I have a confession to make. Well. sooner or later I’m confessing about something to my mother, my therapist, sometimes anyone who will listen. Guilt is a constant companion of mine, never more than two steps away and ready to pounce. I will feel guilty over not doing things exactly right as my mind dictates is right. I must perfect my methods so that I might be as good as everyone else. I want to be perfect, nothing less, even though logically I know that is impossible for anyone. Feeling angry sends waves of guilt through me, though I seldom get angry at anyone but myself, and it becomes a rage inside me, not going away until I call myself every name in the book and sometimes I hit myself just to kill the anger. Not too hard, just enough to smart a bit. Frustration OCD -style is a bitch. I wouldn’t hurt any sentient creature on this planet, human or animal, but myself is another matter. I never was overly fond of myself for as long as I can remember and I am eager to point out my failures to myself.
The guilt feeling can come upon me when I haven’t even done anything, often giving rise to taking an inventory of what I said or did that day. Even more irksome are memories, faux pas minor or major, that flash into my head unbidden. Things that happened the other day to something I did as far back as age 5 or so. Not many people can say they feel bad about things that happened that far back. Most people forget, and if not, they are at least kind enough to make note that they were young and one can’t expect adult reasoning in a child or teen. I am accepting of almost everyone, their lifestyles, their flaws and strengths…..everyone but me! Other people are fine the way they are, but as hard as I try I will not measure up to other people.
So what am I feeling guilty about tonight? Night before last….
I had just settled down for a long spring’s nap,
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter,
but I did not rise to see what was the matter.
I of course can’t be certain what happened without having got up, and I would have got up if the noise had continued. It sounded like someone punched someone, the squeal of a woman and the sound of a punch. It might not have happened. I had Coast to Coast AM on at a low volume to mask my tinnitus, and the people across the hall from us could have just been having their normal drama. The woman’s son is rather fond of drink and whatever else he can get hold of it seems, and occasionally he comes to visit his mama when totally shit-faced. I don’t think he had ever hit her…At least not out on the stage of the hallway. I haven’t seen his mother to see if she has a shiner. Hopefully, they were just having a loud argument, because their arguments are loud.
So why do I feel guilty? Because I didn’t look out the peephole. If he took a swipe at his mom and then left, I wouldn’t call the cops, but what if he kept on at it? I don’t suppose he did, but if he did, wouldn’t I be in some way just as bad for not doing something?
Aw hell, like I said, I’d have done something if it continued to happen. It just occurred to me that this is dumb. Seeing things in print sometimes does that I guess.
After all, there was that time the son picked a fight with my friend down the hall. I am fond of my friend down the hall (she now lives in another building because that was the only way she was getting new carpet, but that’s neither here nor there). Friend- Down-the-Hall has a daughter who indulges in similar pursuits as Dude-Who’s-Mom-Lives-Across-the-Hall (whatever it is she’s on , it’s made her lose her paunch). Anyhow, Dude was screaming at my friend and i feared her coming to harm because he was getting really close to her. It was late, like 2am, but I was still dressed, so before I could lose my nerve, I opened the apartment door and stepped just far enough out to be noticed, but not so far as to not yank myself back into my apartment. My reasoning was the more people witnessing the argument the less likely he’d be to hit my friend who is in her 60s.
Now, you may be thinking, “Hey Genius, why not just call the cops?” Because: A) Didn’t want anyone getting in trouble. B) because I would have to contend with my mom, who’d be afraid they would know it was me, and C.) they hadn’t actually come to blows. As long as they were just having a shouting match and not hurting anyone, they could do it as long as they had voices to yell as far as I was concerned. Everyone saw me except my friend. Either way, nothing happened and Dude’s mom apologized for disturbing me….I felt bad she saw me.
I’m very shy, but am apt to come to someone’s aid. I really hate seeing anyone upset or hurting and if I don’t do something I would feel like it was me who harmed them. I get overwhelmed by the feeling of being responsible for bad things.
I have called the cops a couple times and the first time I wish I didn’t. In the building across from us lives a man with mild cerebral palsy, it just makes him walk different and not as fast as others. Well, he and this guy that lived next to him, got into a fight. Now this guy that lived next to him was a badass. A very tall, very strong , very drunk badass. And he said, “I don’t care if you are a cripple, I’ll still beat your ass!” But Guy-with-CP wasn’t planning on backing down and it wouldn’t be a fair fight by any means.
So Nervous Nelly here called the law. And they nearly arrested the guy with CP too cause he had some garden stick or something and I mentioned he was trying to defend himself with it. My bad. I felt terrible. I feel terrible, but I will never confess it was me who called the police to him. Luckily the badass soon got evicted because of something else. My mom was terrified he’d find out it was me who called the cops for getting into a fight with Guy-with-CP and rejoiced when Badass moved. Yep, maybe shouldn’t have called. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The other time I called the cops was when we were coming home late one night and I saw a guy slouched over in his wheelchair by the side of the road. I called so they would check on him. Later I told the chat room I frequent and did they ever make me feel bad. “You should have stopped and asked him if he was okay!” they said. I got clobbered. Maybe I deserved it, I don’t know, but it was late at night, sort of isolated, and while our neighborhood isn’t exactly “da ‘hood, it ain’t the garden district either. He could have been the next incarnation of Ted Bundy for all we knew or as harmless as Al Bundy. We didn’t take the chance. I hope he was okay.