I've been dealing with assholes a lot lately.  People who have to create conflict in every interaction. People who need to point out every fault, no matter its scope or significance.  They seem to thrive on it.  Never kind, always mean.

It's contagious.  I want to retaliate.  To do just what they are doing.  I want to make things difficult for them as they have for me.  The root of it is the anger I feel at how I've been treated.  If there's one emotion I make all efforts to suppress, it is anger.  I know how tightly it can grab hold of me.  How it can cloud my judgement.  I've been walking around in a fog of anger lately.  Plotting and planning my clever responses to the next act of unkindness to which I fall victim.  Arguing against an opponent that really exists only in my mind.  It is my creation.

I am aware of the anger.  I write the snarky comment in an email, the tap tap tap the backspace key.  It's like a snowball if you hit 'send'.  Another lap on the hamster wheel.  The wheel I want to get off of.

I fear that long term exposure to these types of people will infect me with something I will not be able to cure.  Neural pathways will be created and reinforced which can't be turned off.  So I try to resist allowing those pathways to force me to act in some negative way.  But if I type something, then delete it, is it really all that different from etching it in stone?  I had the thought.  I had the feeling.  I kept it to myself, but so what?  It still exists.  It's still a part of me.  I might forget it in a day or a year, but it will be there again, in a memory two decades from now when a hint of that asshole's cologne hits my olfactory nerves.