Keep it to yourself, grandma

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I remember back when I was about 25 or 26, living in Albuquerque and working at Sandia Labs. Single. Searching. Doing ok.

My older sister was also single and in her twenties, and we grew pretty close back then.

There was one day when I was staying over at her house that she and I went for a walk. We were each other’s support group, so we’d walk along and talk. We’d engage in walking therapy.

This was a chilly winter day. We walked with pink cheeks and a scarf ’round the neck.

We talked about how we both tend to have this internal dialog of snarky comments as we go through our days.

Both of us copped to it. Then my sister said something that sticks with me.

“I just worry that as I age, my ability to keep those thoughts inside will become more difficult.”

I laughed. And I agreed.

See, in our family, we have this relative. My mom’s aunt. She’s a bit infamous among the family as possessing a rather acid tongue. She didn’t even need to grow old to splat out hateful, spiteful and just plan snarky comments.

Oh, she was loyal to her family, especially her beloved brother (my grandfather) and made no bones about letting my grandmother know she wasn’t good enough. I believe she also let my dad know he wasn’t good enough for my mom.

So my sister and I both know that the genes of Aunty Snarky run deep within our DNA. We know how to turn on that frosty chill and say something cuttingly acerbic.

But as my sister pointed out, back then, we did okay keeping it inside.

Now, looking at the world through 40 years old eyes (that need vision correction), I find that my sister was entirely prophetic.

I *am* having trouble keeping that Aunty Snarky side to myself.

It’s such a push-pull of being “the nice girl” vs “oh hell, let’s just be honest.”

I recall reading one of my grandmother’s journals (after she had passed away). In it, she discussed how people always think she’s so nice, “but,” she wrote, “if they only knew.”

Well, I’m afraid I’ve surpassed “if they only knew.” They know.

Because I’ve become that cranky old broad. Only I’m not quite old enough yet to get away with it.

I say things. Out loud. (For example, the “What the f— is your problem?!?!” incident from about a month ago.)

I’ve always ranted about man’s inhumanity to man and tried to rise above it. I really have. But I guess I’ve been worn down. I guess “everybody is doing it” and so I’m no longer rising, I’m wallowing down in it.

Hoo boy. I’m not proud of it.

When I was in Las Vegas, I got busted for it too. I was standing in the narrow median of a quiet street taking a photograph. A pickup rolled by and the driver slowed and said, “I thought you were crossing the street…”

And I thought he was being an a’hole about me being in the median. I’d gotten hassled so much that day while taking photos so my hackles may have been a bit up.

I whirled on him. “Oh nice!” I yelled, “Thank you VERY much. No really, thanks for being such a nice guy!!!” I yelled sarcastically as he drove off.

Ten minutes later the guy walked up to me. “Hey, I just meant, I couldn’t tell if you were crossing the street. But then I saw your camera and I figured it out. That’s all.”

Whoooooo did I feel like a jerk. I ended up apologizing to him and we had a pretty nice conversation about photography.

You’d think that would have capped my fat mouth.

It did, only somewhat.

I’m trying.

I really am. Hard to get that horse back in the barn after all the frolicking in the fields.

It’s just…I don’t always want to be “the nice girl.”

Sometimes I think I just want to be Aunty Snarky when I grow up.

I’m so conflicted.

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