Neither Brave Nor Unflappable

Tuesday night when I got home from work, it appeared that the neighbor’s shed was on fire. I went over to look more closely before calling 911 and it was just a fire in a barrel right next to the shed, which, considering that the shed has ordinary shingles, seemed like a bad idea. But I didn’t call the fire department because that would have meant interacting with the neighbor and, if it jacked him up? Well, he lives right next door.

But when I came home last night, there was a big moving truck in the driveway and he was going back and forth with a lantern on his head. It was too dark for me to make out if he was taking things out of the truck or putting them in.

But if he’s moved away, who will shoot my creek?

Maybe y’all saw that picture that went viral of the target against a fence with a house clearly behind it and the girl with the rifle about to go shoot? My neighbor’s propensity for shooting at my creek was not quite that level of stupid, but it was still stupider than I’d care for a person with a gun to be.

If you’re standing in the creek, which for some dumb reason is lined with concrete, shooting away from our houses, there’s a low hill in the pasture behind us and then a house, the roof of which you can see when the leaves are down.

Unless you’re a sniper, I guess I have a hard time seeing how you could hit something in the house, but it certainly seems possible to me that, if you got startled or, oh, I don’t know, slipped on the slick concrete bottom of the creek, right as you fired, the bullet could easily end up in those people’s back yard. And what if they or their dog were in that back yard?

Also, if the bullet hit the concrete sides of the creek, isn’t there a chance of ricochet?

The whole thing was just so stupid. But he was also very scary (or may still be, but I’m hoping the truck was a good sign) so I chickened out.

Plus, once he knew I knew he was shooting in the creek, he seemed to stop. Or become more stealthy about it.

I had a meltdown at work yesterday. I knew as I was doing it that nothing good could come of it and that, in fact, it would only lead to movement away from my goals instead of a hastening toward my goals, but I did it anyway, because I was tired of feeling like I was the only person actually worried about the thing going wrong.

I’m not proud of that. But also, I kind of am.

Do y’all still have an active fantasy life? Not a sexy fantasy life. I’m going to go ahead and assume you do. But I mean where you practice your Oscar speech in the car on your way home from work or where you go over all the ways you will let the dude you loved who didn’t love you back know what an awesome person you’ve become.

I have a fantasy that I come back to in various iterations, but the gist of the fantasy is that there are large forces working against me–like say the FBI and MI6 both want me dead because of my international terrorist deeds–and just at the moment when they think they’re going to reveal to me just how fucked I am, I instead reveal to them how all this time I have been playing them against each other and it would be far better for them to just let me go about my business–because, of course, in my fantasy, I am a good-hearted international terrorist just trying to bring some justice to the people–than to take me out and have all their various misdeeds come to light.

I think part of the reason this fantasy is so attractive to me is, sure, yes, I get to be powerful in it, but also I get to be very, very smart, the kind of smart that can think five steps ahead and place herself in a seeming position of weakness temporarily in order to have the upper hand in the long-term.

In my fantasy, nothing is mysterious to me. I am unflappable and cool. I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it.

In real life, I’m a tiny rowboat trying to get to shore fighting a storm coming in. In my fantasies, I’m a warship.

 

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