Everyone I know is heroic. But we’ve all been placed in a mostly non-catastrophic scene; we lack crises in which we can work and shine.

Look how well people, most people, step up when the chips are far down. When there’s a pipeline explosion, an earthquake/tsunami, a terrorist atrocity, people band together, support one another, rise to the necessary and more.

Look how passionate every teen is, to make a mark, lead a life, save the day or the world.

And then see how we tend to lose it in a traffic jam, when the kids whine at 5:30 p.m., when the partner once again doesn’t hear us. Look how we don’t fix the slow-moving misfortunes like environmental depredation or cheating.

I get it, I get it: survival doesn’t depend on handling small stresses. You can contend with worsening traffic all your life and it probably won’t affect your ability to reproduce. There’s no reason for us to adapt to annoyance. All we can do is detest it, avoid it, bemoan it.

Catastrophe would be relief to her
who gathers irritation everywhere.
As if adherent seeds congest her fur,
the traffic pressures and the noises blare
until she overfills and throws a fit,
and flings her arms and curses in the air,
her kindling vehemence appropriate
for marathon, condensed into a glare.

She’s irked by crowds – impeded, bothered, pressed
into heroic passion. She’s afraid
her time is wasted; as her day is messed
she feels the hours leak, the future fade.
Persisting fitfully she is distressed
by little things.
By minutes she’s unmade.

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