I had a startling revelation the other day. It may not seem like such a big deal to some of you, but it made me understand another little piece of the puzzle that’s me. I’ve been picking up a variety of differently shaped segments for the past twelve years and slotting them into what seems like the appropriate places.
I’ve tried not to resort to using the “if it doesn’t fit use a bigger hammer” technique, and in general I’ve had some success in building a fairly accurate and honest picture of myself. Some of the time I haven’t been necessarily thrilled with what I’ve seen, but at least that way I know what I need to fix to make the picture a little more pleasant to look at.
Yesterday I sent a really angry email to somebody who is supposedly a friend of my wife and myself. Last winter my wife had worked with him on a recording project. After the CD was finished, she had offered to help with some of the mailing out of review copies. Her job was to label envelopes and stuff them with a CD and promotional material.
This meant boxes of CDs, mailing envelopes, promotional material, and bubble wrap for protecting the discs in their envelopes were dropped off at our apartment. She was told it was very important that stuff be ready to mail as soon as possible. The first wave went out in June and that was fine, but we were still left with a significant number of boxes and material cluttering up our apartment.
The second wave was to go out in mid August and the labels were delivered to my wife so that she could prepare eighty more pieces to go out in the mail. As some of you may know from reading some of my other articles, my wife is not in the best of health, suffering from a sever anxiety disorder and benign positional vertigo.
Unfortunately it seems that the heat of the summer exasperated both of her conditions, so by mid August she was not doing very well at all. She takes her responsibilities seriously and had promised to take care of this mailing for our friend. She spent two nights prior to the labels being delivered folding the promotional material, wrapping CDs in bubble wrap, and stuffing them in envelopes. When the labels came, all she would have to do was affix them and the mailing would be ready.
Our friend came by with the labels and stressed how important it was to have them ready to be mailed as quickly as possible. They are still sitting in our living room along with sufficient material for another God knows how many more mailings.
She tried phoning for a week and leaving messages to say they were ready to the person who was supposed to come pick them up. When that elicited no response she started emailing our friend. He didn’t even email back a reply. Occasionally we have received an email from him that was part of a mass mailing either complaining that no one was helping him with the work involved with promoting the CD or telling us how many visits the CD’s Myspace site had received that week.
Yesterday I walked out into the living room and saw the boxes still sitting there and got really pissed off. We’ve been forced to rearrange our living space to accommodate them and they take up room we can’t spare. I snapped and wrote him an email saying our apartment was not a storage space and I didn’t like being taken advantage of.
If he couldn’t be bothered to reply to emails from my wife about what she was supposed to do about the mailing she had prepared for last August, I didn’t see why I should bother storing the stuff for him. I was also nasty enough to say I knew he was busy, but if he had the time to do all the other things he was doing, he surely could have spared a few seconds to email my wife in answer to her question.
I told him he had until January 16th of this year to get them out of here or I would start disposing of them in any way that I could: implying the garbage.
I started thinking about it later in the day and realized I was upset by something else aside from the situation. I was upset that I had been forced into the position of being an asshole and getting angry with him in an effort to get him to pay attention. It was such a pointless thing to be angry about, but he seemed willing to take us for granted for as long as he could ignore my wife’s emails.
In spite of the circumstances, I still felt disappointed because I responded in the manner I did. It felt like I was failing somehow or other because I had to resort to threats and anger in order to be treated with respect. What really bothered me was that the other person involved is one of those people who talks about community and cooperation all the time, yet can’t be bothered to answer an e-mail.
When I look for something positive from the experience I can’t find much, but there are these two things. No matter how much I’m upset with myself for using anger, I’ve had the good sense to place the blame where it belongs and not at my own feet. Secondly is the fact that it did bother me that I had to write the e-mail in the first place.
I figure I’m on the right track if even doing that little bit upset me. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to handle the circumstances in such a way that anger won’t be necessary. For now I’ll settle for being pissed off about being made to get pissed off.