That Old Victim Feeling

I was being tempted to feel sorry for myself. It was anguished and heavy, a sticky, vomity sour green feeling. I finally identified it inside my body, and I didn’t want to go there.

Parking in Milano just got an upgrade, if you can call it that. It used to be that you parked your car, looked for an open newpaper stand, bought a scratch-off ticket, and carefully scratched off the year, month, day and hour you were parking. Five hours? Five tickets.

But now the newspaper-stand lady was sending me out into the world. “Find a parking meter and pay there,” she said.

So I wandered out into the great unknown, looking for an automated “parchimetro.” At the third place I asked, a barman was finally able to point one out to me. It was so far away from my car that I had trouble finding it again.

Throughout this whole saga, I felt the strangest sensation in my body.

“Poor you,” a part of me was saying, “You can’t find it. They made it so hard to find. They shouldn’t have changed the system.” It was like an attraction, pulling me towards a ready-made excuse. I was being tempted to feel sorry for myself, tempted to not take care of the problem, to blame someone else, leave it unresolved, and then feel badly the rest of the day.

It was a soft feeling, but I didn’t want to go into it. Not just at the mental level, or reality level (i.e. getting a fine for not paying), but at the feeling level. It was anguished and heavy, sticky, a vomity sour green.

I manned up, found the meter, paid the parking, put the crisp white receipt on my dashboard, and climbed right out of that feeling.

Otherwise I’d be giving it to everyone else the rest of the day.

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