Resentments

I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee and looking inward. Recollections of dry sage were clipping my knees and thighs re-running past my mind’s eye. Grasping for the scents, the images of long-needled Ponderosas passing by, the sound of a stellar’s jay or my dog panting at my heal. I was thinking about these things when she sat down next to me when she saw a vacant look on my face.
This morning my loving wife asked me straight up if I resented her or A-bear. The question took me by surprise and consequently I took my time answering her. I sipped again from my cuppa and put down my phone to think it over.
I’ve been a bit surly of late and so I know it’s understandable that she might be wondering. And her question, though it missed the precise cause, was an insight into the turmoil that’s been boiling in my pot.
I knew in an instant that I did not resent my wife or my child, but when I thought about it, I realized that I resented the loss of the man I was back in 2009. That’s what I told her because that guy was awesome. He ran hundreds of miles in any given week. He crossed mountain ranges with skill and efficiency. And that Matt wore a smile all the time mostly because he was happy, but also because he felt the most self-worth he’d ever known.
She had to leave to the office, and I was getting A-bear ready for school and needed to get us back on track, so our conversation was amended. As the morning passed by I realized that I do feel resentment and it’s not just because I’m not that person any longer. I’ve been mindless of this. As filled the laundry machine and cut my hair I realized that the best thing I might do would be to iterate those annoyances and hates that I harbor.
I resent that the Malheur seven were acquitted today. I resent that this particular toxic brand of Western-American culture feels compelled to transform their unjustified sense of entitlement into a virtue. I resent that they explain away difficult philosophical questions about land management by brandishing their pocket Constitutions; that they silence simple challenges to their “way of living” by flourishing assault rifles. More than anything, I resent the fact that they presume to speak for me, that they usurp my real Western voice by way of criminal stunts designed to divert media attention away from real problems and productive conversations.
I resent the fact that anytime I look away my dog crawls up into my bed. I understand that she merely wants to be close to me, but it means I have to wash sheets multiple times ever week.
I resent how slow my training is going. The seventeen-year-old under all this fat can’t help himself. He wants to run and run and run for the sheer, unalloyed joy of running. But he’s buried under twenty-ish years of age and fat and fatigue. He’s angry each and every time he’s got to take all the rest of that along for a run through the woods.
I resent that I have a lot more work to do before I become a better writer. I see some of you, who daily shit better stories than I’ll ever patiently and carefully engineer, and I’m overwhelmed with jealousy.
I resent that I have to read and re-read anything I’ve written uncountable times and I’ll still fumble misused phonemes and misspell words. I resent that it’s often the same god damn words I miss and I wish I knew how to take off these blinders.
I resent cold tea bags left in the bottom of the kitchen sink.
I resent that we live in a country so responsible for the impending catastrophic, human-induced environmental collapse that will surely scar our days with unprecedented sorrow and no one cares. Even I, after recognizing this plain fact of life, can’t find the energy necessary to pull back on the stick before humanity’s inevitable nose dive. Too, I resent that so much effort and energy gets invested into maintaining the pretense of a “debate” about the cause or possible consequences of our terminal societal path.
I resent each, and every time I’ve been stuck behind a Chevy or Dodge diesel truck with one driver, nothing in the bed and a trail of oily exhaust pouring into my grill.
I resent the fact that Utah and Idaho and Colorado keep electing assholes determined to give away public lands. Too, that resource extraction companies have littered Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and anywhere else there might be a drop of sand oil with fracking wells. I resent it when they try to hide these machines behind hills and trees so that they’re not in plain view of people passing through on roads.
I resent that people from Texas and Oklahoma and California and elsewhere have taken over my homeland and that in doing so they’ve transformed a home into a giant theme park in the mountains.
I resent “-est.” The fastest, biggest, strongest, the most extreme. I resent how our culture has figured out a way to celebrate the extremities of any action or pursuit simply because of its statistical improbability.
I resent the fact that I brood on all these things (and so much more), that I can’t seem to break free from this pointless and stupid cycle of obsessions.

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