Monday, May 5, 2008

Decaffeinated Words

I would imagine most people don't have to worry about their journals attracting ants, but considering that mine is covered in a sticky, sugary mess I'm a little worried. I left the pretty spiral bound notebook complete with fancy elastic strap that I've been writing in for the last 3 months sitting on an end table last night and it became victim to a cold and stale cup of coffee Jon never dumped in the kitchen sink. It was around 11:00 last night when I noticed the mess and quickly zeroed in on the soggy brown pages covered in a blurry version of my already imperfect handwriting. I thought FUCK!! and just stood there, dumbfounded. Half of my brain was busy troubleshooting, assessing the damage from a distance and looking for a way to make every page perfect again, while the the other half of my brain was already crying in defeat--that was some of my best writing, insightful, brutally honest, surprisingly interesting, and it's gone now, I might as well just curl up in this puddle of coffee and die with my words!

Jon walked in shortly after to find me still staring at the mess, and he immediately began apologizing and taking all of the blame upon himself. I was so touched by the fact that he noticed how important this little notebook was to me that I didn't get upset or start spouting off things like "Well, if you would just take your damn dishes to the kitchen like I always ask you to this would never have happened!!" To my surprise I actually said, "Hey, I left the notebook sitting on the table so we're both at fault."

He didn't accept that as a reason to not feel sorry, which is good because it was a pretty lame attempt of accepting partial blame on my part because why shouldn't I be able to leave a book on the table? The important thing is that I stopped myself from going overboard. I stopped myself from pushing the matter further only for the sake of making sure he felt really sorry, as if making him feel like shit was going to make my journal new again.

It's true that misery loves company but my poor husband has had more than his fair share of being blindsided by someone else's misery, mostly mine. But then one day a few weeks ago I caught myself zoning out every time he talked because nothing he had to say about ESPN or video games interested me and I actually thought, "Why doesn't he get that I don't care about this stuff?" I think it was that thought that did it for me, because really, what would I do if he started acting like that while I was telling him about my day at work or my latest blog? I would be pissed, I would feel ignored, and I would most likely initiate WWIII right here in my own home if he treated me anywhere near as bad as I treat him sometimes.

So, for the last few weeks I've been watching myself, thinking before I act, and asking myself, would you like it if he did/said/reacted like that to you? How would you feel if he scoffed at you?

I guess it all goes back to the ethic of reciprocity or the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

What happened with the journal that might as well have been my arm was progress.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with the brown, crinkled pages that had to be torn out. I'm half tempted to just re-write everything on the remaining untouched pages, but then again, the coffee-colored ones smell pretty darn good.

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