I’ve quickly found myself becoming an angry old man. You know, the kid of one who shakes his fist at the clouds and yells at kids to get off his lawn. Considering I was an angry kid and an angry adult, this should come as no surprise to me or anyone who’s been lucky enough to know me for a while. Still, maybe for the first time in my life, I find myself attempting to relearn how to think and go about my life without judging others and perhaps be a tad less harder on myself.
Forgiveness and closure are powerful tools that have brought me more peace than I could have ever wished for. While I’m still learning and trying new ways to balance life. Having overall lower exceptions when it comes to myself and others has been a game changer. I still struggle to find that balance and overall acceptance that, no matter how much I wish it, we do not live in a perfect world.
As I recall. We were standing in the back yard of the home he and my Mother purchased when they were first married. At the time, my Dad had gone from having a steady city job driving a bus to a re-invented, self employed business man.
I recall being somewhat angry and showing some aggression towards my Father. Suddenly, perhaps understanding and wanting to quell my anger. My Father took my rather small hand in his, opened my clinched fist and placed a hollow point bullet (the same one you see pictured on the right.) without speaking a single word. While I didn’t quite understand its true meaning at the time and it’s come to mean a lot of things to me over the years. These days, I realize that he was trying to teach me that our anger, if not managed, can lead us down dark and dangerous paths.
While a short time in retrospect.,(maybe five or six years.) my Father may or may not have bent the rules of what some might consider legal. During that time, my experiences and the people I met along the way enabled me to see the world much differently from what I was being taught in Catholic school. It taught me that things are seldom black & white and that most situations contain a lot of grey areas. The things I experiences and exchanges I was given access to, taught me more than I would have ever expected. Til’ this day, more than thirty five years later, I still keep that hollow point on the end table by my side of the bed. It has never since see the chamber of a gun and surely never will. When I do pick it up and let it roll around in my palm, I often think of my Dad and that important part of our lives. The stories, the characters and the many things life taught me.
Shortly after arriving home yesterday, I received an email notifying me that there was a package waiting for me in the buildings office. Knowing that in was probably the latest batch of records I ordered from my favorite music distributor, I raced downstairs before even bothering to put my shoes back on. Upon breaking the seal of a vinyl reissue of a cherished demo from the late 80’s. I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to see one of my photos within a collage of others from the time. Shocked, considering I didn’t know how the record label acquired it. Dismayed considering I was never approached, notified, credited or compensated for its use. Feeling angry and somewhat betrayed, I knew I needed to get some fresh air. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and managing I’ve often found that physically removing myself from a situations can go a far way towards easing any stress, tension or anger I might find myself being overwhelmed by. Luckily, with a park, lake and bay just minutes away, I’m able to do so. The chance to practice my tai chi, breathing techniques and take a few pictures can often change a mindset. In being able to combine all three, the thought of someone using a picture I took about thirty years ago seems pretty insignificant in the overall scale of things.
As we left the exhibition last night and began walking up the ramp towards Senate St. we slowed our pace to distance ourselves from the rather loud and obnoxious tie dyed fool just ahead of us. Knowing full well that someone wearing a Grateful Dead shirt is most likely not used to making good lifestyle choices and could go off on a Cherry Garcia rage at any moment. We brought our pace to a full “Let’s just stand here and watch the sunset.
Passing our local and somewhat private community park. We noticed the same man flicking his cigarette as he rolled around in the grass. While I was initially angered by his antics. I was quickly reminded of the wonderful thing we call Karma when we recalled an earlier notice that the entire park was sprayed with enough pesticide to kill a small child, dog or hippie. I couldn’t help but rejoice in devilish laughter. “That’s Karma your rollin’ in.” Just wait, it’ll happen.
While today started off on a positive note. It quickly went straight into the crapper due to a friends lateness causing me to keep a shoot waiting. A half ass job by the photo lab that wasn’t caught until I was already home and a maintenance requests that has still gone unfulfilled. It was as if I was in a steamer all day. One disappointment followed the other like a pack of raging dominos. I could have gone to the gym to let off some steam, but for whatever reason I just bathed in anger.
That’s when my wife came home. When she asked me how my day was. I decided I wasn’t going to let that negativity spread any further. I laughed about my mishaps and mentioned the little positives about the day without ever mentioning the jerk I had turned in to due to things I had no control over. It seems as if I need a constant reminder about how being pissed off all the time is never a good way to spend your time. I could have called that friend to tell him my window for waiting was quickly closing and I had other places to be. I could have rejoiced at the great job the lab did on my poster print. I could have just accepted the fact that the staff get’s busy here and getting up on a ladder to change bulbs in a loft is not always the priority of the day. I chose not to and I paid by losing an entire day to a wasted emotion. Lesson learned? I hope so. Until the next meltdown. Cheers.