I woke up early yesterday morning – around 2:30, I think – absolutely panicked at the thought of leaving my house during the day. Convinced that I was only safe here – there was no controlling the environment outside and if my mood shifted at all, I had no idea if I could keep it together – I decided that if I was still frightened after dawn, I’d cancel my plans.
While lying around all day sounded nice, I understand that it’s not all that good for me. And I do enjoy Unnamed Friend. So I got out of pajamas and into clothes a little after 10AM and went off for a day at the museum. Obviously, since giraffes rarely live in museums, plans changed.
I've been to several zoos, though none in recent memory. It bums me out, to be honest. All the poor animals, removed from their habitats to be stared at (and screamed at - honestly, children. Hush.) in some weird imitation of their home. But zoos are a good thing in some cases, and I was actually impressed with this particular example. It was soothing somehow - wandering the pretty paths and stopping to look at the animals. There were many water features, and I do like the sound of running water. The day was a bit warmer than I wanted.
"A couple degrees cooler would be nice." Unnamed Friend tried to agree with me as I continued to wipe perspiration away from my forehead.
And with a mild look, I said, "Or 10. But whatever."
For as my focus and interest in other people increases, I find my irritation threshold problematic. Not with my friend - she's actually very funny and smart. I've been letting myself think about several stories she told, and the mental energy spent on someone else is familiar and delightful. But many other people? Wow.
"I think I hate kids now." I told her with only a small amount of dismay. Because, really. The screaming and crying and whining. I'm going through a very difficult time right now. If anyone needs to scream, cry or whine, I'll go ahead and do it myself. If I'm keeping it together, I think they should make more of an effort as well.
So. That little boy who said he saw it! Saw the elephant! He lied. The elephant was decidedly not there, because I looked. People shouldn't lie. (I did see elephants eventually - but not from the site of his exclamation.)
I have more examples of the children that caused me to clench my teeth and roll my eyes, but the point isn't that children are annoying (though, to be fair, they really can be), it's that I was disporportionately bothered by them yesterday.
Though right after I confessed my annoyance, an adult male said something like, "Why won't he come out? Somebody needs to get a hot stick and show him his job." when referring to some poor creature. I quickly decided it was a hatred of stupid people in general that I've developed. Since it's not directed at the young after all, I shrugged and moved on.
"You always see the hard ones first." Unnamed Friend told me after I'd picked out a tree frog then a tiger that were more hidden than some of their friends. Probably a lesson there, I decided, then scowled as I almost tripped over a running child.
I requested Thai food and got it. Thrilled with the prospect of panang curry, I happily waited in an empty restaurant while a man told us about the soup he's going to make next week - "you should come back" he advised - and took super-sweet iced coffee from the woman who took our orders. The food was good. The people were fantastic. They appeared to like me, and I'm drawn to affection in people of late with an almost startling intensity. Though I normally smile over anyone who appears to like me, I find myself craving any sort of validation that I'm worthwhile.
If said validation was offered at the Thai place, it continued as I sat with two beautiful cats in my lap, absorbing their silky warmth and soothing purrs. When my friend was surprised at their affection, I let myself relax into drowsiness. I must be lovely, I decided. That cats think so.
So I'm getting there. It's easier to convince myself that the bad moments will pass. It's still - in all honesty - stressful to leave my house. I can control myself when I'm here, but I'm so susceptible to outside irritants and stresses that I'm afraid that something will nudge me back into misery again. I suspect time will help that.
One test will come tonight. Cousin called this morning - she must have talked to Aunt who has been spending a lot of time with Mom. I was invited for dinner and will head over this evening.
"I'm going to make something," she said, stopping to answer her husband's question. "And mashed potatoes." When I laughed, she said that the potatoes were the only real certainty at this time.
I love my family completely and am very comfortable in Cousin's home. It's relaxed and easy - I always feel happy I went. But my rule of crying in front of people gets shot to hell when it comes to family. I always cry in front of them and don't relish the idea of breaking down this evening. But I'll either be relatively stable, or I'll receive comfort. Neither is so awful. I'll probably let you know either way.