Did you ever find yourself getting in a fight, like an honest-to-god shouting match, that you were so determined to win, you just couldn't let go, but after it was all over, you wondered how you ever got sucked into it? Why you even cared to begin with?
I had such a fight the other night with Paul, Lauren's stepdad. I've been trying to pitch in around the house - do chores now and again, put my downtime to good use so I don't just sleep all day and mope about my situation. Besides, I know that with Susan out cleaning other peoples' houses, she has limited energy to put toward her own place. I'm trying to be a good kid for these people, but I guess it's such a turnaround from Lauren's typically self-centered teenage attitude that it's aroused suspicion.
It started with a load of laundry. I've picked out a few preferred articles of clothing that, as compared to other parts of Lauren's wardrobe, I prefer. It ain't all the "masculine" stuff, either, sweats and hoodies, because the way the weather fluctuates, the skin-baring stuff does come in handy as part of a layered... thing (ensemble, I think the word would be.) But there's a difference between a pair of butt-revealing jean shorts and a pair of more modest cargos. Similarly, there are undergarments that, as a 30-year-old in a teen body, I think are more appropriate for me to utilize. I got so tired of waiting for these items to come through the wash that I just started doing my own laundry. Then I got the bright idea to just start doing everyone's laundry. And this went on for a few weeks.
Then Paul caught me doing it and asked what the hell I was up to. I told him, honestly and innocently, I was just trying to be helpful while I had time, and he said that wasn't my responsibility, and that there were reasons we didn't do laundry as often as I wanted, because electricity and water bills and peak hours... shit he thinks I don't know about.
I don't know why I couldn't just swallow my pride, but I said I had a right to do some stuff for myself if I wanted. He said I was being a brat and said "I don't know what your ulterior motive is here but I know you've got one." I told him he was just being cheap, and that he was a joke... and things kind of spiraled outward from there. It was like an out-of-body experience... I could see and hear myself screeching at this man and turning red with oddly tearful anger, for, like, no reason at all.
It's possible my temper gets the better of me sometimes. I'll admit, this is something that predates my trip to Maine, but it's fair to say that lately I have a lot more reasons to feel provoked lately.
But yeah, I am not great at conflict resolution. Sue me.
Anyway, I got a talking to, and promised to help out less around the house unless asked to (???) so now I'm back to basically being idle and frustrated. I don't know what the issue is between Paul and Lauren, but it's clear this dynamic is gonna be a problem going forward.
On the plus side...
Yes, there are positives to this whole ordeal. Meg has talked about how much better she feels without the injury/disability/whatever the polite term is for her bad leg. I didn't have anything that wrong with me, but it's hard to deny that over the course of three decades I had gotten dinged up a fair bit, and waking up every morning feeling like a practically freshly-made human feels great. Of course, it's hard to drag myself out of bed before 10, but once I'm up I am up, and find myself staying awake until after 2 AM and only going to bed because I figure it's time, not just collapsing onto a couch.
The most noticeable change is to my tongue. Since this body didn't have years of smoking (lay off me, I quit eventually) my tastebuds pop a lot more. Everything tastes better, from fruit (and those giant blended smoothees they sell at the mall) to steak... leading me to over-stuffing my little stomach and getting sick. I had a problem on the weekend where we got ice cream and... dude, I ate way too much ice cream, and I felt it later for a while, but if that's my biggest vice in this body, I'm winning.
Anyway, I'm starting to remember why teenagers feel so invincible.
In fact, the only major unexpected complaints -- you know, besides decrease in size, upper body strength, and generally being treated like an unwanted stepkid -- is that I seem to be getting headaches with an alarming frequency, and I find myself very un-coordinated. I walked into a lamppost outside the other day while texting which... my God, I really have become a teenager. I should probably just stop writing this right now.
Oh yeah, and if you were still wondering about the pageant thing... that's a subject for another time. Let's just say, we're still in negotiations.