Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Virtues of an Even Temperament

I'll hold things in. Stay out of your way. Avoid burdening you with my concerns to the point where you might believe I haven't any on my mind. I'll come off shy. Unexpressive. Stupid, even. I'll do this because it's the way I've learned to get by in certain circumstances. Best to stay off the radar, because whatever it is, it'll be over, eventually, and I'll be home - or somewhere else, at least - and that which I was made to sit and absorb will unceremoniously fade into background. And I'll resent it.

I'll take the worst of it for quite some time - with work, with family, with anyone and anything. Shovel the unfairness - the indignity - on my back, and I'll shift the load until it's bearable, regroup, and adapt to the additional tonnage. No problem. In the initial stages, there's always a small portion of my conscious mind that's convinced I deserve it. It is, after all, the way he taught me to do things - to accept, then fume. The way of the civil servant. Thirty-one years on the job, and some fuckin' quack says it's spread to your pancreas? Bear the burden, kid. Soldier on. It ain't that cold out here. It's adding up, though, and I'll resent it.

Gimme whatever you've got. Whatever the fuck your spite can conjure, I've heard before. Threaten me, point out all the disadvantages of being me, spit in my face - it doesn't matter. For a time, at least. I go to work, I do my job, I come home. And you write me off, because I've done nothing in return. A quick sigh, a shake of the head, a bit of eye rolling and the stray muttered oath are all you'll get for now, and so you'll think there's nothing behind any of it. But there is. And I'm beginning to resent the hell out of it.

Get me talking. Get me shouting. Start the argument early, because you don't want the silence. The watched pot, as it were. If it's begun, however, it's begun, and lifting the pot off the stovetop entails more than simply asking. Or, for that matter, arguing your case for its removal. That won't stop the process. You're only turning up the burner. And I resent the everloving shit out of it.

Finally, then, the lid. The boiling, the seething, the indignation - all too much to hold fast, even for one suppressing the works with such ardor. Ardor. At flashpoint, the entire conglomeration erupts, fueled by the ardor you hadn't even known was there. We all get burned, and I resent it no further.