I don’t know how people do it really. Life. Taking care of things. Just getting up in the morning is a gauntlet of aggravation. Life is annoying. Beyond annoying. Life is impossible some days.
I know I’m being dramatic and things are beautiful and I should be happy to be alive and all that. But today I'm irritable. Sue me. When I was four years, old I had a folding chair with the outline of Big Bird on it, which I would raise up above my head and hurl onto the ground with all of my strength.
“Damn it!” I would say. Frustration has always been my thing.
This morning, the trash bag was stuck in the plastic liner of the trashcan. I would have let it go for the moment, but I needed somewhere to dump the coffee grounds from yesterday and the thing was overflowing as it was. I tugged on the bag as pieces of spinach from last night’s meal adhered themselves to my forearms. I swore zealously.
I’m not proud, people. But this is what I do. (Just in case I’ve been coming across on this site as someone who has it just the slightest bit together.)
I get mad. Like the song about the goat on Sesame Street. “I get mad, I get mad, I get mad. Anybody’d get mad.”
Nothing gets me riled up quite like the trashcan. It is stained and disgusting and has been in this apartment, originally my boyfriend’s, for years longer than I have. Each time I take a bag out, I see down there in the dark, the end piece of a loaf of brown bread, increasingly fossilized as each week goes by.
It is unique in that each time I open it, I feel I have the potential to contract both salmonella and tetanus. It is already dented from another time earlier this year when I couldn’t get the bag out, and being mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, I kicked it until it relented.
So you see, the trashcan is a constant source of bitterness and ire.
Before I moved in with someone, I used to rage in the semi-privacy of my studio apartment where I would fling a throw pillow against the wall. I try not to throw things now that I live with someone. Though occasionally, when irritated beyond belief, I will quietly and calmly retreat to the bedroom. Hitting something soft generally makes me feel better when I’m upset. So does gritting my teeth and shaking my forefinger at the object that has offended me. I often accompany this with abusive language.
If you couldn’t see me you might think I was some kind of abusive white trash mother. A Newport dangling from her lips yelling at her children. “You good for nothing piece of shit," was what I recently screamed at the toaster.
As my fights with inanimate objects usually take place before I’ve had my coffee, Tim calls them my “morning sessions.” I have to admit that I kind of like the ring of this as it makes it sound as though my tantrums were in fact rare recordings with Bob Dylan.
He is generally pretty forgiving of all of this, having decided that my behavior it is funny and cute rather than frightening. I am very grateful to him. Today, hearing my anger, Tim called down from the bedroom in a jolly sing-songy way, “Oh honey are you making coffee yet?” which was like asking if it was safe to come downstairs now.
At that moment I was hovering over the trashcan panting, fingers interlaced with ripped pieces of black plastic bag and spinach. I gave one final tug, which must have rearranged all of the crap inside the bag because suddenly it was loose and I was once again staring into the bottom of the trashcan at the almost white piece of toast.
Tying up what was left of the bag, I propped it near the door to be taken out. I washed my hands. With as much dignity as I could muster, I pushed errant pieces of hair from my face, sniffed indignantly and put the coffee pot on the stove.
“At least you’d never hurt me,” I whispered to it.