Anger, Revenge, and Laughter – A Story About Chef’s Cell Phone

There are some characteristics of my personality that clash completely with my Christian beliefs, and some of the hardest ones to control were sorely tested this week.

Personally, I blame my parents. 🙂

My father is mainly of Irish and Scottish descent. Dirt poor and in an abusive home due to several different stepfathers, he spent most of his childhood living on the streets. As you would imagine, this shaped him into a tough, street-smart man who learned to

Thanks, Mom.
Thanks, Mom.

survive in harsh conditions. I have a million stories he’s told me, most of which make me laugh my butt off. I tell some of them here. But there are other ones, too, that aren’t so funny. He dealt with a lifetime of substance abuse, alcoholism, and broken relationships.  One thing my father hates is to be made a fool of. That humiliation and embarrassment can cause him to fly into a blind rage. And boy, do I share that trait with him! A few days ago, some of the former employees of Chef’s, and the co-workers of T, his girlfriend, stopped by to visit with my daughter. Some things were said about the two of them when they were having their affair there at the store, and how Chef had been systematically trying to lay most of the girls working for him, to the point of actually showing up at some of their homes in the middle of the night. I was livid, reliving that hellish period again in my mind, and I had to really wrestle with my mind to get it back under control. I was able to take it down from a full boil to a steady simmer, but I was hot, hot, hot.

The second problem is what I blame on my mother. My mother’s heritage is Italian, from Sicily. We have plenty of mafia connections in that part of the family, and I swear, revenge must be a genetic characteristic. To be blunt,  I’m gifted at the fine art of cold revenge. So, even though I was able to let the anger die down for the most part, the other part of my brain was systematically and coldly covering just how to humiliate Chef and T right back for humiliating and embarrassing me so blatantly.  I had some beauties simmering in there. Yet, at the same time, I kept trying to make myself stop going in that direction, knowing that no good ever comes out of revenge and God would frown on this line of thought. Frankly, it was emotionally exhausting.

So basically, I’m a woman with a quick Irish temper coupled with a penchant for boozing when I’m angry, mixed in with the uncanny Sicilian ability to brilliantly trash a person’s life if really pissed off, yet maybe lacking the obvious necessary inhibitions to go through with the anger-fueled plan until it had been well thought out. Really, it is the Perfect Storm of personality traits in a situation like this.

Enter, my Christian beliefs. Even a baby Christian can quote, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, saith the Lord”, and I wrestled hardily with this statement after hearing what Chef and T had been doing and saying. Through this whole debacle, I’ve had strong moments in the Lord, but I’ve also blown it, too. I’ve called both Chef and T a lot of names, flew in rages at some of the humiliating crap they’ve pulled, got intoxicated enough to warrant an intervention, and about a million other failures. But, as the sting of everything has been wearing off, I’m able to hold off on my instant reactions a little better. I’m really tired of having to crawl back to the Lord with apologies for behaving so badly.

The Bible tells us to not let the sun go down on our anger, and of course, God would know. The whole next day, I would start to think about it again, and the rage would come back. I don’t know how many times I asked God to please help me just think of something else. I tried convincing myself that I don’t have to be embarrassed by my husband’s shoddy words and actions, but that didn’t work. Of course I’m humiliated by his cheating, which he wasn’t even bothering to tried to hide when he was at work. That is a very public, humiliating act of betrayal. So, that line of reasoning didn’t work. I pulled up a picture of him as he is right now, in all of his tweaking glory and tried to convince myself that it was T who needed to be embarrassed, but that didn’t work either because despite his physically damaging descent into all of this horror, I still love him. It isn’t the same kind of love I once felt, but it still doesn’t allow me to see him the way he really is anymore. I still see him the way he used to be.  Every thing I did to trick myself into calming down failed, and finally I gave up and went to bed. So much for not letting the sun go down on my anger. Hey, I tried.

