Anger, apropos…nothing, really

Where in the world did my inspiration go?

My creative juices have been sapped by the unseasonably cold weather of the last couple of weeks. I feel drained. I have nothing to say. I find myself on Facebook (totally out of character), searching for high school and college “friends” whose names I can barely remember. When I find some of them, I’m disappointed in their lives. I can’t imagine they’re not. Most of them are working exactly the kinds of jobs they detested with unbridled passion less than a decade ago (second grade teacher; noble, but not exactly what they set out to do). Most of them look exactly like their parents, shaved heads, beer bellies, corrective lenses, botoxed lips and all. Most of them are married to partners they have nothing in common with. Most have really ugly children. Yeah, yeah, I know. Children are our future and all that jazz. But it’s a load of crap that all babies are beautiful. In order to spread my message of cynicism and depression, I make sure to comment sourly under those photographs I find particularly popular. No, your child isn’t the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen. Your daughter actually looks frighteningly like Honey Boo Boo; and so do you, in fact.

Maybe this is depression. I used to think I belong to a very jolly group of people. I remember once being told by an American that he thought Slavs were a morose ethnicity, generally. He based this on his personal experience, which for the most part boiled down to what he saw and knew of me. That really hurt my feelings. I remember having a heated argument with him, which I ended triumphantly by saying “Go fuck yourself; I rest my case!” It made sense to me back then, what can I say. The perfect comeback is an art form I haven’t quite mastered yet.

Recently I have come to understand the American’s claim about the Slavic state of mind. He was absolutely right; we really are a morose group. When we fall into depression, and often we do for no apparent reason whatsoever, we fall deeply and we fall rapidly. What is that about? It must be something in the water. Has it gotten worse over the years? I think so. NATO dropped quite a lot of DU on us back in ’99. Google it, I don’t feel like segueing into politics and globalization.

The other day I witnessed a street argument. This is the type of thing natives do not generally notice, and if they do, they do not attach great importance to it. Two women fighting in the street. Who gives a shit? Foreigners, though, notice and are invariably traumatized by it. I don’t think visitors from other lands are terrified so much by the horrible invasion of private space/time that public arguments often present to innocent bystanders. It’s the sheer length of these fights that truly shock the uninitiated. Our women can insult each other over a trivial misunderstanding for hours on end, with no end in sight, with no respect for anyone who might be watching from across the street, with no short supply of vulgarities that are both disgusting to hear and creative enough to truly impress. Our vocabulary is never more remarkable than when we are improvising new phrases for the simple concept of “fuck you.”

So, the other day I witnessed a street argument. Two women passed by each other and in a moment of self-absorption failed to properly greet one another. “Who do you think you are?” one of them immediately confronted the other. “Who the fuck do you think you are? How dare you pass by me like that?” The other, her brain instantly opening up the previously locked up niches of insulting phrases, responded by thrusting out her giant breasts (an act equivalent to en garde in fencing) and saying “You enormous cube of lard, get out of my way before I slug you over that ugly mug of yours.”

This went on for a very long time. Twenty minutes, at least. Unfortunately, and not out of sheer curiosity, I could not just walk away. I had to watch the entire thing unfold right in front of me. Except that it couldn’t really unfold, for those two stupid bitches had nothing of substance to say to one other. Eventually they settled into trading “No, you’re fat” insults back and forth. Basically, in the end the argument turned out to be about their shared insecurity about the size of their asses. All that was really needed was for someone to step in and tell them they’re both fat, old and ugly. I could have been that someone. I chose not to get involved, knowing from past experience involvement in street arguments can only lead to a bloody nose, ripped up clothes, or worst of all, a bruised ego.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love to fight with people. I do it every day. I did it last night with my mother. I think I won. Maybe not, who can tell those things, and after a while I generally lose interest and simply walk away. I lack the stamina for a juicy drawn out theatrical fight. My score card is pretty unimpressive. Like I said, the art of a perfect comeback…

Fighting with family members clears my sinuses. It opens up brand new cerebral paths. It’s therapeutic. It gives me something to live for. I don’t ever apologize, that’s not in my peoples’ gene structure. But I work my way around an apology by small actions of kindness and occasional generosity. Also, I play the cute card. Who can stay angry at cute for very long?

But seeing ugly fighting in others makes me plunge right into deep Slavic depression. I really hate that about us. We are not Italians, or even Greeks. Those people fight melodically, theatrically, esthetically even. They could still fight dressed in togas or reclining on cool slabs of marble, eating grapes and drinking good wine (I think I got that from a movie…?!). We don’t do it like that. Our fights are like car wrecks. Hideous, and very hard to clean up after.

Top tip of the day: do not anger a sleeping Slav. Unless, of course, you want to be called a disgusting cube of lard.

2 thoughts on “Anger, apropos…nothing, really

  1. I had been feeling very much like you lately and I detest that we still have snow in Belgrade til now…spring should be here already and to stay. I don’t want to worry about how many layers I’m wearing and just go outside and nite without freezing to death. What I feel I know about Slavs is a shared sense of self depreciation, sure everybody says they got it bad…Chileans love to say we do things half assed (I know I do!) but I think you got the right to be morose, in some ways I find that people in the Balkans and in Serbia have a very crude sense of reality, without any sugar coating and I like that. Americans can’t take the real world, they need their diet cokes.

    The sun will be out soon!

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