I’ve never thought of myself as the kind of person capable of inspiring murderous hatred, but now I’ve come to a radical conclusion. The more I learn about the world, the less confident I become in the basic goodness of people. There are simply individuals so beyond the pale, that nothing rational scratches the surface of their worldview. That’s how ordinary, basically nice, respectable people find themselves at the receiving of vitriol and even violence.
Having been a painfully shy child and adolescent, I was never Miss Popularity. I always had friends—good friends—and my friends have always been drawn from multiple groups and perhaps that’s the key to my “popularity” as an object of irrational emotions. Having connections to different pockets of people gives my life the kind of variety that some lives lack.
The most recent incident has me flummoxed. I found out, in a round about manner, that an infrequent client “hates” me. She railed and raged about me to a mutual connection. Not once did she site a source of this anger. It wasn’t that I did a bad job for her, charged her too much, or didn’t respond as soon as possible to her instructions or requests. It seems that my life—my travels, my happiness in my home, my general chit chat on the phone in-between things—gave her the impression that my life is to be envied and from envy anger sprouts with just a little bit of nurturing.
Inspiring a shit fit is not the same as inspiring murder, but they are cousins occupying locations on the same continuum of emotional outbursts. I’ve been reading/rereading some of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford mysteries. Rendell—one of my mystery goddesses—wrote characters living in the darkest, most contorted psychological states. The murderer in ‘The Veiled One’ at first seems like just another individual lacking social graces and empathy. This person blends into the atmosphere of the unease existing beneath the ordinary surface of suburban life. What brings the character to murder? The same kind of jealousy and disconnection that leads to much smaller angry events every day.
Um… something to think about when I’m sharing when I think I’m just sharing a nice, benign little story about myself.