Saturday, June 12, 2010

Glamour shark

"Sorry Dave, I'll be ready in a second...", I shouted from my room as I tore off my usual black jeans and black tank top.

(10 minutes later)

"Sorry Dave, just one... more... sec..."

He sat reading next to me while I checked myself out in my 4th dress of the hour- a shimmery deep gold vintage number paired with a pale gold satin belt. But I don't know much about pairing, or matching, or color (even varying hues) so I dove back into the closet.

(10 minutes later)

"WHY DOES NOTHING LOOK RIGHT ON ME?!"

(5 minutes later)

"Ugh, I'll just wear this."

We hopped on our bikes and went on our way. In the end I managed to ditch the jeans, sporting a high-waisted blue skirt with bronze buttons, but since that was already something beyond my uniform I didn't see the point in pushing it... I matched it with my usual black tank top. The wind blew my skirt and tousled my hair as I rode, the sun reflected off my rhinestoned sunglasses and left me feeling like a lady from more glamorous era. ("Dahling, don't you just looooove riding bicycles?")

Riding down 7th street, I watched the rays of sunlight that filtered through the trees shift along the pavement like scales of fish shimmering under water. I glided onward toward Whole Foods slow and steady like a sting ray. It was a beautiful day with my loved one. Blue skies, calm seas. Then suddenly everything was white.

This was because I was crashing into a white SUV door that had been opened before me just seconds before.

I and my fabulous blue skirt flew through the air then lay crumpled in a heap on the street. I may have hit the ground in a new outfit, but I jumped up seconds later wearing something far more familiar: fury. I lunged at the man who opened the door. I screamed and I closed in, disregarding his every word with a precision of speech that I find only in anger. His only response was to apologize and ask if I was ok, over and over and over. It was infuriating. These were not concepts I cared for nor questions I thought important to answer. My mouth snapped open and shut hurling hateful words beyond what was necessary. I was a shark trying to engage another shark in battle, my jaws putting on a show of power, spitting out bait for the other shark to bite. And one bite... one word... but he just kept apologizing.

In the middle of my jaw-show Dave, without moving his eyes from my hand (which was holding my hurt shoulder), piped in with a distracted "You should.. look..." directed vaguely in the guy with the white door's direction. It sounded silly to me. The guy behind the white door agreed ("Yes, I should have looked!!"), and stared at me and my shoulder with the same concern that Dave did. They were both silly. Why was everyone such a wuss? Why was no one yelling with me?

Out of ideas of what to do with my one-sided fury I looked at the shark-man, evaluating my opponent. There was nothing but worry and shock in his eyes. No burning rage. No attitude. Nothing I could I fight, nothing I could resent. He asked again if I was ok and I realized that I wasn't really sure, I hadn't even checked. Really hadn't seemed like a priority.

I fell silent, looked at my shoulder (a little road rash, a bit of my tattoo eaten away), the dirt stuck in my palm, the bike grease on my pretty blue skirt. And then I started to cry. Like a lady from another era. ("My beaut-i-ful skirt is ruined!" *whimper, sniffle*)

I sulked off with tears streaming down my cheeks without another word to the man with the white door. Dave put his arm around me and down the we block inspected my (minor) wounds.

Dave had been so distracted by my (potential) injuries that hadn't joined the shark fight. And the man with the white door had been so busy trying to accept responsibility for his mistake that he didn't join either. I was a lone-shark, a shark with out cause, an angry shark who'd been fighting predators for so long that she herself she'd become one.

People make mistakes. And sometimes they feel terrible about them, apologize, try to make amends, try to right the wrong. This is an excellent way to be. And so few people are like this, that I forget anyone is at all. So I approach every mistake the same, just like I approach getting dressed each morning the same. Black jeans, a  black tank top, and if mistakes are made, pure, unadulterated rage. But sometimes people are genuinely good, I wear a blue skirt, pair it with wrong attitude and find myself a shark out of water.

Which is where I really need to find myself more often.

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