Friday, July 2, 2010

Not Zen.

Snap and I used to keep a running list of all things "Not Fashion." Like- all-white sneakers. Acid-wash jeans (although Urban Outfitters seems intent on bringing those back.) Scrunchies. "Not Fashion."

Recently, having made leaps and bounds in my personal goals, I have been desperately trying to cultivate the sense of inner peace that's grown in all of these accomplishments. Part of my outlook for 2010 was to treat everyone as worthy, to be as sincere as possible, and to step outside of my own little box of self-contained trouble and attempt to not sweat the small stuff. Focusing on kindness towards others is an excellent way to not freak out internally about stupid crap.

But then Life creeps up on me, and I backslide, and I have these moments that I am now calling "Not Zen."

As in: the sheer opposite of Zen.

As in: everything else shrinks and my personal problem becomes larger than the universe and has to be dealt with RIGHT NOW.

This happens in a number of places: traffic, the grocery store, waiting tables. My patience gets stretched to thin threads threatening to snap.

A few weeks ago, I made a mistake at work. I forgot to ring in an order. It happens. I apologized, I did everything I could to make the situation right, and the ornery guest whose order had been forgotten (rather than accepting my blunder and genuine apology) rolled her eyes at me and slammed her silverware around on the table. Her decidedly "Not Zen" reaction created in me an equally "Not Zen" disdain and a frighteningly strong "Not Even Close To Being Peaceful" urge to inflict bodily harm. I had visions of flipping the table, plates and glasses going everywhere, while I instructed the guest precisely what physical action she could take with herself.

I did not do this.

Instead, I gave myself a time out. I walked away and went upstairs and cleaned glasses or something until I could breathe normally again.

I am reminded I am human when things like this happen. That I am not nearly the calm, peaceful person I aspire to be at times. Yes, I have gotten better. What makes me flip my shit at 28 is certainly light years beyond what could set me off at 19, 22, 25. But it still happens. And it becomes frightening to me how quickly I can enrage over the slightest thing.

Today it was the air conditioner.

I am frantically attempting to balance multiple things in my life right now: starting a new job next week, tying up loose ends, packing for this weekend's trip to the beach (which was supposed to be a relaxing, fun weekend away but is starting to feel frantic, hectic, and stressful.)

I was in the midst of said packing, after a day of running errands and getting ready to leave tomorrow, when Whack came upstairs to inform me that the air conditioner was leaking.

You would have thought she told me that someone had murdered my cats.

I just completely lost it. Thinking about calling an AC repair person (because between Whack and I we have this extensive knowledge of AC units: they turn on and off) on a holiday weekend, waiting for him/her (you never know) to come out, living in a row house in July with no AC, worrying about the pets, possibly having to postpone my beach trip to wait for said repair person, worrying about fronting the cost, worrying that wires would short and the house would explode, and then not being able to call a "Time Out" for myself because I was in a hurry and this needed to be addressed Immediately.

I did the two things I always do when something breaks down, blows up, or (in this case) begins emitting mysterious water: called male friends who know things about machines, and Googled.

Meanwhile, I bitched to Whack about the situation. OF COURSE this happens at 5pm on a Friday on a holiday weekend. OF COURSE this needs to be addressed, and OF COURSE it happens when I'm trying to get my act together to get out of town.

Because, you know, I am the victim here. The underlying thought was: OF COURSE this is me. Like my air conditioning unit and the universe conspired to push me over the edge. Because, you know, everything revolves around me.

This is what happens in these "Not Zen" moments. I become so utterly self-absorbed that I am actually convinced that this is not something stupid or awful that is happening because of a series of random coincidences, it is happening TO ME. Losing your Zen is losing your perspective.

After a lot of freaking out, a lot of confused advice from patient male friends trying to get a grasp on the situation while I am commencing said freak-out, and a lot of Googling it appeared that there is a magic equation for sweating AC ducts in your laundry room.

When you do four loads of laundry, as Whack and I did today, it causes humidity. When you close the door to the laundry room, the chilly cool air ducts coming out of the air conditioner sweat in the humidity like a whore in church.

Solution: turn off the dryer and the AC. Open the windows. Let things dry off.

Such a simple answer to what, moments ago, spelled disaster in my mind.

These things trip me up. I get frazzled and stressed and caught up in MY world that when the real world interrupts, it's viewed as this incredibly violating thing. "Not Zen" moments are still things I just have no idea how to circumvent or deal with, and although my tendency to fly off the handle has gotten somewhat under control the past few years, it still happens.

At least I didn't throw anything this time, like the epic "Not Zen" episode of 2005 when I spilled a bottle of champagne on my laptop while I was finishing a final paper for the first year of my Masters. My ex tells me he still cites this "Not Zen" moment in his stand-up comedy shows. Rightfully so. It was beyond "Not Zen." It bordered on "Psychotic Freak-Out."

Those are fewer and further between, thankfully.

But still. "Not Zen." Not good.

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