This morning, I woke up fine. I don’t know where the anger and thirst for revenge went, but I have a sneaking suspicion God let something happen yesterday that reminded me that I’m actually much happier now than I would be if we’d stayed together. And it made me laugh, which is a plus.

Remember when I told you that Chef had tons of secrets, always changing passwords, hiding his cell phone, locking things in lock boxes, and putting a lock on the spare bedroom door? Well, he still does all of that, plus there are more lock boxes than ever. I’ve seen the Secret Room with all the various Lock Boxes in it, and it still creeps me out. Only now, he is guarding his secrets from T instead of me.I don’t know what all he’s up to these days, but I know that when he is around me, he turns his cell phone to vibrate only, and carries it on his person like it has the antidote. You can hear it when it vibrates, which I find funny. I’ve made fun of him a few times for hiding it from me, asking him what I could possibly find on it now that would matter. Would I find out that he’d been having numerous affairs with workplace employees for the last year, had left his family, and moved one of his conquests into my home to be his little sugar mama? Oh, please. I don’t know why he doesn’t find that funny. I sure do.

lol...Ain't that the truth.
lol…Ain’t that the truth.

A few weeks ago, he was in a particular snit about T invading his privacy. On and on, he raged that he was a grown man and should be allowed his privacy without question. In other words, any woman in his life should take him at his word that he was telling them the truth and just trust him. I tried to explain to him that when only two people live in a home, and you lock stuff up or hide a cell phone, you are basically broadcasting to the other person that you are doing something they wouldn’t like. Who else could you be hiding stuff from. For decades, I never bothered to even look in that phone’s direction. But the minute it was obviously being guarded, it was a huge red flag.  Plus, if a man will cheat with you, he’ll cheat on you, and T has to be struggling with those kinds of doubts. He refused to acknowledge that I might be right; instead he informed me he was 54. Really, why do I bother to try to reason with him?

Anyways, now that I’ve laid the foundation, a few days ago my brakes went out on my car, and Chef had to fix them. For days we have had to deal with each other, and I did let him know what those co-workers had told me, and that it really pissed me off. Of course, he accused them all of lying, blah, blah, blah, and I just let the conversation go because really, what would the point be now? What is done is done. Well, that and he was working on my brakes. No good would come pissing him off while he had my life in his hands. Finally, the car was fixed, and he brought it to me late, late last night. On the way to taking him back to his house, he was in a foul mood, moaning and complaining about T, his life, his home…everything. I couldn’t wait to get him out of my car. But first, I had to take him to two stores. At the first one, while I waited in the car, he went in and then quickly exited. I watched as he opened the passenger door, and fish out his cell phone that he’d hidden. LOL!! He returned to the store and finished his shopping.

The second stop was at McDonald’s and he threw an actual, physical fit when I didn’t order his hamburger correctly. It was like cell phone twowatching a toddler in the toy aisle who can’t have what he wants. I corrected my mistake, got his food, and dropped him off at his house, sincerely glad to be returning to my own apartment.

About an hour later, this random number keeps calling my phone, and I kept hitting “ignore” because I didn’t recognize it. It is so insistent, calling over and over, though, that Rebekkah tells me to just answer it. It turns out to be Chef. He is in an absolute panic because he left his phone in my car. He, he.   🙂  I started laughing on the phone as he is giving me orders to not touch it until he gets to my apartment. And of course, I go to my car, call his phone, and sure enough, I can hear it vibrating under his seat. The dork, when he’d had his childish fit at McDonald’s, had knocked the thing onto the floor and under the seat. And now his prized secret cell phone was under my control for at least 20 minutes before he’d be able to come and collect it. He lives pretty far away. The funniest part of this is that had he just not bothered to call me and threaten me if I looked through his phone, I would have never even known it was in my car. I ignored his demands and threats and took the sucker back in with me.

