Life as an Extreme Sport

Missing Anthropy

And just like that, it’s gone.

I pick up a paper, and I start reading. Without really even thinking about it, I rummage in the front pocket of my shoulder bag, looking for a purple pen so I can start writing comments. A few minutes later, I’m thinking of books I can recommend, and then I’m walking through my shelves, paper still in hand, looking for those books to bring in. I revel in it, the knowledge and the recommendations, the connections between interests, the sheer intellect of it all.

And I realize I can’t be mad anymore. It’s too much fun to do this level of “work”; is it even work? It’s such an enjoyable process. A small part of my mind asks if this wasn’t the point, if it was known that this is how I would react, and I’m being taken advantage of. The larger voice says “who the fuck cares, this is FUN!” and shuts that quiet cynic down.

But I’m still misanthropic, still upset at the world in general and irritated at others in specific. So I email, and text message, and finally get a reaction. Anger, ranting, hostility – not what I was expecting.

I blink once, twice, three times. I listen, sympathetic and sad – I recognize those problems that are being yelled at me, and know how hard they can be to get around. I let him vent, and then question, very quietly and simply, whether he truly thought I would deliberately press his buttons if I knew he was stressed out and unhappy. Silenece, and then the response – no.

We talk for 15 or 20 minutes, working out what the problems he’s facing are, sorting them into immediate and future. I offer varying degrees of help, all of which are accepted. I am calm, almost serene. I can hear the smile in my voice. I can feel the tension drain from my body. I am doing something, something that’s helping, something positive.

I now know what I need to say, when, why and how. It won’t be the negative horror I was dreading and anticipating, but instead a loving conversation full of support and care.

I was joking to Jen earlier, that I am teh awesome for the books and help I am providing to the first person mentioned. I don’t know what it is about putting my own mental whirlings aside to actually help someone else out, but it seems that whenever I do, I snap out of bad moods and anger and negativity, and refind what I consider to be my center – a basically kickass, thoughtful, caring (to steal Rachael’s term from earlier) broad. I wish I knew what it was about reaching out to others in the midst of personal misanthropy that snaps me out of that misanthropy, but whatever that magic is, it has worked once again.