Thursday, March 31, 2005

A contagion of irritability

Apparently irritability is contagious.

Yesterday I started my day in quite a good mood. I managed to wake up reasonably early, went to the gym, tied up some random loose ends and got to school in time for a lunchtime meeting. To top it off, the weather was absolutely gorgeous and it felt, legitimately, like spring. I walked out of the meeting momentarily to heat up my coffee. As I walked toward the microwave, I bumped into a friend, who shall remain nameless so as to protect the innocent.

I smiled and teased her for being late.

"Where the fuck IS everyone?" she demanded.

Room I, I told her.

"I'm SO pissed off," she muttered as she headed toward the room in question.

I hoped it wasn't me!

I later talked to her and found out, to my relief, it was not me: rather, it was a combination of unfortunate events that conspired to make her day less than ideal. Fortunately, the effects were quite temporary and her mood was much better, though she admitted to still being a bit irritable. I understand this -- I myself have numerous times felt uncharitable toward the world for no particular reason. It happens to the best of us.

I was still in a good mood. Later, I was chatting with a couple of classmates as I gathered my things after class. I don't remember how, but we had gotten onto the subject of relationships. Both of these friends are married, and have been in serious long-term relationships for longer than I have been driving. I, of course, am *quite* single and show no signs of changing my status in the near future. These two friends were of the opinion that finding a decent boyfriend is a simple task -- the clear implication being that if I don't have one, the only one to blame for this is myself. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm quite picky (which I think is reasonable. I'm quite a catch, if I do say so myself) and that this necessarily limits my prospects. I accept this. And I only occassionally rail against the anti-feminist injustice of the negative relationship between desirability and career success for women. But it *really* gets my goat when people who haven't had to deal with the cesspool that is the dating world for a good half a lifetime consider themselves authorities on its intricacies. Particularly when this unjustifiable air of understanding accompanies an implicit disdain for my own romantic proclivities. I'm very happy for my friends that they've found wonderful, loving husbands. I haven't, and not, thank you very much, for lack of trying. So kindly lay off. The worst part was that I thought of the perfect comeback about fifteen seconds after our conversation ended. Dammit.

So at this point my irritation level was slightly above normal. But I would still say I was having a good day. (In case they're reading this, by the way, I do love my two married friends very much, temporary irritation notwithstanding).

I stayed at school a bit late because of an evening class. It ended early, actually, but I had another engagement close to school later in the evening, so I stayed late and studied. When I decided to walk out to my car, I found my school enmeshed in an all-out thunder-and-hailstorm. While my car rested a mere twenty-five feet from the building, I had no umbrella. And it was raining HARD. And showed no signs of letting up. So after staring at the unpleasant weather for a good ten minutes, I pulled my coat up over my head and made a run for it. I should note here that I was wearing a skirt, pantyhose and pumps (thankfully not heels). There's almost nothing more uncomfortable than wet pantyhose. And I learned that my coat, when rained upon, smells like a wet dog.

This raised my irritation level a bit more.

I got to my evening function mostly on time. Unfortunately, the function itself didn't begin on time. Being actively involved in the group hosting this function, I had a strong interest in it proceeding well. I'm one of those people who hates tardiness. Really hates it. But start late it did. I had a couple of glasses of wine. This usually calms me down and makes me happy and nice. It didn't do this tonight. I found myself growing progressively dour throughout the evening. One of my closest friends came to chat with me but I wasn't in a particularly chatty mood, as evidenced by the fact that I was saying virtually nothing in return. And yet she kept talking. And for some reason, this started to get on my nerves. And then another person was talking behind us. He was kind of whispering, but it was a loud whisper. I walked to the other side of the room and I could still hear him. I found this highly irritating. I finally sat down and tried to pay attention to the person who was speaking. And then I noticed that I was cold. In fact, it was quite cold in the room. In spite of the fact that The Great Flood was proceeding outside the building, some insane person had decided to turn on all the air conditioning window units. Don't ask me why the hell why. I suppose 20 degrees Farenheit might be considered "balmy" to some. And by "some" I mean penguins. But there were no penguins there. At least none that I saw. So I was mystified *and* irritated.

Finally, the event was over and I drove home. I had planned to finish an imminently due paper that evening but, as all the heat had been sapped from my body at the evening's festivities, I had no energy. So I went to bed. And here I am today, with no energy, not having made it to the gym this morning, with unpacked bags to pack for a weekend trip, and still an entire paper to write.

Let this be a warning to you. Avoid irritated people at all costs! As much as you may love the innocently afflicted person, trust me, it's for your own good. Especially don't let them cough on you. I mean, that's just gross.


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