11.12.2008

Anger Comes Out in the Weirdest Places


Charlie took the day off yesterday. It was a choice he spontaneously made when he stayed up too late the night before. At least that's what he told me when I came home from my meetings and saw him unshowered, unshaven, watching the History Channel while googling something on his laptop.

It's easy to sit inside and do nothing when it's cold and rainy outside. You may save money by sitting in a cold, dark room, but I don't. There's only so much I can take. If I don't have the energy to work, clean, or even bake, I certainly don't have the energy to stop myself from going somewhere and buying something.

So what do you think happened when I came home to my homeless-looking hubby? Lots of whining, of course. Whining like, "I'm so bored." Whining like I haven't heard since I had little kids, or since last time he was bored.

Five minutes later we were in the car, driving to New Seasons. This is why being bored is expensive.

Okay, maybe not expensive, but more expensive than having the discipline to go to work, take a shower, or bake something, none of which was going to happen when we were both trying to survive the crappy day outside.

After staying long enough at New Seasons to see the evening shift begin, we moved onto Powell's Books. I really appreciate that they created this gorgeous store right near New Seasons, so we don't have to get back in the car to continue our lazy behavior.

And we did. We found great seats and lots of books to read. Normal people tend to look at a few pages of several books, decide to buy a few, then take them home to read. We're normal, sometimes.

Then there are the other times. I never thought about trying to read a whole book while in the bookstore. I learned this from Sean. When he didn't have money to buy something, he'd read as much as he could while he was there. When he came back, he'd pick up where he left off.

Genius! We buy enough books to justify this, so I started reading whole books in a sitting. It isn't as hard as I thought. You can skip some of the boring parts and get through a book you probably never would consider buying. I find myself talking about books I've read without buying, so in my mind this justifies my semi-unethical behavior. You don't buy the books in the library, either.

I picked up some books that looked good but they were too smart for my dull day. Instead, I looked at some old used books about writing on the table next to me. I found a book on retiring with no money there, too, and stuck it in Charlie's lap. He's been reading Guinness book of World Records a little too much. A book with less pictures might get him motivated to do something besides obsessively google motorcycles.

Charlie opened the book and seemed to like it. He even read a few passages aloud to me. "All those people like Suze Orman," he said, "who tell you you must have millions in stock and savings before you can retire, they say that only to give themselves business."

He was excited and talking loud.

"Retirement is a new thing," he continued. "We've only had retirement since the 1930's. Social Security was started to move older workers out of jobs so younger workers could work during the Depression."

The guy sitting next to Charlie was listening, too. He leaned over to Charlie and started talking. My sister called so I got up and stood by the door to talk to her.

After about twenty minutes, Charlie brought over my coat and we left. "That guy just started to talk to me. He said he was fired from every job he's ever had because he yelled and couldn't control himself. His girlfriend broke up with him and he was living with his Mother. He was like over forty years old."

"He just started talking to you?"

"Yeah," Charlie said. "He seemed like he wanted advice. I guess he doesn't know I was too lazy to shower today.

"What did he say?"

"He asked me what he should do. You know me, I'm not going to lie. I told him, 'Did you ever consider it might be your fault?'"

Charlie has the gift of being very, very direct. It's annoying when he tells you the truth and you don't want to hear it. "How did he react?" I asked.

"He said he never thought about it like that, 'You might be right,' he said. He got quiet after that so I figured it was time for me to go. I didn't want to know how much of an anger problem he had."

There's free stuff everywhere.