You want The Alligator? You’ve got her.

When I was a teenager, I lived in the basement.  Not like The People Under The Stairs; I had an actual bedroom located in the basement from which I was permitted to leave when I wanted to.  I had a lock on the door that locked from the inside and I had the key.  I was fed and watered regularly and there was a bucket I was permitted to use for bodily waste disposal as needed.  There was even a small window to allow some light – not big enough to escape from, as I learned, but I could get a sliver of a ray of sunshine for a half an hour or so a day.   NO ABUSE OR NEGLECT HERE, MOVE ALONG.

Anywho…back to reality.  I lived in the basement in my parents’ house during my formative years.  And, being a typical teenager, I would stumble out of bed no earlier than 10 a.m.  Teenagers, apparently, require more sleep than adults.  Twenty-three-year olds, however, are cool with 8 hours, Kevin.  Teenagers should probably get closer to 9 hours so I obliged, resulting in a 10 a.m. or later start to the day.  mIRC chat didn’t get good until after midnight, so going to bed at a reasonable hour was out of the question.

ANYWAY(s)…ADD is really kicking my butt today.  I lived in the basement and would get up much later than the rest of my family.  Without fail, I would crawl up the stairs, hair balled up into a sheep’s butt mess, eyes swollen and crusty, voice scratchy and croaky, and there would be my family, having been up for hours, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I would not have to say one single syllable before one or all of them would start on me.

“The Alligator’s awake!  Look at how grumpy she is!  Let’s all laugh at how disgusting she looks in the morning!  What a disgusting pig!  Let’s poke her until she snaps our fingers off at the second knuckle!”

I was labelled The Alligator.  Not because I was grouchy or rude or short-tempered, but because they thought I looked like I might be thinking about being grouchy or rude or short-tempered. 

And do you know what the best cure for a bad mood, or perceived bad mood, is?  Excessive kindness and sweet words, you say?  Noooo…  A smile and a hot breakfast?  Nope, try again.  A couple of minutes of quiet to wake up?  Wrong.

The cure for a bad mood, apparently, is cruel and relentless chiding and badgering.  If the subject in question is either crying or ready to scream, then point proven.  Obviously they were in a bad mood from the beginning, and not just tired, and should be forever labelled The Alligator.

***

Do you know what this kind of reminds me of?  Men’s reaction to PMS.  In general (I’m not pointing fingers or naming names, however anonymous), men tend to blame any of their behavioural flaws on our periods.  Just because at any other point during the month we are able to internalize our feelings about certain behaviours, but lose such ability during the pre- stage of the month.

It’s like my teenage mornings, in that whatever mood I am actually in is irrelevant.  It’s that time of the month (or that time of the morning, as in examples from the past), therefore I must be irrationally choleric.  Blame is shifted from the offender to the offended simply because it can be.  You don’t like when I tease you relentlessly?  PMS (or The Alligator).  Obviously.

And you know what?  Consider the attitude a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Because there’s only one thing that makes me more angry than telling me I’m angry before I’m angry and that’s telling me I’m angry before I’m angry when I’m PMS-ing.

That, my dear friend, is a sure-fire way to get your fingers broken.

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