The older I get, the more important it becomes that I am properly dressed for any occasion. Anger is one of those occasions for which the right attire is necessary; anger is one of those occasions that require a proper amount of underwear. This morning I was angry in my nightgown, and I yelled and gesticulated, and it didn’t really have the necessary effect because J thought it was hilarious that I yelled, waved my arms and stomped my feet, my breasts kept bouncing all over the place in a ridiculous manner. I dare you to try to be stern and convincing when people think you look absurd as you’re putting your heart and soul into getting a point across.
Never mind what the argument was about. All I’d like to point out is that, in the middle of my tantrum (which was not unjustified, I might add,) J couldn’t keep a straight face and, because his laughter tends to be contagious, I eventually had to give up on my bad mood because there wasn’t one single living thing in the house that could keep a straight face. Notice, please, I said “one single living thing” and this will include the felines that occupy our household.
At first, J was upset because I was upset. He did his usual hand-shaking rounds and hugged me, but this was not enough to diffuse my anger. What I needed, for the most part, was a chance to left alone to cool off and go back to my usual level of patience, but -the older men in my household being men- I was not given this chance. Before long, I was ready to have a combination tantrum/hot flash/diatribe and I would have been successful in stepping on EVERYONE’S toes had it not been for J’s laughter.
It is funny, in hindsight, that the one person whose ability to empathize is supposed to be impaired managed to be the one who made me go from angry to calm. For a moment, I saw myself through J’s eyes, and -even though I was tempted to tell him that we do not laugh at people who are in any degree of emotional distress- I could see that he was seeing something pretty funny. When J and I walk home from the bus, J will put his hand on the top of my head and gently move me from side to side while making a “booooing” noise as we move. I guess he’s channeling some character from one of his cartoons. Today, as I stood there raising my voice, flapping my arms and stomping my foot, J started bobbing his head uncontrollably while saying boooooing, booooing…and laughing.
After everyone had calmed down (both in terms of laughter and anger,) I went upstairs to make the bed and get dressed to go into town. I stepped into the bathroom to brush my teeth, still wearing my nightgown, and when I walked out, there stood J, smiling from ear to ear, with a brassiere in his hand. He started giggling softly, and then -handing me the bra- said boooooing booooooing and skipped off to his room as if he’d just done the wittiest, funniest thing anyone could possibly imagine…
Now, tell me, who can stay angry for long under such circumstances? Certainly not I, or certainly not for long. Because I believe that every person has a right to their own emotions and to an occasional outburst, I’ve added a note to the many that hang in my room, where I can read them to remind me of things that are important. I have “use plunger in toilet once a week when cleaning bathroom…toilet is lazy,” “sew buttons back on black trousers, blue skirt, white blouse, brown sweater,” “do not buy facial tissue with lotion,” and now…”do not get angry when braless.”
If I want to be taken seriously, that is…which, for the most part, I don’t.