Friday, June 5, 2015
The Angriest Dog in the World
Sometimes I think I must be completely mean and small-minded.
I get so annoyed at people for such little things. I get annoyed at kids at school who come to me every day to check out a computer charger. I get annoyed at people who walk slowly in front of me. The day before yesterday I got annoyed at a woman on the tube escalator who blocked my way and made me miss a train -- and when I turned and gave her a dirty look I was horrified to see that she works in our cafeteria. I quickly muted my dirty look.
Meanwhile, I read posts like this one from the Tearful Dishwasher which is so full of wisdom and compassion that I just marvel. Or this one from 37 Paddington, about her nephew, who took three homeless men to lunch and talked to them as they ate.
And I think, "Why am I so angry?"
Seriously. It's embarrassing. And given all that I have in the world, it makes no sense.
I've always blamed my cynicism on my equally cynical family -- and believe me, I am a ray of sunshine compared to my immediate relatives -- and on my journalism career. News reporting, after all, fosters a sense of skepticism, and depends, to some extent, on a reporter's innate suspicion that everyone is up to no good.
But Tearful Dishwasher is a policeman. How does he maintain his compassion? His gentleness? How does he not find himself cursing at slow-moving people who make him late for trains? Maybe he does, and just doesn't write about it. I don't know.
I worked for years as a Zen practitioner to acknowledge this inner anger, to meet it head-on. I'm not sure I was ever successful, because it's still there. Then again, Zen practice doesn't really make it go away, so much as teach us to see it and be aware.
And now I don't even really practice anymore.
I wish I had it in me to take homeless people to lunch, or to not suspect that President Obama gave soldiers a medal of honor at least partly for political reasons. Or not to let the political reasons obscure, in my mind, the deservedness of those soldiers. I wish I could see each student and each interaction at work as a new interaction, a fresh start, rather than sometimes thinking, "Oh, God, you again."
Why am I such a crank?
On a brighter note, here are our roses. We have seven bushes in bloom right now, in numerous colors, and as you can see, that yellow one -- where the bulk of our ladybirds are now feasting -- has lots of buds nearly ready to open.
I mowed the lawn yesterday after work, and against all evidence I'm afraid I may have sucked many of our released ladybirds into the grass collector. There are still plenty of them on the roses, though, so I thankfully didn't get all of them. (I don't know if they'd really be down in the grass. Maybe they flew away to other bushes. One can only hope!)
(Top photo: A music shop in Clapham, on May 24. Credit to David Lynch for this post title.)