Monday, November 15, 2010

Sorrow Vs Anger, Rounds Seven Through Twelve

Now take what happened to Tom a few weeks later. He's divorced for quite some time, but he married young and never really got the hang of meeting people and dating. "I saw this girl on the subway, right? She's cute, I even took a seat across from her just to get a good look. And during the ride, I notice a bunch of times that she's looking at me. At one point, I even looked up and down a bunch of times in a row and she was looking at me every time. And I did nothing. I'm not a forward guy, I'm not Mr Pickup Artist, hookin' up with girls on the subway. But dude, she was fuckin' checkin' me out! It wouldn't have taken much to just give myself a chance. Just say 'Hi.' Hell, just wave! Hell, just fucking smile! Fuckin' do something! Maybe you won't fucking die alone, 'cause if I keep doing nothing, that's what it feels like is going to happen."

Now, I'd originally thought that this is where sorrow trumps anger, because this is what Tom has to live with. It's not a burst of emotion, he's walking around with the knowledge that he failed to act and it may have cost him something. Whether it really did or not is not really the issue. That's the point; he doesn't know what trying to connect with this girl would have led to, and he never will. Better to try and be rejected than always wonder how your life might have turned out if only you'd captured the moment.

This kind of sorrow eats away at you. Anger's got nothing on that. But then I thought about Tom's tone when he told the story. He was indignant, almost spitting the worlds out. At who? At the girl? No, of course not, she didn't do anything wrong. Tom's anger is directed towards himself. That's not the revelation, that much is pretty obvious. But how is sorrow defined? If you think in terms of Tom, sorrow is really an inverted form of anger. If someone stole something precious from you, you'd resent them for it. Tom resents himself, and people who do generally have two reactions: acting out or acting in. Instead of taking things out on those around him, he turns it inward and responds by not allowing himself to be happy, sinking his emotional state to a low ebb that seems hard to escape.

So that's sorrow, and that's anger. So what the hell was up with that guy in the supermarket? Maybe in that case I'm mistaking anger for rage. Fuck, negative emotions are definitely not concrete. You didn't think being an angel was easy, did you? Well, maybe for Marley it is, but for reformed misanthropes like myself, there is a bit of labor involved.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sorrow Vs Anger, Rounds One Through Six

God, it's been crazy lately. Approaching our "on" season. It always gets busier in winter, you know, seasonal affective disorder and all. And now baseball season is over, and as you can imagine, Sashial and I were pretty unhappy about what happened to the Yankees. Lira's response was pretty much in character. "Maybe you two will actually stop worrying about a bunch of euphoric millionaires and get back to actually helping people who need it."

"At least I'm fucking passionate about something," said Sashial.

I chimed in with, "And you know I've been working my ass off, once the weather broke the depression was overwhelming."

Lira smiled, "Baby, it's been well over a year now, the fact that you still can't tell when I'm not serious is so sweet in its imbecility."

"Oh I know when you're kidding," I said, "and I'd laugh it off but I know sharing belligerence is what you live for."

Sashial grabbed my neck and shook me. "I fucking love this guy."

Speaking of
belligerence, this kind of leads to a question I've been wondering lately: which is worse, living with anger or sorrow? My first thought was sorrow because that's been my experience, but when I thought deeper I wasn't so sure. Then I tried to think of what was typical. One recent job I had was this guy who was seething with rage, all because some douchebag in the supermarket cut in front of him when they opened up a new lane and then claimed he was letting him go first and got all self-righteous about it, starting in with, "Oh, Jeeeeesus, I mean GOD!"

"Real fucking condescending crybaby shit," my subject told me. We'll call him Tom. "Yeah, he was letting me in, that's why he ran in front of me and got to the line first, that fucking liar, god, when I think about it I just want to find the guy and punch his fucking face in." And Tom's not a violent guy, the guy's attitude just really got under his skin. This kind of crap is pretty easy, you just give them a stock line about how sad the other guy's life must be to pull stupid crap like that, they calm down and by the next they've practically forgotten all about it.

That's the thing about most forms of anger, it's usually an emotional reflex, a short term visceral reaction that's often bigger in your head than it is in real life. The sudden onslaught is like an emotional assault you perpetrate on yourself, that's why the way you see it can be skewed. Especially in this case, because who knows if that guy in the supermarket's intent was malicious or not? It could just be Tom's perception. Why is that? I later had another run in with Tom that shed some light on things. Or so I thought, 'cause it also made me think my theories were a little off. But more on that tomorrow (hopefully).