Friday, April 9, 2010

Breathe deeply, forget those jerks

Listening to the radio this morning, I got so angry that I was shouting and swearing. NPR was reporting on Newt Gingrich talking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this week. Gingrich, besides calling the current administration "the most radical administration in U.S. history," also made some comparison between the Republican party and its imagined rivals. The phrase that got me yelling was, "The Republican party was founded on the work ethic, not the redistribution ethic" (cue applause from audience).

What, exactly, I yelled cannot be printed, not even in "Scurrilous Tosh." Let's just say it would have looked like this:


Something like that.

I get so mad at this rabble-rousing bullshit. I have been working since high school. I've been a (bad) waitress, a secretary, a counter girl at a fasteners store (bolts and screws); I've sold soft serve ice, shoes, Girl Scout cookies; I've been a bank teller, a PR lackey, a low-level press release writer. I've promoted the openings of baby hospitals, I've called strangers to ask them how they feel about particular names of HMO plans. I've been a secret shopper, I've sold high-end bar stools, I've even stood for eight hours at a time, extolling the virtues of space-age material in pool cues.

I've worked. All my damn life. AND I'M A DEMOCRAT! And because I don't have an inheritance coming, nor a family business to take over, I will probably work for the rest of my damn life. AND I'LL STILL BE A DEMOCRAT! How dare you! RWARRR!!!!

I could go on and on (and get into some flame-throwing match with a total stranger, most likely), but I won't. My point is, I was fired up. I'm serious: SCREAMING out loud, in my car, in the office parking lot. At a RADIO. At people who I've never met, and hope not to.

And then I opened my car door.

And the orange blossoms saved me. And my coworkers (from having to deal with a sullen brat).

There are few things as lovely as the scent of orange blossoms washing over you in the morning breeze. I was standing downwind from the university citrus orchards, and the trees have just started blooming in the last few days.

Even now, writing about it, the fragrance washes the angry right out of me. This is why nature is important. It's simpler, and yet bigger, than petty politics. Newt Gingrich doesn't know me. That cheering mob doesn't care about orange blossoms. But the scent of flowers was right there, all around me.

And it's comforting to know that this swirling, nostalgic perfume exists regardless of me, of leadership conferences, of radio broadcasts. Regardless of politics, presidents, parties. The smell of orange blossoms simply IS. It does not need me, but damn if I don't get so much out of it.

I think I'm going to take a break from this computer and go for a walk. Perhaps it sounds silly to you, but I suggest you do the same, while things are growing and blooming. Preferably in the morning, but you know, whenever. I wouldn't be surprised if there's something poisonous curled up in your mind, be it a fight with your spouse or something depressing you read about in the news. But I bet there's something lovely in the air that might wash it away.

At least for a little while.

1 comment:

Hips Unhinged Ltd said...

That was absolutely beautiful, Jen. Thank you for sharing it with us!

I got equally angry yesterday at a Panorama documentary (which are supposed to be impartial) called "Is Britain Full?" I thought I was watching a party political broadcast for the BNP, because it came to the conclusion that it is. Constant scaremongering about what will happen if we reach the mythical 70 million population mark, with threatening music as it showed images of busy train platforms and nurses feeding black babies. Frankly, they might as well have had Jeremy Vine standing in the studio yelling, "They're coming! The darkies are coming and they won't stop till they've capsized Britain! Aargh!"

No mention of the fact that the current 65 million of us live on approximately 1/4 of the land mass of the UK, or the fact that the reason trains, hospitals and schools are overcrowded is because of bad planning and investment. Nor did they take into account the rate of emigration, or the fact that new people coming in do take up jobs but also create new ones, because a higher population needs more people to build houses, run shops, teach etc etc.

If only I'd known that all I needed to vent that anger was to go outside for a walk! I went down the dance-until-your-feet-bleed route, which did work but took a hell of a lot more effort...