Thursday, January 24, 2013


There are a few words in the English vocabulary that make my skin crawl: anniversary, cummerbund, zit, slacks, blouse, etc.

There are two phrases that drive me crazy with annoyance. One in particular, that my husband uses non-stop. "I'm going to hit the bathroom." The other is, "Can we be adults about this?" (Which, for the record, MacTroll has never used.)

The first time the second phrase made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, I was in college and some guy that my freshman roommate had been doing something with while she partied away her weekends was basically whining into our answering machine. He'd done something stupid and insensitive. And in response, she'd gotten mad, and spoken her mind to not only him, but to her close girlfriends (who also happened to be partying with his close guy friends, so I'm sure he was most annoyed that his friends were having to hear about how he was a jackass). 

And so I began to notice that when people used the phrase, "Can we be adults about this?" It was usually when the person who speaks those words has done something utterly juvenile in the first place. And on that observation alone, I immediately discount that person as having any valid complaints and not worthy of the seconds or minutes that they want to put into "fixing" whatever was wrong so that they can feel, on some emotional level, like they're okay. 

It's kind of like lying to someone, feeling guilty, and then coming clean -- to make yourself feel better, while you make the other person feel terrible (insert half or more of the politicians caught in any kind of public relations scandal). You effed up. You should live with the terrible burden. Why hurt the person (or people) who didn't do anything wrong with your admission? Oh, yeah, because you want forgiveness, so you can start feeling better about yourself, which to me, is another selfish act on top of the initial selfish act. You're human. Try to figure it out and make it better. Tell the truth when it's required and live with the consequences of your actions. It's all you can really do.

The other problem is the "Can we be adults about this?" often implies the person NOT saying those words is acting irrational when, more likely, their emotions are right on target. They're feeling something. They're not shutting down and suppressing. They're letting you know that they're angry, sad, annoyed, in disbelief, etc. That's how it's supposed to work with someone that you have in your life. You're supposed to be able to have emotional responses. You're supposed to talk in I statements and talk about how you feel -- postive or negative. And if someone tells you that your I statements make them feel in some other way than you're feeling -- that's not on you. That's on them. 

But it doesn't help your ass get out of the fire that's for damn sure. You're just stuck in there with them looking at you like you're this demon from hell, when, really, you don't feel in your heart that way at all.

But they're telling you how you feel over and over -- because to them that's the truth they want. Because that makes them feel better.

Even thought it's not the truth you've spoken, and that ain't right. 

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