Sunday, February 22, 2009

I am pleased. And tipsy.

I tugged on my boots and picked up my stack of dishes and walked next door. I dutifully went to the store this morning, started to marinate chicken and put together cheesy potatoes. I baked a cake with a bright lemon flavor and tucked cream aside to whip later. After my asparagus was finished roasting, I packaged everything and transported it to the smaller house next to mine.

We spent three hours talking, sipping (multiple) glasses of wine while we curled up in matching chairs next to a fire and chatted. We traded impressions of Japan and she told me of Africa while I nodded. We discussed marriage and divorce, dating and friendship. I sighed with happy relief when she indicated she'd been in remission for years and offered a quick prayer that she would stay well.

I know neighborhood gossip. Did you know the man who used to live in her house and the woman you used to live in mind had an affair? They left their respective spouses after being caught together in my garage during a neighborhood party. They were having a bit of a private celebration of their own. ("She was giving him a blow...well, you know," Nancy told me.)

She has a beautiful home and she walked me through the various rooms. I admired her paint colors and she offered to help me when I decided to do my walls. We discussed lawn care. "I'm awful," I sighed. "You people are all immaculate and I feel guilty when I fall behind on cutting the grass, let alone weeding the flower beds." She waved off my concerns and said she was thinking of planting a tree in her backyard. Her front landscaping is already lovely. My thoughts turned to what flowers I might plant and how I want to re-mulch with a prettier color.

I smoothed my hand over her dog's coat and we talked about Chienne's health. She told me about the other neighbors and we discussed our respective careers. I wasn't trying to be impressive or important and simply relaxed into the evening, continuing to drink from a crystal goblet that never went empty. We sat down to eat when I got giggly and I wandered home soon after we finished dinner.

It was comfortable and lovely and I savored the feeling of gentle contentment as I greeted my dog and put away dishes. Then I checked work email and the hatred I feel toward one particularly vile and useless woman was sparked once again. The angry tension swirled around me, displacing the former glow even as I tried to force it back. I stomped to the kitchen to fetch a slice of lemon cake, spooning a generous dollop of whipped cream atop it. I attempted to plot my revenge while I nibbled at the treat and gave up when a suitably devious plan failed to form.

For every person who takes credit when none is due, who makes life more difficult and unhappy, there is someone who is bright and funny, warm and interesting. If I choose to focus on this waste of a human being I sometimes encounter at work rather than the lovely person who lives next door, I have problems of my own making.

Replacing the fork on my plate, I closed my eyes and breathed in the positive, held it in my lungs for a moment and then scowled as I exhaled the negative. I need more practice - my stomach remains cramped with annoyed frustration - but at least it's a start.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was comfortable and lovely and I savored the feeling of gentle contentment as I greeted my dog and put away dishes. Then I checked work email and the hatred I feel toward one particularly vile and useless woman was sparked once again. The angry tension swirled around me, displacing the former glow even as I tried to force it back. I stomped to the kitchen to fetch a slice of lemon cake, spooning a generous dollop of whipped cream atop it. I attempted to plot my revenge while I nibbled at the treat and gave up when a suitably devious plan failed to form.

Attack! Kill! Destroy!

Do not allow feelings of gentle contentment to interfere with your rage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenn, PhD said...

That sounds like a wonderful evening. I'm glad you're getting to know some nice neighbors! Replace those negative things with positive ones, as much as you can!

Psych Post Doc said...

Sounds like a great evening. Maybe you should put checking work email on hold every now and again.

JustMe said...

sounds like a lovely time with your neighbor, yay :o)

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