in recent years

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the two second breath

I know that I am terribly remiss on my 30 Days of Narcissism meme-thing and that I haven’t even posted in forever, but I just started back to school on Thursday and everything is insane and I just want to talk about today, okay, STOP NAGGING ME OKAY.

Today was really stupid and horrible. I almost got into a really bad car accident on my way home from school after already having a FUCKING terrible day and I had to get off the freeway and park in some bank parking lot and cry and have a panic attack and I just wanted to lay down on the fire-hot pavement and melt into nothingness.

When I say “I almost got into a really bad car accident” what I mean is, “I changed lanes several hundred feet in front of a dude who decided to change into the same lane after I was three-quarters of the way into it and he got REAL AGGRESSIVE about it and tailgated me and then flew back into his lane and slammed around me in a manner that clearly communicated that he was trying to hit me on purpose.” We could not have been more than six inches from a serious accident at 75 miles per hour and if I had not slammed on my brakes, it would’ve been… bad. It was by far the closest I have ever come to an accident WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING THE ACCIDENT.

He then flew across the next three lanes of traffic and cut off another guy to exit the freeway.

And it’s like, man, I get PISSED in the car. I yell at people! I am a twenty-five-year-old adult woman who rolls down her window and yells at people while giving them aggressive middle fingers. I get it. Driving sucks 90% of the time and everyone else sucks at it and it’s just awful. IT IS AWFUL. The personal vehicle is probably the worst thing to happen to any of us in the modern age.

But who has that much anger? Enough to INTENTIONALLY attempt to cause an accident while moving at almost 80 mph? When the person didn’t even wrong you? Who is that angry about their life? What happened to that guy in that black Tahoe to make him THAT FURIOUS? That kind of aggression baffles me. I don’t ever want to make other human beings feel unsafe and after that bullshit today I think I’m going to make that an even more prominent effort on my part.

That said, I could’ve easily punched AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE TAHOE DRIVER (WHAT IS IT WITH TAHOES?!) in the FACE. She parked so close to me that she was actually all the way into my parking stall (The kind with the double lines! THE KIND WITH THE BUILT IN SPACE. SERIOUSLY.) and I couldn’t get into my car and I am too fat/uncoordinated/drive too small a car to climb across and I just didn’t know what to do with my life.

And then she comes out and tries to do that sheepish TEEHEE thing and it’s like, “Look, bitch, I know we all have things to do, but you need to reevaluate your life and understand that it would’ve taken you FOUR SECONDS to re-park when you realized what a shit job you did. FUCK YOU.” Paris Hilton couldn’t have climbed into my car, she was parked so close. Fuck that.

There should be a comprehensive driving and parking exam required before you can own or operate any vehicle larger than a fucking SmartCar.

So I was really upset about the duel Tahoe incidences and I was frustrated with school and life and ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WRONG WITH EVERYTHING EVER and I just got tired and frustrated and defeated. And for once, I started thinking about why things are the way they are and why I’m feeling all these inconvenient feelings and I thought about MYSELF and about OTHER PEOPLE.

And I think it comes down to figurative breathing.

I’m not asking for like, a social revolution where people start being considerate and thoughtful of one another. I know that is probably beyond the scope of our abilities as humans. I am just as entitled and self-centered and awful as most of the other people moving around on the surface of this planet. I YELL AT PEOPLE WHEN THEY DRIVE BAD. I am often unkind and impatient and self-absorbed. I recognize those things and I am going to try to practice what I preach.

I’m just looking for, I think, the tiniest iota of AWARENESS. Self-awareness or external-awareness or what-the-fuck-ever awareness. Just two seconds out of your life to be like, “Hey, I’m being a dick” or “God, maybe that lady just had a really awful day” or even just taking TWO SECONDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH.

I’m just asking for a little cool-down here, guys. A two-second version of counting to ten. A breath. Just one. For everyone’s sake, including your own.

I’m calling it the Two Second Breath and I’m going to start practicing it immediately.

Guy cuts me off? Two second breath. Rude cashier? Two second breath. Internet idiocy? Two second breath. Political frustration? Two second breath.

I spend so much of my life being reactionary and I just think it’s exhausting. Everything is instantaneous — email, texts, calls, television, youtube, all of this media and communication flying at us all day long — and we (I. I. I.) get so wrapped up in responding promptly that I’ve stopped thinking. I react, I don’t respond. And maybe I can’t always count to ten, maybe it’s too hard or too frustrating or too long, but I can always count to two. I can take a two second breath and respond competently and confidently.

I don’t want to kill anyone with kindness. I don’t want to fake my way through life. I don’t want to be conflict and confrontation free. But I do want to think, respond, and relax a little because being always on, all the time is finally catching up with me.

I want to take a whole lot of two second breaths.

I would like to point out that I almost immediately regretted not calling it the three second breath upon publishing the post. Hate even numbers? TWO SECOND BREATHING OUT OF MY ASSHOLE FOR DAYS.