“Always look forward.” JSM
I don’t have many pet peeves. Only a few.
I try to abide by the live and let live philosophy. People are, who they are, and I shouldn’t be frustrated with those varying things I can’t control. Right? Why be upset with the uncontrollable? It only make us upset, and it’s still out of our control.
The peeves I do struggle with however, are like fingernails down a chalkboard.
People who chew with their mouth open (smack, smack, smack), hypocrisy and fakery, hoax videos and prank articles, the plague of the selfie, arrogance and elitist mentalities, being forced to wait twenty minutes when told it should only be two, not served promptly at a restaurant (or fast food for that matter), and last but not least, what I call hindsight comments.
“Jere, you should’ve done it this way. Hey, it should’ve been done like this. Jere, you know what you should have done… instead?”
For instance, “Hey boss. I took out the trash.”
“Did you grab the one in the back corner by the garage door, before they picked up?”
“Crap! Nope, I forgot that one. Walked right by it.”
“You should’ve grabbed it.”
The brow furrows low, I cock my head to the side, and squint my eyes.
What’s done is done. Why bother saying that?
I can’t turn back the clock. Telling me I should’ve grabbed it, after the fact, is a useless and meaningless statement.
Most of my pet peeves I can ignore, unless it’s right up in my face. The ones I can’t ignore, the ones that get under my skin, become obvious and I force myself to remain calm and quiet.
At times a challenge. Live and let live.
I’ve learned quite a bit from hindsight. Looking back on the path and wondering if it had branched off just a little bit along a different crossroad, would the current adventure be different? Would it be the same, but with small differences? Would my baseball hat be blue, not solid black? Would I still be wearing a hat? Would my push mower be self propelled? Would I still be engaging in the same hobbies?
I think on that stuff often.
Because I enjoy the current path and journey, I can’t (and don’t) dwell on the subconscious realm of hindsight anymore. I visit it from time to time, reflect, and be thankful.
Looking back, I knew my stint at the Island was a temporary gig. I never signed a contract, never a formal agreement issued or an arrangement of permanence. I never dropped a deposit for rental. It was an unused piece of property on the outskirts of town which was available for my emergency situation. A last resort. A literal empty safe house hooked into the grid. I had comfort, heat, and was able to piggy-back off a neighboring WiFi signal and I transformed a bad situation into a livable one. A home for the three of us. Shelby makes four.
And I had pride knowing I did 99% of it on my own. That was a personal goal I’d set. I needed to prove I could be a single father and a solo entity. Statistics, numbers and stigmas be damned. I knew I had an uphill battle before me and the Island was designed to be my beachhead. A fortress of which I had sole control. My starting point to establish a base of operations and proceed forward with the new life. A place to conquer my demons and right my personal wrongs in silence and solitude.
Hindsight helped lead me down a road, which eventually guided me to a light bulb moment. I came to an abrupt conclusion one day. It was startling and intense at first, but when I settled into the idea, it became easier to digest.
What about this… what if it’s not about everyone else? What if it’s not ‘them’, the hateful world, and the haunting memories of the old life? It may be all about you. What if it’s just you? What if you’re the problem? What if it’s nothing more than the result of being your own worst enemy? Perhaps it’s time to swallow that pride, and rethink some things.
What do you need, to change about you? Stop trying to control, that which is uncontrollable. The emotions are irrelevant. Why hate and fear a scorpion when it’s natural tendency is to sting?
I had to rise above the victim mentality. Difficult at first, but once I absorbed it I felt better.
Then, I was better able to view the world, and the people around me, through a new unblemished lens.
Now, when pondering the things that once made me angry, instead, it produces a smile and a chuckle.
Still many moons before finding the light bulb. The email eviction from the Island, was only the tip of the iceberg. In six days I’d be homeless.
Don’t lose it. Keep it together. Suppress it and bury it down. DO NOT REACT IN ANGER! Breath, relax. Don’t puke.
I read the words over and over again. I read them until they blurred together, and were no longer coherent. None of it made any sense. Six days? Are you kidding me?
I minimized the window and dived into the ads for apartments and local housing. Have to stay in the school district. Have to stay close. Think about the kids. It has to be at least a two bedroom apartment. No pets allowed. No pets allowed. No pets allowed.
Oh shit! What about Shelby?
Apartments frown on specific dog breeds. Many insurance companies won’t allow certain types and sizes; no matter the animal’s temperament. The dog could be a gentle and loving creature, the best dog on the planet, and still not allowed. An ankle biter, high pitched “yippy dog” may be acceptable, but not a lazy Mastiff who weighs shy of one hundred and fifty pounds.
The Mastiff used to be classified as a war dog. They don’t necessarily have the best positive image.
I was up against a wall. To the point where sending my best friend to the kennel was the only viable choice, and it was suggested at one emotional moment.
No. I can’t send her away. There has to be another option. I have the money needed to migrate elsewhere, but can’t find a location accepting of my dog. Talk about fairness. Talk about irony.
Pets… So important. Just like a family member. Inseparable. There was no chance in Hell I was sacrificing my dog for a place to live. I’ve sacrificed personal meals to feed my dog, not a chance of sacrificing her for my own needs.
During that six day stretch I felt helpless and defeated and the time continued to tick by regardless. I found myself sitting on the bed when not packing boxes, checking for updates on housing options every hour through various websites, scratching Shelby’s ears with a trillion ideas running around in my confused mind, yet deprived of all focus.
My possibilities had evaporated. I couldn’t find what didn’t exist. To stay on task and maintain the goals now, was searching for a needle in a haystack the size of a barn.
When all seemed hopeless, a glimmer of light peeked through, and some of that focus returned. It was a darker light unfortunately. My anger reemerged, and the need to “feel” something different and opposite of what I was currently enduring, washed away the hopelessness, fear and pain.
Why is this happening?
Just something else I couldn’t rectify in my mind. Might as well add it onto the pile.
I won’t go into much detail of where my anger led me that night. All I will say is that it involved a car, a lightweight blunt object, a fistful of hate, and a bad idea.
My existence had brought me to the cusp of lunacy.
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