June 17, 2002
A lot of things make me cry, especially if I’m in the right mood. I don’t think most of them are stupid, though the casual observer might disagree, especially if the casual observer were sitting next to me at a stoplight and saw me dabbing at my eyes because a particularly touching Disney song was on the CD player. I’ve cried at television commercials and cry in church quite often (well, quite often compared to the number of times I go to church), even when the sermon is not about how I’m going to burn for all eternity.
Friday night, though, I cried because of something that even I consider stupid. Mr. Karen had Friday off and was looking for something on the kitchen counter and came across the receipt for the last time I got the oil changed in the Mustang. Looking at it to figure out what it was and where it belonged, he saw I’d gotten the air filter changed as well as chosen the more expensive synthetic oil. This puzzled him. This was not what he would have done. Why had I done it? When I got home from work, tired and hungry, he started asking questions. I interpreted this as him criticizing my decisions. “Hadn’t we talked about telling them not to check the air filter, much less change it?” Yes, we had, but it takes so much of my gumption to make myself go deal with auto technician types at all that I don’t have any left over to tell them to deviate from their normal procedure. “Why did you get synthetic oil? With a car that old, it’s not worth it.” I like the extra margin of protection so I don’t have to stress about getting back to get it changed so soon, plus the guys at this oil change place were nice to me and my car, and I didn’t mind paying the extra to reward them for treating me well. It wasn’t long before I was in tears and wailing that I’d done the best I could and why didn’t he just get the oil changed himself and stop badgering me about it and why did it matter so much and didn’t he appreciate that while he’d been home surfing the Internet that I’d been stuck in traffic and on and on. My sobbing and sniffling pretty much ruined dinner. Stupid, stupid. I really should have learned by now that asking questions is like breathing to him; he doesn’t mean it as criticism, he just wants to understand. And he really should have learned by now that pressing me on anything just before a meal or just before bed is a really bad idea, especially if I’m also tired or stressed or both. By Saturday, with me rested and fed, all was okay again, and even the discussion following Mr. Karen checking the filter they’d put in and finding it was the wrong one didn’t cause any more tears. Still, it was stupid to let it get to me so much in the first place. I’d love to say that nothing like this will ever happen again, but it likely will. At least now Mr. Karen has put a label on the air filter cover with written instructions to the oil change guys, so I don’t have to deal with that particular problem again. Maybe I need to keep pieces of duct tape with the appropriate messages in the car so I can slap them on my forehead before I come in the house : “Notice: To prevent boil over, limit conversation until Karen has had a snack.” “Warning: Construction zone caused miles long backup; Karen is tense.” It just might work.
Other people in the June Journal SMACKdown are crying, too.