Prompt #1: What are you angry about? Mad about? Annoyed about?
Complain! Go ahead and vent. Spit it out.
You can answer from your experience, or from your fictional character’s point of view.
Prompt #2: Regarding Prompt #1, is there anything you can do about it?
If yes, write possible solutions, compromises, ideas, brainstorm.
If not, let it go. Write about how you can release it, breathe it away, banish it, whisk it away.
How can you let go of your fears, worries, annoyances? How can you just let go?
I arrived home from Texas eager to meet my new neighbor. My previous neighbor had been 95 and the life of the block. No one made it past her door without her notice and a friendly chat.
My landlord, a spring chicken at 90, introduced the new neighbor. All smiles and kindness and I thought oh, a nice addition to our community. She was interested in the neighborhood and her neighbors. She was a sprightly, frail looking lady of 86. As a former realtor, she had the easy conversational charm of a used-car salesman. She claimed to like people and valued privacy.
At first I was happy to repeat the same directions over and over, answer questions and generally thought she was a good neighbor.
The veneer wore off three weeks later when I was was called into our shared garage—“just for a little chat and to give a little kindness”—these turned out to be code for a chance to ream out her victim. Puzzled as to why I was getting screamed at, it turned out that my car was parked crooked. Granted it was on my side and that no part of it had strayed to her side.
This was, of course, a major crime in my neighbor’s book, We drew up a boundary line and she put it in chalk on the garage floor. But my car door might overlap on her side, someday.
The constant demand of being made to apologize for infractions of her list of infringements began to wear thinner and thinner.
Over the months her demands escalated.
Don’t talk on your cell phone outside. (Disturbed her dog.)
Don’t park on the driveway (even on your own side.)
Don’t park in the shade even though the driveway was not in use.
Don’t leave the garage door open for more than two seconds.
Don’t let friends use the driveway to drop off anything (including a sofa).
Close the garage door within 10 seconds after exiting it and arriving home.
And her list went on and on and on with the rules changing at will.
The slammed doors in each other’s face, the put downs from her escalated to personal attacks about my appearance.
“Your ugly, fat face makes me sick” was hurled after I took a picture of her large calendar and bottle of bleach left by my car. The calendar, written in 3 inch letters was about my infringement of parking on the driveway to unload my car. Really? All of this drama and verbal abuse over a damn driveway? Really?
There is now a legal proceeding to evict “the sweet little old lady.” The police have been notified because in between all their other stresses and problems they have to keep straight, two grown women can’t resolve some petty issues themselves. Really?
“Common sense. Just ignore each other,” coupled with the other unspoken message of, “Don’t waste our time,” came through loud and clear.
And yes, I am fed up and angry because, no, common sense does not reason with mental illness.
I suppose what has made me angriest is what awful behavior had emerged from me. I never dreamed I would yell or be so discourteous to an 86 year old. I don’t like that I wish her dead or at least gone for good. On one hand I know that patience is needed to deal with mental illness and elders but on the other hand I have no patience left…really!
mcullen Post author
A riveting what-will-happen-next account of what can happen when one least expects it. I love, “easy conversational charm of a used-car salesman.” I especially like the last paragraph, how the narrator reveals what has made her the angriest. A universal truth, when someone else’s horrible behavior brings our out worst and there’s nothing we can do about it, after it’s been done or said. I happen to know this writer is an extremely kind and empathetic person. So, we will treat this a fiction. Good job, casting the villain and great job with the protagonist. . I’m cheering for her.
Sometimes life pushes us far beyond any imagined limits into uncharted territory.
I appreciate your vivid, honest expression of this place.
Wishing you a safe journey, peaceful resolution.
Comments are closed.