It is morning. I’m awake. The sun peeks through the branches of a young cherry tree, and gold sunlight flecks dance upon the oak floor of my bedroom. The sparkling light reminds me of something mean a friend said about an outdated duffel bag I once brought to a cabin two years ago. What a fucking bitch. Nightingales chirp a tune outside my window.
Walking down the hallway to the kitchen, I avoid my reflection in a mirror, because today, I feel like I look like Tom Petty. And I am in no mood.
I brew an exotic Peruvian coffee in my thin French press and watch as the turkish-blended grounds soak up the hot water. I add a thick soy cream to the black molasses and watch it swirl, like braided candy ribbons. I sip and detect a tangy aftertaste. The soy cream soured overnight. I cannot believe it. I’m a good person. Why is this happening?
“If I weren’t the one entirely responsible for making this coffee, I’d throw the scalding mess in the stupid face of the person who was!” I scream. I empathize with all of the world’s great tyrants. History has not been kind to them because history is written by a bunch of whiny dicks.
I stomp around and frown. I fold my arms in front of my chest and narrow my eyes at the refrigerator, holding it very much accountable for the morning travesty. I hear it rumble (tremble) in my presence. I bought the cream from Trader Joe’s, reaching to all the way to the back row so I could nab the one with the latest expiration date. I set the fridge to level 6. Seven is the coldest. All this paid attention to detail should’ve kept the cream from spoiling. I do everything right. WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED?
And it’s not just the refrigerator, I think. It’s the whole company. Amana. How the customers who buy their whirlpools must suffer as they swirl around in never-ending circles, like common guttersnipe!
The day passes. Conditions don’t improve, even though I control all the things.
Lunchtime: I niggle my roommate over the stuff that has irritated me about her since time immemorial. The flaws! So… awful! She ought to know about her weaknesses so she can correct them and stop annoying me, so I can be happy finally. She repudiates my criticisms, insisting that I’m listing sets of typical human frailties. Well, if they’re so human, Justice Kagan, why don’t I have them, huh?
I can hear myself, but I can’t stop. I don’t know which is worse – knowing I’m saying stupid things or not being able to control myself. Maybe, I pause, I should apologize and cop to being a little bit crabby. You know, make an honest woman out of myself. But then what about my pride? My self-respect? I would look like a fool! And if I apologized right now, she’d probably snap a little polaroid of me with a pathetic expression on my face standing in my nightgown looking like Tom Petty and upload it to Flickr! Or worse: Shutterfly, where she could put it in a calendar that she’d give me for Christmas as a joke. “The 12 Moods of Alexa.” I can’t risk that!
“No, it’s not me, it’s you doing this thing that you do where you stand in the doorway and take up space and you don’t move out of the way! You make me ask you to move so I can pass you. That’s insane troll logic! I shouldn’t have to say anything. Ugh! I’ve had it up to a certain height with you. I can’t take it anymore! … Those are things people say!” I knit my eyebrows together and storm out.
She must know I am mad because I use the same idioms that people are supposed to use when they are upset. These phrases don’t make sense, because they’re not meant to invoke an argumentative response. They are meant to be the crazy last words that angrily self-righteous people feel entitled to blurt out.
Later that night, I eat a snickerdoodle and watch face transplant surgeries on YouTube. I’m over it, but I can’t bring myself to apologize. I owe a lot of apologies at this point to a lot of people, and I feel overwhelmed by this emotional debt. I’m starting to see how 16 hours is a really long time to be awake. Maybe for the hot-tempered, living in Greenland during the winter is a type of damage control.
On other other hand, if I don’t act soon, my friends and family will stage an “apology” intervention. I will have come for what I think is potato wedges with bacon, and they will pop out from behind the curtains casting judgment. I will leave mortified. With no potato wedges. Or be escorted to a waiting van that will take me to some kind of stubborn rehab.
Fine. I’ll apologize. Well played, friends and family.