Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rien ne va... or Irritability and the Uninvited Guest

Ca y est - winter has returned to Paris with a vengeance, as confirmed by the ice cold rain and hailstorms on Sunday and the odd vision of snow floating through the sky Monday morning. I've had to pull on the gloves again as I wait on the RER quai, and although this is a convenience in the close quarters of the Paris métro, it's still a reminder that spring will have to wait a bit longer. Of course, that's no surprise here in France, I guess. Au mois d'avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil; au mois de mai, fais ce qui te plaît... In other words, you better not be peeling off any clothes before the month of May rolls around!

I've been digging through my own winter wardrobe of sweaters, tired of pulling on layer after layer. I know we haven't had a particularly harsh winter this year, but I'm frileuse (read: I'm a wimp) and I simply hate being cold. Even when the sun starts peaking out promisingly, like last week, I still wear thick sweaters as a precaution, wary of an unexpected chill.

Last night I wanted to spend a quiet evening at home with my boy, as he had promised me, maybe watch a DVD, maybe even finally write a blog post about my Spanish excursion. But it was not meant to be. Already my eyes had been bothering me all day long, and I should have taken out my contacts sooner. It looks like I'm not going to be able to put off that ophthalmologist appointment for much longer...

I had planned on making some cream of broccoli soup, but had gotten a late start in the kitchen, given my English lesson right after work and my eye irritation -- which eventually led to my own irritability. Something which poisoned my entire evening.

I was just chopping some shallots at a quarter to nine (yes, you read that right) when my boy came in the door with a friend, a sort of permanent fixture around these parts. I had been somewhat forewarned by an earlier phone call and normally I wouldn't have minded -- he was only meant to stop by for a bit. But I just wasn't in the mood, unfortunately. He settled into our miniscule kitchen with my boyfriend, where they contentedly munched on bread and cheese while I bent, stretched and crawled around them to get my soup on track. They kept asking me what was wrong, but in a teasing, distracted, "oops, looks like the lady's not in a good mood" kind of tone. I hate it when my boy pulls this one on me, making me look like the nasty girlfriend, when he knows that Mondays are simply not my best nights. This was the last thing I needed. Was I tired? (Duh.) Not feeling well? What insignificant little thing could possibly be bothering me? Had I had a long day? I might have appreciated the inquiry if I thought it was sincere and if they had expressed it differently, but this wasn't the case...

Now, don't get me wrong: this friend is not a bad guy, just much too intense and overbearing, someone who has an awkward and forceful way of imposing himself on you and constantly pointing out things you just don't want to discuss, when you'd much rather be left alone. He's one of those "oh, golly, you look tired" types -- you know, the ones who point out the obvious and just make you feel worse for it, saying the one thing he really shouldn't say. He's a nice enough guy, I guess, at least when he tries to be, and the truth of the matter is that I know he has a good heart and that he's had a lot going on in his own life that he's had to tackle over the past few years. But I can't bear his insufferable habits sometimes, his way of implying one thing or another, and his scornful way of poking fun at me one too many times -- intentionally trying to provoke a reaction.

I managed to keep my cool until he had left, blessedly around 10:30, but then I flew off the handle -- and I regret it this morning. I let my fatigue, my nerves and my irritability get the best of me, and I complained about his way of making himself at home in our apartment at the most inopportune times. Mind you, I know he is one of my boy's oldest friends, and they do a lot for each other, but lately his intense personality has been grating on me more and more. And I can only take so much...

I was ranting about insignificant details, like how he drinks almost the entire bottle of orange juice (and I feel really guilty about this, because I know he's done other things for my boy -- but still, it's the principle!) but I couldn't seem to stop myself. My boy usually calms me down and says he's aware of the fact that this guy is a bit hard to cope with, but last night he simply didn't understand me. On the contrary, he thought I was being ridiculous.

To top it all off, just as I was about to blend the soup in our mixer, as I was spooning the vegetables and broth into the glass container, I realized too late that the base was not sealed properly, and the scalding liquid leaked all over the counter and onto the floor. That was it: I was at my wit's end. I let out a spiel of colorful profanity, which at that point sent my boy over the edge. He told me to go to bed; I needed to settle down, he'd clean up the mess. But I'm extremely têtu when it comes down to it, and I wasn't to be convinced. I had made the mess, and I planned on cleaning it up myself. Plus, I had seen the way he cleaned up these kinds of things in the past...

I continued to rant, he left the room (and me to my own devices). A half an hour later I fumbled into bed, nearly midnight, still grumbling to myself. Needless to say, the whole evening was a total washout -- not the quiet one I had expected, and certainly not the kind of "distraction" I desperately needed.

6 comments:

amy said...

Ugh, I *hate* people who say "you look tired." It's just an insult posing as concern, and totally rude in my opinion. Even if you *are* tired, or ill, or cranky, how is that comment supposed to make you feel better?

Jennifer said...

Well, I hope the bad weather will pass and we'll both be in sunnier spirits! I hate cold weather too, and I'm so tired of wearing all this woolly body armor!! These Normandy winters aren't as bad as Ohio ones, but still...

Lee Ann said...

Yeah... it happens. Sucks, but it happens. I can't believe you ended up spilling the soup though. That's just cruel.

The Late Bloomer said...

Well, Lee Ann, I did manage to salvage some of it, thank God -- I wasn't about to let it all go to waste! As I cursed up a storm I poured the veggies back in the pot and wiped up the broth, so I lost some of the broth but was able to start over again in the blender. The soup just ended up thicker than usual -- a real creamy velouté de broccoli!

Emily said...

I think his comment about looking tired is the only way he knows how to show sympathy/concern towards you. :(
Are you saying I look like shit? Thanks buddy.

Hoping tonight will be a better one. :)

jchevais said...

Argh.

I hate that "little woman is angry" scornful attitude that men get. I'm usually pretty easy-going with hubs' friends and since the kids have arrived, we've never really had an inopportune guest. But still.

Instead focus on the positive.

T and A for example.

I'm speaking of Tori Amos of course...