Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ranting Sometimes Comes with a Price

I try not to talk about people behind their backs. But sometimes, I do.

Back in the eighties, I realized that I was doing too much of that for my own sense of self-respect. So, I made a New Year's resolution: no more badmouthing people unless it was to their faces.

For about two months, I stuck faithfully to my resolution. I was proud of myself for taking such a high road. But then, I began noticing that nearly everyone was irritating the hell out of me.

So, I began allowing myself the occasional rant. Most of us, I suppose, need to vent now and then. I simply decided to be more judicious about it.

I've been feeling seriously grumpy since I've been back home from my last stint in the Gulf of Mexico. I don't know why, but it might have something to do with having to be away part of the time again.

I've felt more need to vent.

A couple of days ago, Rhonda and I went to Dylan's school to pick him up. We hung around after school so Dylan could play with some of his classmates. We were talking with one of the moms, and the subject of pushy people came up.

Since I'd been in the mood to rant for a week or so, I brought up a woman I'll call G. G worked in the same field as my wife. Upon moving to town, she decided that since they both worked in the same field, and since they were both women, they simply had to be friends.

G began calling with an itinerary for Rhonda, an itinerary with all of the activities they'd be doing together over the weekends. The itineraries didn't leave much time for Rhonda's husband. (That would be me.) In any case, Rhonda didn't feel comfortable with G from the onset, and even if she had, she wouldn't have been inclined to spend her weekends as designed by someone else.

Rhonda is too nice for her own good at times, and she tried to disengage herself gently. When G finally got the hint, she took great offense nevertheless.

So, I was just getting up a curmudgeonly head of steam about how irritating G was when I noticed a look on Rhonda's face. It was a look of disapproval. I was a little surprised, since I was trying to couch my comments about G in a humorous way. But still, there was the look. Married guys know the look.

Finally, I interrupt myself. "What?" I ask Rhonda, feeling a little irritated that I might be robbed of an opportunity to vent about someone or something other than Starbucks. "I never told you?" "No," I answered.

"G committed suicide."

Whomp. I tried to salvage the moment by making further comments about G in an overtly funny way, but they fell flat. I tried to get out of a hole by continuing to dig. Rhonda looked pained; the other mom looked decidedly uncomfortable.

For the last couple of days, I've been feeling kinda small.

1 comment:

David said...

Having stepped on the proverbial crank, I know it hurts.

Ya had me laughing for a while there too! You know, right up to the 'Ouch'. We ALL need to vent sometimes even though we get back- winded occasionally.

"The LOOK" How can we all know it so well and still not heed it?

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