Sometimes you’re going down the road certain. Then suddenly it hits you: you’re going the wrong way. This is not my metaphor. It was part of an apology and an about face I once listened to. Ten years later, I still see that man in my mind explaining how he’d been so sure until he realized he needed to stop and start going the opposite direction. The details of the speech are long gone but that single idea comes back to me when I need it.
Yes, I want to whisper when his words echo in my mind. Yes. It’s true. Sometimes a path is clear as day, until you wake up to see that you’ve been standing on your head. Or that the traffic coming toward you on the one way street ought to be telling you something.
This is me right now. Yesterday, I was firmly headed one direction only to see it was the wrong one. I wish this was a story of streets, where cars turn around and nobody gets hurt. But it isn’t.
With increasing frustration, I have pushed a certain someone on quite a number of points. A friend tells me I am the queen of hyperbole (although she stopped short of a capital Q and it hung in the air like a question as to whether this was a good thing). So stripping my own words naked of all disguise, my communications to said individual have boiled down to this: You are not trying, you don’t care, you fail to please or impress me, ergo you disappoint me, ergo who you are is not acceptable.
The alarming number of “you” statements storming about left me unmoved as I laid in bed at the end of my rope with the not caring and the not trying. The image of the man in khaki pants, blue oxford open at the neck chose then to visit. “Suddenly, like right between the eyes, it hit me, bam. We’re going the wrong way,” he tells me for the 300th time in ten years.
My situation has nothing to do with the khaki man, but hearing his echo stopped me long enough to see what I didn’t see before. The person driving me to distraction (around the bend and back again with forks in my eyes), that person could not care more if they tried. And as for trying, they’re doing quite a lot of that.
One minute, execution or a scathing descriptive poem are vying in my brain for top spot in the apt responses category. The next minute, I’m rubbing my eyes wondering if they’d been covered with scales. The other person’s previously invisible efforts now seem impossible to miss. I feel quite a bit undone. I am teacher, a mother, and a reader of studies and books. I don’t want to be the person devoid of mercy for someone trying hard. who cares so deeply. Yet I see in hindsight what a tiny box I’ve put them in, while throwing up my hands that they fail to keep the windows clean.
On the face of things, nothing has changed. Inside, that familiar first responder of my bosom, madness, has been sat down firmly and its mouth taped shut by sadness. This is an opposite of sitting stagnant hopelessness thing. Sadness that demands one steer with a will towards mercy is a friend.