Some believe we become befuddled as we age. Not so. We are an amalgam of our life experiences. Sometimes these influences do not play well with each other.
I refer to them as the angels who sit on my shoulder.
The angels always show up when I need a snappy comeback or an acceptable response. It can get a bit noisy in my head when these divergent voices argue about appropriate reactions.
One angel offers a calm voice of reason to a difficult situation, “I understand how you feel.” This angel spent too much time in the self-help section of the bookstore and I find her a tad irritating. When the offending party is over the top inappropriate, it seems a bit insincere to offer to understand.
So I move on to the rough and tumble angel who offers ” Tell him/her to go f*ck yourself.” I find myself siding with her more often than I care to admit, but try to be judicious when using this response, or at the very least make sure there are no witnesses.
The quiet angel mumbles a Jewish homily that is appropriate and wise, but the words hide in the canyons of my cerebellum when I need to dredge them up.
The last angel is one I know well; my mother, “I guess they did the best they knew how to do.” When I wanted her solidarity and not her wisdom, I dreaded hearing those words.
Years later, it crossed my mind that those words are as passive/aggressive as “Bless your heart.”
Thus far, I haven’t figured out a way to remove the snark from “You did the best you knew how to do.” I’ll leave this for the rough and tumble angel to figure out.
The next time you encounter an “experienced” person who appears confused, do not assume it’s senility. It’s the angels sitting on their shoulder slugging it out.