Let it go


This weekend, something that I wanted to work out didn’t work out, leaving me sad and disappointed. Then my bike seat broke. Then I tried to fix my bathtub drain, but realized I don’t have the right tools. Then several people told me, in various ways, that a dream that I’ve been working toward is a bad idea. Then, after dealing with shoddy, unreliable internet service for over a week, I came home yesterday afternoon to find that my actual electricity was gone.

Must be the wind, I thought, as I dialed Xcel to report the outage. I followed the prompts on the automated service, and then took Foxy on her lunchtime walk.

When I arrived back at the house, I got a phone call from someone in the Xcel customer support department. He asked me some questions about the meter (“It should be on the south side of the house”), so I found myself prowling through bushes, being poked in the eye by branches, and reading the unit number to the man on the phone – only for him to tell me that that’s the gas meter, and we need the electric meter.

That’s when I remembered I was on the north side of the house, and also, a moron.

So I headed around SOUTH into the backyard, crawled on a ledge, and had to touch dirty, rusty things, relaying meter readings to the man on the line, just to have him tell me that none of that helped him, so he would send a technician out – except, wait a second. What’s this?

He put me on hold while he took a look at my account, and eventually a new voice – a woman, probably Bad News Special Forces or something – came back on the line. Apparently, a neighbor had not paid her electric bill in quite some time, so they had disconnected her service – at least, what they thought was her service. Turns out they turned off mine instead.


Oh, and they wouldn’t be able to send someone to turn it back on until tomorrow.

And all of a sudden, it was just too much. Something snapped. This is when, to use a technical term, I lost my shit.

I have worked in customer service before, and still do, to a certain extent – which is why I couldn’t believe I was finding myself uttering words like “infuriating” and “unacceptable” and “immediately” and “you people” and “enraged” and “now – NOW.” My chest was tight but my tongue was loose. I was on an absolute rampage.

I spent the night at Becca and Mike’s, where Foxy whined non-stop in the darkness because that big yellow dog Grizz is RIGHT THROUGH THAT WALL. RIGHT THERE. HE’S THERE. I got a grand total of 2 hours sleep, and spent all day today feeling downright witless.

So now I’m home and the power is back on and I’m typing all of this out, and laughing because it’s so ridiculous. I’ve been sulking about things really not worth sulking about – especially since furrowing my eyebrows is the last thing I need to do more of, seeing as how that look is basically already my natural resting face.

The older I get, the more I realize my strong need for justice – which is unfortunate, since it’s also the more I realize that life just isn’t fair. Sometimes your neighbor doesn’t pay her bills, and you are the one inconvenienced. Sometimes you take good care of your things, and they break anyway. Sometimes someone else makes a decision, and your heart winds up paying a price.

We can try to legislate fairness into our lives, but it just isn’t going to happen.

I could be a sulker. I could resent people and situations and reality itself. I could shake my fist at heaven and tell everything to go to hell.

But to borrow an idea from Proverbs, I’d rather be clothed in strength and dignity, and laugh at the days to come – or you know, Frozen, and let it go.



  1. Peg Achterman on March 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    well said – and I recommend a poolside week on Maui – it did wonders for my anger, fears, sadness

  2. Kelli on March 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    After you uttered things like “you people” did you accidentally end the call with “I love you”? :)


  3. Annie Downs on March 20, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I love you to pieces.

    Also. The categories with which you labeled this post make you the greatest of all time.

  4. Michael on March 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Having been contacted a time or two by the Bad New Special Forces, I had to howl at that phrase. Not the week you needed, but the week you got…sigh…but “go to work, wave at the neighbor, pray to Jesus every night” seems appropriate advice. Also, manage your own dreams…they are yours, and not for others to judge. In the grand scheme of things, going back to grad school in my 30s and taking ten years to complete my Ph.D. was a “bad thing” that doomed me to live in debt, with a modest income, for the rest of my life. I couldn’t be happier about that! (although I would like to win enough money from MegaMillions to pay off my debt).

  5. Paul Parsons on March 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    You have an uncanny ability to allow yourself to experience the crap in life, all the way, thoroughly, personally, feeling it all, which is so much better than living in denial and having to pay the bill for your emotions when they’re jacked up to an impossible height. . . and then coming to that place of acceptance and letting it go. I marvel at your well-being, and I love your willingness to let the rest of us see and hear it.

    Love, Dad

  6. Colleen on March 20, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    Pick up that beautiful guitar of yours and pour it all out in a new song! And next time, I’ve got a guest room with your and Foxy’s name written all over it!

  7. Pat Cassidy on March 20, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    Amen to all of that Annie–I get it!! And I love your writings…so honest!

  8. Erin on March 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    UGH, sense of justice! I have it too, and it kicks me in the butt sometimes. Just listened to a sermon that said “life isn’t fair – in YOUR favor.” Totally true, but easy to forget.

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