Lying awake the other night, I realized that the moments in which I am especially ill-tempered correspond to things that make me so irritated that my attention shrinks to a narrow tube of focused, incensed frustration. Focused thus, I am crap at everything, especially parenting. Things that lead to tunnel-visioned ire: poop, vomit and pee in inappropriate locations, cockroaches in the kitchen, and strange noises in the car's inner workings.
We had strange noises in the car over the last 10 days. Erratic loud "GUNG!" noises. First, I yelled at the car to stop it. Then I yelled at the stroller in the trunk, thinking the noise was the result of stroller wheels banging against the side of the trunk. Then I cursed at what I imagined must be a can of tuna banging around somewhere in the car. And then finally my husband took the car to the dealer (I nearly typed "vet") to have them look at it. They looked, and looked, and looked. Finally, some hours later, they produced the culprit: an entire black walnut, shell and all, that had been wedged (by a zealous squirrel?) into the spring supporting the rear passenger side wheel. GUNG!
I showed Maria, Winton's daycare provider, the seed, thinking she'd enjoy the story. Her response (indicative of her general soft-heartedness)? "Oh. Pauvrecita!" Poor squirrel. We stole her nut.