Interesting that Theodore should include a photo of Oscar the Grouch in his post calling me a liar. I’ve long blamed Sesame Street for my inability to fight or otherwise express anger and aggression. That is, whenever the beloved show deals with negative emotions, it’s all about controlling them or channeling them into productive outlets. Even Oscar’s just a Grouch—his is the whingeing of a nonconformist, not the outpouring of inner torment. (And when will we meet Arnold the Bully, his dickwad cousin?)
This is a great strategy to use on children, of course, except when it doesn’t work and instead creates massively repressed anxiety monsters who have more built-up negative emotion than can possibly be released through, say, regular intensive long-distance runs. Not that that’s me (anymore). I’m just saying.
All of which is to say that I’m not good at conflict, in part (perhaps) because I saw so little of it at home growing up. (And I am not lying.) When my dad read yesterday’s Tantrum post, he wrote me to say that neither he nor my mom had any memory of the fight I witnessed. So, maybe it didn’t happen at all and was really just in my head. At the same time, he did remember my mom once coming home from a long day at work and getting pestered about dinner. “She blew up, we all apologized, and later we had dinner,” he said. So it goes with the Grosses, in that generation and this one.
My question to Theodore, I guess, is: What do you fight about? What happens between you guys that gets your hackles and voices up?
When I try to imagine really going at it—yelling and everything—it seems so draining, such a pointless waste of energy at (most likely) a time of day when I would have no energy anyway, that I think: Why bother? Jean, I’m pretty sure, feels the same. The fact is, we’re both just way too lazy to yell at each other, let alone in front of Sasha, whose shocked tears we’d then have to deal with.
So, Theodore, yeah, maybe we’re boring. But I think we’ve got enough drama in other aspects of our lives that it’s nice to come home to a conflict-free household where at worst we’re grouchy.