Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Long-Sticking Anger

Okay, so here, maybe, is part of the problem with this training in masculinity. On my run today, I ran through an intersection where I had almost been hit once. I recalled that moment, and how the schmuck who'd almost hit me got pissed at me because his cell phone fell out of his hand when he slammed his breaks -- despite the fact that I'd had the right of way.

That was four years ago. In the middle of today's run, during a particularly blissful moment, I ran through that intersection and recalled that honking, swearing fellow. For the next mile, mile and a half, I obsessed about an altercation that never happened. I imagined him getting out of his car, some nasty words, a scene from Rocky, a culmination of me breaking out seventeen-or-so precise martial arts moves that (I hope) I've picked up over the years by watching Jean Claude Van Damme movies.

In reality, I tucked my eyebrows and gave him my most expressive frown, indicating neither that I was sorry or he was forgive, but that he's probably the dumbest person in this hemisphere . . .

To what end does my (real or imagined) response lead? The more I thought about what a jerk the guy probably was all the time, and certainly was that moment he swore and bird-flipped me, the angrier I got. I calmed down again as I reminded myself, as I had reminded myself during the earlier run, the guy probably had a bad day or, more likely, has simply had a bad life.

Beyond that, yes, okay, I was raised tough, but I don't fight. I don't lift weights. I don't do push or pull ups. I've, admittedly, and, rather happily, gone soft. What am I going to do if some meathead rips the door off his Blazer and beats me over the head with it?

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