Sunday, November 14, 2010

Swings and Things

Having just got home from traveling for a few days, I suppose it's not a huge surprise that I'm feeling a little emotionally taut today. I love to travel in the sense that I love seeing new places, and seeing great places again and again. I love being somewhere else--sometimes anywhere else--for awhile. But I hate to travel in the sense of getting to those places. Air travel, especially, as this summer's two-part blog post about the evils of Delta Airlines will demonstrate.

Yesterday was shaky getting home due in part to Delta Airlines and in part to weather issues. I found myself feeling that old anxiety, coupled with anger, fear, frustration, panic, dread. Things were not going how they were supposed to and it was all I could do not to lash out in front of my travel companions who don't know me well (it was a work trip). My gut reaction to these types of situations is either to get angry and sweary or to cry. Fortunately, I did neither.

Once we were on the plane, though, I had a very difficult time keeping it together. A fellow passenger was inconsiderate, and it pushed me over the edge. I had to put on my iPod, lean forward and close my eyes in order to avoid a full-on meltdown. I had a hard time breathing normally and I was in tears for about half the flight. So, yeah. Today's emotional roller coaster is the inevitable day of letting off steam. Going to the grocery store on a Sunday didn't help, but I digress.

What I didn't expect, though, was the meltdown I had while shutting my eyes for a bit to rest from grading. My mind went to childhood, as it often does, but this time rather than focusing on my own directly, I started thinking about my brother. Like me, he was teased as a kid. I remember a few instances of seeing him be teased, and I know of other times when I wasn't there to witness it. I remembered one cold day on the playground before school when we were standing and waiting to go inside. He had his coat all zipped up, including the fur-trimmed hood. The coat had an extended front part that covered the face more fully. I remember thinking it looked like E.T.'s head. We were standing against the building and a kid came and teased my brother about the coat. My brother said nothing in return. I remember being mad on his behalf, but I didn't say anything, either.

I thought about that day this afternoon, and other little things like it, and I just started to sob. Heaving sobs. Because how dare they make fun of my brother? How dare they not see that he's a good person? He and I are so very different. I'm more social and emotional. He's more reserved by far. He has his eccentricities, as I do, but they are a radically different set than are mine. But, like me, he didn't deserve anyone's ridicule.

And that was the thing that became my bugaboo today. That was the thing that let me get out some of that tension build up. There's no sense in it, nothing that can be done. But maybe that's the point. The cause of the tension was my lack of control, my ability to do anything about anything, so maybe so went the release. The idea that there are injustices and frustrations that no amount of optimism or positive thinking can make better. That there will always be assholes. And asshole companies, like Delta. Who knows. Maybe those elementary school bullies are now running the show at Delta. That would make sense, actually.

No comments: