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April 17, 2014 / bekbekbekah

You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

It is impossible to live in this world without discovering that you have weird pet peeves that don’t necessarily make sense to anyone other than you. Everybody has them; the secret is to learn how to deal with life in spite of them. Do I like it when my coworker clips his nails at his desk? No. Do I flip my lid every time he does it? No. Because in the grand scheme of things, he’s not hurting me and he’s not doing anything illegal.

But then there are those things that can’t quite be labeled as pet peeves because they pop up unexpectedly and your reaction is almost instantaneous. Do you know the kinds of things I’m talking about? I don’t quite have a name for them right now, but they’re these fundamental behaviors that spawn very volatile reactions because YOU HATE THAT ACTION AND ANYONE WHO DOES THIS TO YOU OR AROUND YOU IS GOING TO PAY THE CONSEQUENCES.

I generally like to think of only happy things, so most of my posts are about happy things or situations that left me in pain from laughing so hard. This post is not one of those posts. This post has taken me a long time to write (I’m talking weeks here) because of how many breaks I have to force myself to take because of how angry I became while typing them out. Just writing the intro right now (sometimes I write the stories before I write the intros.. it’s my process, ok?), I’m getting really worked up about these scenarios.

So without further ado: a small sampling of things never to do to Bekah Brown unless you want to secure your spot on the “I Loathe Them and Wish Them Ill Will” list that I don’t actually have.

Now, potatoes and I have a very long history together. The short version of it is that I. LOVE. POTATOES. A few years ago though my mom and I discovered a link between me handling raw potatoes and my hands breaking out in itchy hives and flaring up my eczema: I’m allergic to something in the skin of the potatoes. If it’s a small batch of potatoes then it’s usually not a problem because my skin isn’t exposed for that long, but when it comes to making large portions to share at a potluck or something like that, it’s a guarantee that I’ll be suffering for a couple hours afterwards.

And while I really, really hate the uncontrollable itchy feeling that creates a vicious cycle of scratching the itch, which creates miniscule abrasions, which lets in more allergens, which makes it itch more, which makes me scratch more, I will still gladly make large batches of potatoes to share with the people I love. So just know now: if ever you come to a potluck-style meal and I’ve brought potatoes, I consider it a labor of love and I was HAPPY to make them for everyone. Such was the case of me making potatoes for my small group’s potluck Thanksgiving get together. I was first to call dibs on making potatoes, but another girl posted after me saying she too would bring mashed potatoes “so that there would be enough.” (Don’t worry – she’s not the person I flipped out on.) I was going to respond with a message letting her know when I make potatoes for a group I make mass amounts of them, but then I thought that in my family no one else but ME is allowed to make mashed potatoes because I don’t like the way anyone else makes mashed potatoes. I thought maybe she too had a recipe that she really liked or was excited to share, so I didn’t say anything. When we showed up that night, there was a very clear difference in our potatoes: she used Old World red potatoes with butter, a hint of sour cream, and she only gently mashed them, leaving large chunks of potato behind. I use Idaho russet potatoes, a small amount of butter, and then blend them with a big serving of sour cream because it makes them super thick and creamy and leaves perfectly-sized tiny chunks of potato. We set all the food out on the table and everyone began filling their plates. One guy – we’ll call him David, because that’s his name – grabbed the spoon from the other girl’s mashed potatoes and put some on his plate. Someone else had the spoon from my mashed potatoes, which David also wanted a serving of, and rather than wait for the other person to be finished, he used the same spoon from the other potatoes and dipped it into mine.

I’ve never had that happen to me before – like I said, no one else is allowed to even THINK about bringing mashed potatoes to our family dinners – and before I could stop myself I was yelling, “DAVID WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” The group was a little stunned at the outburst, and he just looked at me and said, “What? It’s all going to go to the same place once it goes down,” which only made me angrier because YOU DON’T CROSS-CONTAMINATE THE MASHED POTATOES. I generally try not to make myself look too absurd in front of my friends, but there was little to be done at this point because I had already opened my mouth to describe in detail why it was such a terrible idea and to let hi, know that he was a bad person and that he should feel bad. I think everyone tried to kind of laugh it off or be like, “Hahaha! Bekah’s so weird!” but it’s still brought up from time to time, and every time it ends with me saying, “But seriously – don’t mess with the potatoes.”

Let me repeat that: DO. NOT. TELL. ME. TO. SMILE.

During my first semester at ORU I had a job at a restaurant called On The Border, and I really enjoyed it. One night while I was driving back to campus I realized I hadn’t eaten at all that day since breakfast. To set the scene, I was exhausted from my day’s classes, went to work for a closing shift and didn’t get cut until almost the very end, I was super hungry, I was feeling feverish, and I had a lot of homework to do. Basically, I wasn’t feeling all the great, and I didn’t really care what I looked like. I pulled into a McDonald’s that was on the way back and got a kids meal. When I ordered, I recognized the guy’s voice and immediately regretted my decision to stop at THIS McDonald’s because I got really weird vibes from him the first time I met him.

Anyway – back on track. I recognized his voice and tried my best to look blank as I pulled up to the window to pay because I didn’t want to invite any unnecessary interactions with him. I handed him my debit card without smiling, and when he handed it back he didn’t let it go right away. I was forced to make eye contact with him again to see what was up and he says, “Aww, c’mon and smile, beautiful,” but the way he said it was super gross and kind of greasy (thus his name becoming The Greasy Guy at McDonald’s), and I immediately fired back, “Does that work for you? Seriously. I want to know.” He looked stunned and started stumbling over his words saying something along the lines of he didn’t mean anything by it, that’s just how his mom raised him, and that he was trying to make my night a little better. Now, how in God’s name he thought telling me to smile was going to make my night any better, I have no idea. I just responded with something like, “I highly doubt your mom taught you to that expecting a woman to smile on command was a good idea. Next time just tell me you hope I have a better night or something.. Don’t tell me to do something that you want me to do. That doesn’t make anyone feel better,” and drove off.

During one of my breaks from ORU I took my truck to get it inspected, and the guy at Southwestern Muffler pulled me aside almost immediately and told me I needed to get my back passenger wheel replaced because it was going bald. He then added that he didn’t blame me for having a bald power tire because, “If you have as nice a truck as this, you gotta gun it and let that engine open up as much as you can.” I was 1) flattered by his comment (remember what I said about complimenting my truck???) and 2) grateful that he let me know about what I needed to fix without charging me for the inspection right off the bat.

I took my truck to a tire shop down the road, and when I walked in I saw the new youth pastor at my dad’s church talking to one of the sales people at the counter. I discussed my options for a new tire with a different sales guy and then sat down and grabbed a Car and Driver magazine that had an article featuring the new 2009 Corvette Z06 (Corvettes are a special love of mine) and started reading.

The youth pastor – who I’ll call Michael, because that’s NOT his name – sat down next to me and we exchanged greetings. He and his family had started coming to church a month or so before I had left for Oklahoma, so I didn’t really know him, and I didn’t really care to talk to him at the moment. It’s not because I was shy or didn’t know what to say, but because in situations where it’s possible that people will hear that “Pastor’s daughter and Michael – you know, the new SINGLE youth pastor – ran into each other at the tire shop – it’s really a shame she went off to school so quickly after he started coming to the church – and you didn’t hear this from me.. but they carried on an ENTIRE. CONVERSATION. AHH!! Wedding bells, anyone?!?!?!?!?!?!” I tend to just really be uninterested in talking to someone. That and I was actually really interested in the article – 505 horsepower?! 7.0L V-8 engine?! Titanium connecting rods?! – and didn’t want to start a conversation that was going to be mostly about nothing important or interesting. He didn’t seem to mind at all because he was texting someone on his phone, but when that conversation fizzled out he leaned to my side, nudged me to get my attention, then motioned his head toward the article and said, “Why are you reading that? What do you know about cars? You don’t know what they’re saying.” And I’m not joking about that, those were his words. His tone was a mix of trying-to-be-playful and ridiculously condescending, and it made me want to vomit. I just looked at him and told him, “Yeah, well, you actually don’t know what I do or don’t understand. And I do know what they’re saying. Because I read articles and I’m genuinely interested in the subject matter. And if I don’t know what they’re saying, I read more articles about it so that I can LEARN what they’re saying.”

He apparently didn’t expect that response, which I didn’t care about because he was seriously interrupting my reading session, and he went back to texting. Then he asked me why I was at the tire store and I told him my reason, and he responds with, “Well, I’m going to pay for the tire,” which is exactly the wrong thing to say to Bekah Brown. Unless you’re wanting to incite a deep-burning rage that 5 years after the fact it still makes me flush with anger, in which case it’s the perfect thing to say. And I get that deep down the gesture might have come from a nice place, but TELLING me that you’re going to purchase an item for MY vehicle without even thinking about ASKING me about it is something I consider to be highly disrespectful. I looked him dead in the eye and told him, “Yeah. That’s not going to happen. I got this,” and he smiled, apparently thinking I was playing a game and said, “No really. Let me take care of it for you. You know tires are expensive, right?” What I WANTED to say in reply was, “What?? Tires cost money?! No one told me that! Do you think I’m completely oblivious to things in this world? I picked my truck, I pay for my truck, and I keep my truck maintained better than most men in this world have sense to do. And excuse you, but I have a dad and a Pops who are MORE than capable of taking care of things I need help taking care of; the reason they’re not here is because I don’t need help taking care of this. This is MY vehicle that I worked 3 jobs in high school to pay for, MY responsibility to keep it in working order and making sure I keep up with the maintenance schedule, and MY choice to purchase those ‘horribly expensive’ 275/70/17 A/T tires in the first place. You think you dropping 170$ on a tire for me is going to impress me? It’s not. Quit insulting me,” but with a lot of extra crazy hand motions and expletives thrown in, possibly ending in me spitting on the ground by his feet and walking away. But what I ended up doing was calmly folding the magazine, putting it on the table, saying, “I think you didn’t hear me; I said that’s NOT going to happen.” Then I walked up to the sales counter and said to the guy who was helping me, “I’m going to walk around outside for a bit because I’m about to start screaming. I swear to God, if that guy comes up to the counter and says he’s going to pay for my tire and you let him, I’m going to literally explode with anger.” I guess he took me seriously because he said, “Do you just want to pay for it right now so that we don’t mess that up for you?” And I responded with, “You know, you’re my kind of guy. I’d love to do that,” and as I handed him my card I looked directly at Michael and said, “Seriously. I’ve got this.”

One Comment

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  1. Judi B. / Apr 17 2014 3:53 pm

    Bekah, it sounds to me like you want to be respected or something… don’t you think that’s asking a little too much?? Come on, you’re a college graduate with a great job who is intelligent, funny, and just an all-around great person… why would anyone like you want people to think before talking to you??

    Great post as always!!

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