Tuesday, June 1, 2010

OUCH! Them's Fighting Words - Sometimes

When Hubby and I flew to Atlanta the other day on a full flight, the person in the window seat next to me reeked from body odor. Hubby had the aisle seat. If he didn’t have giraffe-like legs I would have thought of a way to con him into switching seats with me – his nose is not as sensitive as mine. I was glad Mr. Smeller went right to sleep and didn’t attempt to chat since I feel obliged to talk to everyone who talks to me – including wrong numbers. I kept my head turned towards Hubby and breathed through my mouth the bulk of the thankfully short flight out of West Palm Beach. Silently, I hoped that the incident wasn’t an omen of mishaps to come – you know like a black cat.

Since the plane didn’t spend more time circling Atlanta before landing than flying to it – something that those who fly in and out of that airport on a regular basis know is common – I began to think I was wrong. However, Stinky did turn out to be a bad sign. Since that flight, I seem to be having a run of problems that have no satisfying endings. On the trip home – we only went for 2 days – instead of a person stinking, we were too close for my nose to the bathroom. The flight was also full. When you book late as I did, you don’t have a great choice of seats if you like to sit together.

Yesterday, my daily horoscope predicted I would need comfort food by day’s end. Since these predictions are usually so broad and general, I don’t live my life by them – still I am addicting to reading them every morning. However, around noon yesterday, while speaking to a relative on the phone (not my kids), I was verbally jabbed for the third time in as many days. In each instance, the insulters were clueless of their hurtful dagger, and in the first two cases, experience has taught me it is best to heal my wounds with comfort foods than to respond. Saying something to the offender usually ends up making mountains out of molehills and the end result is rarely worth winning a point for my self-esteem.

Yesterday was different. Someone once told me stupid people need to be told, and despite my reason for not using her philosophy in the previous paragraph, I decided to try it again. The advice was still wrong. On the rare occasion I say “ouch,” – like yesterday - the relationship never heals completely, if at all. As soon as I responded in self-defense, a new mountain range was created. The offender’s mouth, like lava from a volcano, fired more hurtful observations that were best not uttered.

If I haven’t developed thick skin at this stage of my life, it just is not going to happen. In my old age, in order to prevent scars, I have learned to deal with toxic situations by either walking away if I can, deleting the toxic folks from my social calendar, or, if I don’t want to end the relationship, taking the batteries out of my hearing aides. I regret not getting off the phone immediately as soon as I detected hostility in this usually friendly person’s “Hello,” when she picked up her phone. My gut feeling is she was mad at someone else and I was her convenient punching bag.

Hubby wasn’t home to defuse the anger caused by this person and talk me out of eating comfort food. Each time I walked into the kitchen – between each sentence I typed – I mentally heard his words as I approached the cake I made for company. “One bite and the (fat) enemy wins.”

Now those are fighting words – how appropriate for the holiday. Only for my private war on fat and toxicity, I can’t call in our terrific military. Sadly, the horoscope was right. Hopefully, I just lost a battle and today the Smeller’s lasting odor on my luck will be blown away in the early morning storms that are closing in right now.

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