who the hell rear-ends somebody in a bank drive-through? He’d already stopped the car once before he managed to pull forward a little and bump me. The idiot could stand to sweat a little, especially if he learned something from it.
So, we exchanged information, and I testily accepted his frantic apologies as I climbed back into my car. I didn’t feel like shoving back in the way I’d come, however, so I ended up having to maneuver in from the passenger seat. It might be difficult to keep any sense of dignity when wrestling a 5’8’’ body with broad shoulders over a console, but I used my anger as a protective cloak of don’t-fuck-with-me.
When I had finally settled myself, I looked back at the teller, who’d hardly moved during the whole thing. She gestured downward, and I looked to see a little candy bar sitting in the exchange compartment.
“We have more, if you want,” she said.
I may have cried a little. I may never switch banks again.
I finished my night by attempting to go grocery shopping, but ended up having to go back to the bank again to withdraw money when I remembered that I’d lost and cancelled my debit card the previous day. All in all, I arrived home a wet, pissy, and cold cat-like person.
I dare you to try and reason with that kitty. Go on. Give it a go.
Still, I also arrived with more or less the same amount of faith in humanity, and without any assault charges on my permanent record. Which was okay, I guess.
Oh, and I was wrong. K-State did know what they were doing when they sent me that interview invite.
Is this what it feels like to be a big kid?