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Have you ever had a day where you spend your entire waking moments completely disgusted with yourself, the world, and everything in it? I had one of those days recently, and although they don't come often or last more than one day, they invariably ensure a full 24 hours of wretched misery where everything that can go wrong does...with a vengeance.
The winter of my personal discontent began with the sound of rain beating against my window, which wouldn't have been a total tragedy if I had not been stupid enough to leave both my umbrellas at my place of employment, thereby insuring that I would get to work wet. It is a true fact that out of all the states in our blessed union, the one that produces the most serial killers is Washington State. I maintain that this is because it rains there constantly and people are driven to acts of violent madness from lack of sunshine and an over abundance of water falling on their heads. My son, Chuck, maintains that this theory is full of holes because if it were true Britain, British Columbia, and New Zealand would be the most violent countries in the world. Despite his 14 year old Socratic logic, I am sticking to my theory. I get stubborn when I'm cranky, and the rain and clouds were making me cranky on a major scale.
Naturally, I had no desire to get out of bed and face a day of dreary greyness, but duty scoffs at nature and perky TV weathermen and I had to get up. I went about my morning ablutions grumbling, complaining, and hating everything. I was out of green tea for my morning cup – that made me mad. I couldn't find my hairbrush – that made me madder, and the newsman on the radio was interviewing some yammering fool about the negative health effects related to depression – that irritated me so much I thought about heaving the clock radio out the window into the dangerously swelling creek in the back of the yard.
Chuck finally got up after I gave up nicely and gave him a choice between rising from his bead or having a pitcher of cold water poured over his head. He looked at me bleary eyed and asked me what my problem was and why I was shutting a kitchen cupboard hard enough to knock it off the wall? I just told him to go take a shower and remember to hang his towel over the rack instead of leaving it lying on his bedroom floor or I'd take them all away and make him dry off with a wash cloth.
“Mom,” he said. “Why are you growling?”
I told him if I was growling it was because he was driving me crazy with his lazy, messy, boy habits and he needed to stop. He responded to my curmudgeonly statement by telling me that he loved me. I was really ugly dare he make light of my wretched bad humor by responding with sweetness and affection.
“Yes, Chuck, you love me. You love me like someone loves their dog. So long as I do what you want and fetch for you, and treat you like a God you adore me. But does anyone listen to their dog, take their dog's advice, or ask the dog what the dog needs? No,” I sniped.
Chuck looked totally perplexed and scratched his head. “Geese, Mom, what do you want me to do?”
“Woof,” I answered.
“You know, it's a darned good thing we don't have a dog,” Chuck stated sharply. “If we did you'd probably kick it.”
I told him not to be ridiculous. He knew very well that I would never hurt an animal. On the other hand, if the guy on the radio happened to cross my path I might kick him and enjoy it.
He refused to give up and asked me again what was wrong with me. That was his second mistake of the morning, poor kid.
“I'll tell you what's wrong with me,” I said, thumping my unsatisfactory cup of not-green-tea on the counter with disgust. “It's black as night out there thanks to the cloud cover that has decided to park permanently over the state, rain is still falling and will probably continue for the next 40 days and 40 nights, my driver's windshield wiper has decided to go on strike and will only wipe a small portion of the buckets of water off the windshield, it's as cold and damp as Dracula's tomb, I hate this place, I hate my life, I just want to go back to bed and pull the comforter over my head and not come out until global warming decides to turn this hole into Bermuda, and I am so miserably depressed and feeling utterly without any humor whatsoever that I have absolutely no idea how I am going to write my article today.”
Chuck looked at me and smiled. “Well, you may not be able to do anything about the weather or what's happening in your life right now, but you can buy a new windshield wiper and I'm pretty sure you just wrote your article.”
Darn him for being sweet and right.
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