Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ramblings - 3

Recently I did something and knew I'd get told I'd done wrong. I knew who'd tell me; he'd told me before, told me that sort of thing wasn't cool, wasn't tactful, damn him, and I was thoroughly upset with what I expected him to say.

Turned out he didn't say that. In fact, he said, good job, thanks for handling that.

That was a relief, but I was still upset, a minor mystery. Let's see, why was I still feeling peevish about a non-existent upset?

For starters, when I anticipated his disapproval, that pulled up on my mental desktop several earlier times when he disapproved. Then there are all the similar times when others had disapproved of my actions or others had similarly disapproved of the actions of others (didn't my Dad scold my Mom for lack of tact?). Then there are all the times that I'VE scolded others for similar reasons. Then there's my own personal sense that I DID do something wrong that he missed by thanking me -- and being just barely missed is like a toothache, claiming all available attention and not wanting to let go of it. And there's all the earlier times someone disapproved or would have disapproved had he or she known (and maybe he or she did, how can I be sure?). I felt like a pinball machine; one lucky shot has all my lights blazing and bells clanging.

But just my noticing the phenomenon in action made it begin to fade away, like a mist unraveling in the morning sun. [If you were writing this, I'd say, "What does a pinball machine have to do with a mist? Or a toothache? Get your similes straight." But I'm writing it, and you'll just have to be satisfied with knowing that my sloppy writing hurts me more than it hurts you.]

A mere nothing. Mere nothings have a lot of baggage.

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