19 July 2005

A day late, dollars short, and my frustration in ample supply

I feel fucking stupid right now. The one question I should've asked yesterday, I didn't. I don't know why I didn't articulate it. I didn't even jot it down with my list of questions though it was foremost in my mind. It's not that big a deal as I'm only out the cost of a box of checks, but it's frustrating. I'm angry with myself for letting my hopes of what was true deter me from getting the facts before making a commitment.

On the upside, I'm less bothered that I was called stupid at lunch. Not "You are stupid," but "You don't have to give them those haircuts, Stupid," which somehow seemed less offensive than the former though conveying the same idea. "Don't take anything personally," from The Four Agreements came to mind: good in theory, but I didn't know how to let it go. Calling me stupid was pretty childish, I thought, since I was only trying to explain why people breed labra-doodles, golden doodles, and other poodle mixes. I'm well aware that poodles don't have to have those goofy haircuts; there are lots of other reasons people mix breeds. I'd suggested some of those reasons before being called stupid, so I knew rehashing them was pointless. My aggravation percolated as the conversation moved back to the best places to live article in Money magazine. It was a topic that interested me, but I couldn't focus on it.

If I'd even jokingly called my mom stupid, she would've held back tears, said she wasn't even allowed to express an opinion, and she likely would've sulked and snapped her way through the rest of the day even if I apologized. She can give teasing, but not take it, and she doesn't recognize that fact at all. She wasn't joking when she called me stupid; she said it to demean my intellect. If she realized how rude her intonation was, she didn't cop to it. That she resents my education despite her best intentions bothers me more than the actual dig; but I know it has little to do with me, so I didn't confront her.

I also know my own inflections are often misinterpreted, something that often feels like the doom of my family: surely inflections are learned behavior, and if you grow up in an environment where the inflections are often off, it makes sense that behavior would perpetuate itself. I've gotten better at recognizing my own inflection missteps and do what I can to make it right. My own behavior and reactions are all I can control, and I'm mollified by knowing that I'm doing the best I can in this aspect of my life.

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