The kids and I laughed and laughed because we just knew, his head had to be exploding wondering what I’d do with it. I made sure it was unlocked and lit up when I handed it to Dj.  He knocked on the door, and Dj handed to him and shut the door. He called me a few minutes later, but I just ignored his call. Let him wonder. 🙂

For the amount of rage I felt from the recounting of his betrayals a few nights before, it really didn’t take much of an incident to make me laugh about it all again. That has to be God, right?

— Bird

The Gift of Determination

English: A 2010 Girardin MB-II school bus belo...

I have to admit that while I’m happy with how my brain turned out now, it was more of a love/hate thing back when I was first getting started in life.  Our relationship began to have real trouble when I was in the third grade. Evidently, I was unable to keep up with the class when it came to math, and I was dispatched, to my utter dismay and humiliation, to a mobile classroom on the outskirts of the school for an hour each day. While the rest of my class stayed put, I would have to scoop up my flagrantly different math text-book, exit the class with my cheeks burning, walk the long distance to the Special Ed building, all the while feeling stupid,  and meet a sugary sweet teacher who would talk to me like I was not only mathematically challenged, but also having trouble understanding the English language. The whole experience was completely appalling to me, and I decided that I’d work extra hard on my own so I could get out of the Special Education Math Class.

To me, my circumstances have always been something that I felt I could change, if I could just figure out a plan of action. While I may have been lacking in the mathematical area, I more than made up for it in the determination area.

Evidently, I have always been a control freak.. 🙂

My plan was to get better at math immediately. Back then, though, there were no home computers, much less the World Wide Web, so I was a tiny bit unsure about how to go about becoming a mathematical genius overnight. Luckily, my mother had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica‘s, and I began my quest right there. Everyday after school, I would begin my research into a quick, sure way to improve my brain’s performance.  Often, I would get distracted from my mission, running across something entirely unhelpful, but way more interesting. And in time,  I found a little excerpt from an old research study that stated  how the brain worked in general, and had come to the conclusion that people who write with their left hands tended to have better mathematical abilities. Ah Ha! I thought.  All I needed to do, in my own estimation, was to teach myself to write with my left hand. This, I surmised, would “wake up” the right side of my brain, and I’d be a mathematical wiz…Good-bye, Special Ed Math. Hello, Popularity and Wealth. Actually, I didn’t really care about the popularity and wealth thing so much..just getting out of that humiliating class.

I had this gut feeling that I’d just stumbled on to a little known cure, and that soon, I’d leave my classmates in my mathematical dust…

So, I did exactly that. I practiced writing with my left hand for weeks, then months, and then years. To this day, I will occasionally write with it just to make sure I still can. I have so blended my left hand/right hand capabilities that I made myself somewhat ambidextrous.  🙂

But did it help my math abilities? I did catch up in math during my fourth grade year, and then later, in high school, I was able to hold my own, and to get good grades. I scored higher than average in math on my SAT’s, though I always find English grammar, literature, and the like easier to learn and understand, and those scores were higher than my math scores. I ended up working most of my life in accounting.

I have no idea if my little quest tricked my brain or not. Maybe, because I believed that it would make me smarter in math, it did. All I know is that I’ve learned that the brain is exceedingly magnificent and complicated, and we can train it to do what we want. Too cool!

One teacher that I admired and respected once told me that I was unusually logical, always breaking everything down to its simplest forms, which was actually a mathematical skill, and he thought it was unlikely that I was ever behind in math, but instead just wasn’t being taught in a method that I could learn from. Back then, in the 1970’s, the multiplication tables were taught by memorization, and he theorized that this method would not have been something I could have kept up with. A bunch of numbers memorized for reasons I couldn’t explain would not have been easy for me to retain. Instead, had the teachers shown me what exactly was actually being done when you multiply 2 by 2, I would have kept up just fine.

I remember thinking that I liked that teacher’s theory about my brain, but a tiny part of me wants to believe that in elementary school, I figured out a way to trick my brain into being smarter in math due to a little extra shot of determination. 🙂

— Bird