Simmer

via Daily Prompt: Simmer

I don’t cook so my main association with simmer is the phrase ‘simmer down.’ There are times when I could stand to simmer down, there are times when we could all stand to simmer down. It can be hard for me to be control my temper when I’m upset and it’s gotten me in trouble. I regret some of the things I’ve said and done in anger. I feel bad about the hurt my angry outbursts have caused people I care about and the damage they’ve done to our relationships. When I look back at some of the things that triggered  my angry outbursts they hardly seem worth getting angry about. I guess in moments of rage I should ask myself if this issue is going to upset me so much a month from now and if it’s not going to upset me then, I shouldn’t let it upset me so much now.

Of course I’ve had instances of anger that I think were perfectly justified and I’ve gotten angry at people I really don’t like but some of the things I said in anger really didn’t do me any favors. They reflected badly on me and gave the other person ammunition against me. Being really angry can hinder my ability to be clever and witty. A clever, witty response is always better than a “Fuck you, asshole!”

On the other hand, telling someone else to simmer down is mostly just obnoxious. I saw a meme that said “Never in the history of calming down has telling someone to calm down worked” and it seems pretty accurate. Telling someone to simmer down is especially awful when it comes in the form of tone policing, which is an attempt to detract from the validity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented, rather than the statement itself.

I see it most often in online debates about topics such as racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia. Discrimination, oppression and violations of human rights are things we should all be angry about it. They are things we cannot afford to ‘simmer down’ about and there’s no reason to play nice with or be polite to abusers, oppressors or those who support and defend them.  It’s also an example of sexism itself since women are told to simmer down much more often than men are.

A few months ago I was criticized on Facebook for my ‘unnecessary anger’ towards Nazi apologists and homophobes. Sorry, I have no plans to simmer down in that regard.

Carousel

via Daily Prompt: Carousel

When I was a little girl, I attended a summer day camp called Camp Carousel, sponsored by the YMCA.  I assume that camp is now defunct because Google gives me nothing. It will just have to live on in my memory.

I was only four years old when I attended so I don’t remember much about it. What I do remember is that the camp shirts were yellow. I believe the logo was a carousel horse but I could just be making that up. Another thing I remember is that we sang a lot of songs. My favorite song was Down By The Bay. I love animals and making rhymes so that song was right up my alley. My least favorite song was “The Littlest Worm I Ever Saw”. The idea of sipping a worm through a soda straw was so gross and unpleasant that I wondered why anyone would write a song about it. I also wondered why the idiot in that song took a sip after the poor worm told him not to.

The songs were often sung by my godmother as she played her guitar. She was a camp counselor and she drove my brother and I to camp every day. One day in the car she said “Kira, why is it that you talk in the car but not at camp and Michael, why is it that you talk at camp but not in the car?” I can’t answer for my brother but for myself I can say that at that point I was a painfully shy kid who had a hard time socializing with her peers.

None of that was really about carousels though. Sorry, this is my first attempt at the daily prompt. Anyway…carousels…they’re okay, I guess. Around the same time of my life that I attended Camp Carousel, my babysitter took me to a mall that had a large carousel.  I rode it and enjoyed it.

When I was a teenager I heard a song called “Wall of Death”   Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:

Let me ride on the wall of death one more time
You can waste your time on the other rides
but this is the nearest to being alive
Let me take my chances on the Wall of Death

 

Well you’re going nowhere when you ride on the carousel
And maybe you’re strong, but what’s the use of ringing a bell
The switchback will make you crazy
Beware of the bearded lady
Oh let me take my chances on the Wall of Death
You are going nowhere when you ride on the carousel

 

For most of my childhood I stuck to slow, tame rides like carousels because I was afraid to go on fast and furious rides like roller coasters. That changed when I went on a class field trip to Hershey park at the end of 8th grade. My best friend Ava suggested we go on a roller coaster. I refused but once she’d assured me this roller coaster did not go upside down, she was able to convince me. Once we’d been strapped in to our seats Ava said to me “Kira, I’m going to tell you something that’s really going to piss you off.”

“What?”

“I was lying to you. This roller coaster does go upside down.”

“Ah! Why did you do that?”

“Because I knew it was the only way I could convince you to ride.”

“Oh no…”

“Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it.”

And I did enjoy it. The roller coaster gave me such a rush of adrenaline and exhilaration, the kind that could not be achieved with a carousel  From then on I was an enthusiastic roller coaster rider.

A few weeks ago I was at a park in Jersey City that has a carousel. My father asked me if I wanted to ride it. I declined but if there had been a Wall of Death I would have taken my chances on it.