I don’t like conflict.
I don’t like yelling.
This may come as a surprise, because we all know that I love a good argument. I have no problem picking a side and defending its merits. Those of you who have heard my tales of customer service experiences would also wonder about the above statement, since I’ve told a story or three about dealing with customer service. (truth- my daughter thinks that every call center around the world has my number and picture with a big line crossed through it, and that their free time is spent throwing darts at it)
But as a rule, I don’t like to yell at people.
You also know that I don’t discuss politics on my blog. What you may not know it that I also refuse to discuss politics in real life (there are only about 3 people I will ever talk politics with) I am of the belief that everyone has an opinion that they are entitled to, but I also strongly believe that people don’t want to have a discussion, they want to get you to change your mind. Obviously this is my opinion, which I am entitled to.
Everyone in my real life knows that I do not like discussing politics, especially at an event such as Father’s Day (see- you knew this would become topical). Most of my youth was spent sitting around the dining room table on holidays, with people yelling at one another (the common refrain was – ‘we’re Italian- it’s not yelling- it’s how we talk- and my Mother adds facebook comments in ALL CAPS BECAUSE SHE JUST CAN’T HELP HERSELF) So my goal was to have holidays with the least amount of verbal conflict possible. I did not want my daughter to feel like I did growing up.
My Father in Law knows that I do not like discussing politics. I have said this to him about a thousand times. No- make that a million. My husband knows that I do not like discussing politics in an open forum. Let me make this clear- if you know me, you know I do not discuss politics.
So naturally, on Fathers Day my FIL sat at the table and asked my daughter about politics. And my daughter blew off the question the first five times because she knows that I don’t like political discussion at the dinner table. So, the conversation went like this:
FIL (to daughter) What do you think of X?
Daughter: Can you pass the potatoes?
The above was repeated about five different times with my daughter varying her answers slightly
FIL- well you must have an opinion
Daughter: Actually, the past month has been crazy with tests and year end stuff. The only things I’ve been reading are about school, and trying to get an internship for the summer, and pre season tennis practice. I haven’t read a paper or watched the news. I’m not informed enough to discuss X.
FIL- but don’t you think it’s wrong?
Daughter- I don’t know
FIL- makes ridiculous statement
Husband- makes opposite position ridiculous statement
My Father- alternate ridiculous statement
Father and Husband yelling at one another
Me: Hands slam the table saying in my loud, authoritative bond trading floor voice that I haven’t used in 18 years: “AND THE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS IS NOW OVER
FIL: (stands up from table) = “Oh, I guess your house, your rules.”
Me: (looking directly at him) You bet your ass. My house, My rules. (me staring him down till he sat back down at the table.
See- this is why I don’t like discussing politics, or yelling. Because the fierce side of my personality comes out- the person who doesn’t put up with shit. The person who takes control of the situation. And normally this part of my personality is my friend- this part of my personality has gotten me through life.
But I don’t want to do it at the holiday table.
I don’t want yelling at the table.
I don’t want to yell at my Father.
And I was mad at myself for yelling. I was annoyed that my FIL and Husband have so little respect for my one wish that politics are not discussed ( to be clear, my Husband engaged the conversation with the stupidest comment ever). But mostly I was mad at myself for yelling at my Father. My Father is 80. Thought there no imminent threat to his health, he has about a thousand issues. I don’t know if I get another Father’s Day with him. I did not want my last Father’s Day memory to be of yelling about politics, of all stupid things, and me losing my shit.
Yet, that is what happened.
I so want to blame everyone at the table. But in the end I must take responsibility for my actions. But I can’t take back what I said, or what happened.
And I need to live with that.