Yesterday I’m struck by the range of emotions I went through yesterday. Even when I get enough sleep, am eating pretty well, and my week has passed its climax, I can still live an emotional roller coaster. It puzzles me, and the controlling, perfectionistic part of me gets extremely disconcerted and frustrated.
The first major part of my day was writing workshop. It was fantastic. I gave a quick mini-lesson and then spent the rest of the period in conferences. I LOVED that part. I am a one-on-one type person, and writing is my favorite subject, so having the chance to discuss kids’ original work was the highlight of my week (besides karaoke).
I felt a sense of peace as I left the school. I felt like another job was accomplished, something else could be checked off my list. And it was a beautiful outside; the sun was shining, no cold wind, etc etc.
The middle of my day was just as pleasant. I read for a bit. (I’m enjoying I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.) I used the elliptical, making sure to go both forwards and backwards, and I had a pleasant 2-hour or so chat with my dad about various things that left me feeling that things were alright in the world. I headed home, and settled down to read up on some world history in preparation for tutoring early the next morning.
And then things got a little off.
It started with the prep. reading. I took too long. We had an event yesterday evening; a friend was coming down from Wisconsin for a bit, and she was having people meet up at Gameworks to hang out for a while. It started at “6”, but I had seen on the facebook event that some people planned to come late, and I figured that no one really shows up right on time, anyway. I was nibbling here and there, and I didn’t know you could even eat at Gameworks.
But apparently I hadn’t nibbled enough, and Brian hadn’t eaten enough, because we both began to get cranky, and the evening turned a little hellish. Finally, at 6:15 or so (after telling Brian 2 or 3 times that I wanted a little more time to finish reading . . . yes, I think I started it . . .) we finally set out on the road.
I realized a little late that neither of us knew exactly how to get there. We just knew it was way up north somewhere, likely off of 355. But we don’t like taking 355. It has many expensive tolls. However, it’s also a lot faster.
So, now it’s 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, and Brian sets off in his car, heading toward 59, while asking me to use his phone to try to find the address, and then use one of his various map apps to try to get us there. While I’m doing this, I ask him: “Why are we taking 59? Isn’t it off of 355?” while figuring that maybe he just didn’t want to take the tolls. I struggle with the phone, and he gets frustrated and takes over at the next red light. “Holy cow that’s far north!” he says. “I know,” I say, “That’s why I was surprised you were taking 59.” “We’re taking 355!” he announces, and turns the car east. “But shouldn’t we go back home?” I ask. “No!” he says. “But aren’t there a lot of tolls?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. “And you don’t have an I-Pass,” I ask. “I’ll pay them on-line later,” he huffs. “But Isn’t it more expensive without one?” I persist. “I don’t care,” he says. Then 1 minute later he turns the car around. “Forget it!” he says, “I’m not spending that much money on tolls!”
So now we’re backtracking. We return home and switch cars. I insist on driving for the semi-illogical reason that I’m not sure he’s listed on my car insurance (since this has never stopped me before), when I really just don’t feel like being responsible for navigation, nor communication with our friend. I admit as much a few minutes later.
I neglected to mention that when we first left, Brian told me to call our friend to find out what her dinner plans were: if they were eating there, when they were eating there, and when everyone was going to be there. I was already in a weird mood and opted to text her the 20 questions instead. He insisted that I call her if we didn’t get a text back by the time we were on the road again; I stubbornly refused. We never heard back. We found out later that she had left her phone at her mom’s anyway; we also found out that everyone had eaten right at 6.
We got there at 7:30. The place was bigger than we thought, and after walking a lap around the entire upstairs and downstairs, we finally found her, as we were contemplating a second lap. This was fortunate because we were now at level red irritation levels and the claws were about to come out. We said a quick hello and make quick introductions, and then announced that we were finding something to eat. We spent the next half hour of our “visit” alone with each other — and finally – with our desperately needed dinner. (Which was still vegetarian, by the way: a roasted tomato pizza, pepper jack potato balls, and onion rings.)
Then our friend and her new lovebug met up with us and we caught up/got acquainted. Besides my unexpected onrush of crankiness (which I guess may be attributed to starvation), my emotions from this point on baffled me. I am contiunally amazed at my reaction to meeting new people: I am completely uncomfortable. And this time I was even uncomfortable with my old friend, having nothing of the complete peace and ease that I had felt with our last conversation. I was worried about whether I was paying more attention to one person or the other, wondering if what I said was appropriate, and then sometimes not knowing what to say at all. When I met up with the rest of her friends, I barely conversed with them beyond the regular pleasantries. Why was I so extremely uncomfortable?
Later, Brian’s friend came over to meet us there, and my emotions baffled me further. Again I was feeling annoyance and awkwardness. I felt as if he were taking Brian away from me, as he and Brian drew toward each other and meandered off to the side to chit-chat, while I observed the others in their bowling game.
Throughout the rest of the evening I struggled to understand and deal with my emotions: awkwardness with new people, awkwardness with my friend’s change in relationship status, awkwardness with Brian’s friend, competitive frustration when I stunk at bowling, and discomfort and confusion about whether I even wanted to spend the money and play any videogames – most of which I normally have an aversion to for their violent or unappealing nature.
Why couldn’t I just have relaxed and made some simple chit-chat? Why couldn’t I have gone with Brian and his buddy to play that basketball game, instead of stewing on the leather sofa? Why can’t I be the life of the party, instead of the mope of the party? Why do I feel this way, and why do I let my emotions control me? How much do I just observe and accept myself for who I am, and how much do I try to analyze what’s going on inside me, recognize the negative energy, and try to flip my attitude on its head?
Needless to say, my mostly peaceful day ended in turmoil, and I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. I guess I’ll just accept it as it is and move on. Next time I can try to be a little friendlier, try to sidestep the emotions that attempt to tie me in knots. But nobody died, I haven’t lost any friends, I haven’t embarrassed anyone or made a fool of myself, and Brian and I aren’t fighting. So, I think in that way at least, I can call yesterday a definite win.