Taking the cat to the vet this afternoon…more urinary problems. Urrrgh. I feel as if I’m standing on top of a slope looking down at a rather steep drop-off. “Yup, this is what’s gonna end up killing him someday. I will spend money and grief keeping him as far up the slope as possible, but sooner or later…”

Happy thought. Hopefully it’ll be something perfectly minor, they’ll yell at me for him being grossly overweight, and we’ll come home a few hundred bucks lighter, some pills and the memory of a catheter heavier, and all will be well.

On a not at all lighter note, I went out to Cub for groceries today, and there was a shooting, while I was there. (No, I didn’t see it.) I heard a fight break out near the front, did the usual head-turning hum-what’s-all-the-screaming-about, then kept shopping. I’m not a rubbernecker type–unless someone’s actively bleeding to death and the only other people available are mentally defunct, asleep or dead, my limited medical knowledge won’t do a damn bit of good, and crowds never help anybody. By the time I got to the checkout, EMT’s had been and gone (there were three or four still there) and the boys in blue had swarmed. According to the cashier–never the most reliable of witnesses–the fight had escalated, they’d been told to leave, and one guy shot t’other one in the mouth outside the store. He didn’t get five feet, of course–they’ve got cameras everywhere, and it was broad daylight, and the cops had already been called for the fight but it was a little surprising to be wrangling my cart through the parking lot, swerve around a parked cop car to avoid traffic, and realize that there’s a dude in the backseat, less than two feet away, doing the standard COPS beat-head-rythmically-against-glass thing, who presumably had just shot another human being about ten minutes prior. Things like that make me want to yell “What the hell were you THINKING? You can’t possibly believe that you could cause a scene and then shoot a guy in broad daylight, on camera, and get away. I mean, I’m sorry if you’re poor and uneducated and the Man has sat on you, or whatever the sob story is, but there’s lack of education and then there’s just plain native stupidity. What the hell is wrong with the hard wiring of your brain that cause and effect no longer are functioning in there!? How stupid must you be?!”

It’s things like this that make me vaguely hope he was on crank or meth or something, because it’s so damn depressing to think that one’s fellow humans are that astonishingly stupid. That, or I wonder if some people just get a lot angrier than other people–the maddest I’ve ever gotten, I never hit walls because I’m smart enough to know that hitting the wall will hurt me and cause structural damage to the wall, while not doing anything to affect the cause of the frustration. If I must do something hysterical, I will cry, since it’s easy to clean up. But I know plenty of other people who, in a rage, will smack furniture or whatever, who don’t seem any dumber than the usual run of people. So I dunno–it’s possible that I deal with it better, or I’m repressing it all in something that will eventually erupt in a homicidal explosion. Or it’s possible that I simply don’t get that mad–I mean, I will display fits of temper where people walk around me on eggshells in terror of what I might say, but I never get into a screaming, blistering rage where I can’t control my actions, the way that some people appear to.

The maddest I can ever remember getting was–this is embarassing–over ammonites.

I was a teenager, I’d just gotten back from a dig (the same one where I found the famed rock of earlier entries) and went over to my stepfather’s parent’s house. Larry, my stepfather, was–hmm, he was one of those people who enjoy making you crazy. In addition to being a slacker and a womanizer and a number of other things, of course. Despised the man, was delighted they got a divorce. But anyway, this was while he and my mother were seperating, and I was over there, explaining What I Did On My Summer Vacation. Somebody asked what an ammonite was and I was explaining the basic rundown, extinct cephalopod, similiar to chambered nautilis, etc. Larry gets the superior look that I should have known was a warning sign, and says “Ammonites aren’t extinct.”

Now, this kinda thing is pure idiocy, and given that he didn’t know an ammonite from a hole in the ground (which is actually where you find ’em, but I digress) a rather older and wiser me would have realized that he was simply tryin’ to mess with my head because he got some kind of neurotic kick out of it. Being a teen, I mistook this for genuine ignorance and tried to explain that yes, they were. He said no they weren’t, I said yes they were, as shown by such and such and such, and he made this scoffing noise and said that I was wrong, and after about five minutes of this, my mother told me to drop it.

I was flabbergasted. I think that was the first time I had ever argued with an adult and had absolutely scientific backing that I was right–I mean, I’d spent the whole summer studying the little buggers, and I might not know jack about boys or hormones or what I was feeling at any given moment, but I by god knew my ammonites. Before then, there’s always the kind of nagging feeling that they’re an adult so they know and as a kid you’re automatically in the wrong. But here I was, right, absolutely, profoundly right, and this guy was bald-faced denying it, and my mother was taking his side!

I went home and yelled a bit and for the first and last time in my life punched a bookcase. It hurt, and I decided not to do it again. And I realized, with great surprise, that I was furious, and that I had never been so furious in my life. Much later, years later, I realized that was exactly what Larry had been going for–he didn’t give a rat’s ass about ammonites, (which should have been insanely obvious, but as a teen I had extreme tunnel-vision, and I loved ammonites) and he was just trying to make me crazy because he enjoyed it–I had taken to ignoring him as a lower life form not worthy of my attention, and he was enjoying a chance to find one of my hot button issues just to make me acknowledge his existence, and probably more to the point, he knew that it upset my mother to have us fighting, which he also enjoyed. Which in retrospect, might be a much better thing to be mad about than ammonites, and yet, I don’t recall ever being half so furious again. Perhaps it’s something you can only do with hormones surging through your veins or something.

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