I used to be enraged. All the time. Over everything and nothing.
It was often the little things that set me off. Late starts. Half-finished breakfasts. Dirt on the floor. Dishes left just above the dishwasher. The sound of a word uttered a little too sharply. Tiny chaffs.
I used to wake up like a bear, take an overly-long shower, get dressed, stomp down the stairs, genuflect at the altar of caffeinates and look up toward the morning Enternewsment show, at which, inevitably, I would start screaming my head off.
Rage, physically speaking, differs from anger in a few important ways. There can be the same physical sensations – your heart rate quickens, you might experience a tightness in your throat or a constricting of your chest – but mentally you've jumped the shark.
For example, My reaction to morning television:
“Cheese-Its H. Rice! If they do one more segment detailing every single bit of bacteria lingering around in my pocket or festering on my phone I will send them a metric ton of our pre-recycled kitchen waste, I sweartoghad!”
Not that I would actually ship my $4!# to 30 Rockerfeller Plaza … but a girl can dream.
“They can't hear you, you know,” said my husband in that snarky tone he usually reserved for telemarketers or when his calls found their way into the voicemail on my smartphone: “I'm not sure why you even have a phone, seeing as how you never answer it.”
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete.
Every time I see something that's going to send spiraling into another orbit I hit “Delete.”
That's what seems to have happened to my rage. I just started deleting it.
As the news reader tries to make jokes. … As the toaster burns the toast. … As the coffee pot revolts … I just shrug. I'll worry about that tomorrow, for now I'll scrape the burned bits and drink tea.
My husband is skeptical. One can't blame him.
Coffee withdrawal not withstanding, the fact that I would just stare silently at a woman on the screen who was talking out of both sides of her face as she recounted the top-three viral videos of the hour on Twitter, is unprecedented.
“Honestly. I don't understand why you're not screaming at the television news right now. This is bad, even for me.”
But I can't even muster a sneer.
“I don't know. It just seems mean. It's an unfair hour on a Sunday morning. Anyone who's anyone has already ditched them for Facebook. Who else could be watching this dreck?”
I feel … calm.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Change channels. Delete.
But I can't believe it's really gone. Neither relief nor calm filled the space rage left, leaving me to think that it's out there somewhere. Seeing the world. Biding it's time. Picking up some new tricks.
It's dull, really. All this dispersed rage.
I keep wondering when it will come back.
And what will happen when it does.
I imagine rage will give me a good rap in the head when it boomerangs. Torrents of the stuff will blast from my ears as soon as the emotional equilibrium shifts to a more precarious incline.
I'll be ready for it when it comes.
Finger on the delete button.
“Did you get my voicemail?”
“Nope. I deleted it.”
“Because only my rage listens to voicemail.”