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When I came back to my car and saw that orange paper on the windshield, I was like, No! No way did I get a parking ticket! I closed my eyes tight, certain that when I opened them again, the ticket would be gone. No such luck, amigos. Even after I picked it up and read it, I was still like, No fucking way!
Then I was like, Please, God, please make this ticket go away. I promise to be good and believe in you. Please. Please? I'll cut off my own wiener. Then I was all, You fucking cunt, you never do anything for me! Don't I have enough problems?! Man, why does everything have to happen to me?
Suddenly it struck me: this wasn't even my fault, it was that asshole in front of me at the supermarket, the one who took all that time with his goddamned coupons. I ambushed him as he loaded groceries into the back of his Windstar. You inconsiderate jerk, I bellowed, breaking an unripe canteloupe over his stupid head, This is your fault! I spun around and threw a can of soup at the closest person I could find, a stubborn-looking elderly woman. It struck her soft skull with a satisfying thud, but my rage, confusion and fear only increased.
I got real low after that, like, Oh man, I'll never be able to pay off this ticket. Never! This is God's retribution for that time in high school when I bullied that kid. My life is ruined! I'm so stupid, I've always been stupid. I can no longer trust in the goodness and mercy of God -- first he let me bully that kid in high school, and now this!
Finally, I was like, You know what? I got a ticket, and there's really nothing I can do about it, so deal! With this acceptance of my situation, I felt renewed calm and emotional control.
When I looked down at that orange ticket in my hand, though, I felt the ungovernable rage and confusion welling up in me all over again. But by then I had gotten such a healthy perspective on my grieving process, I realized that cycling through the same emotions twice or even three times was totally normal and okay. All part of the process. I looked around for someone smaller and weaker than myself.
Date Written: November 18, 2004
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