Guilt or resentment – let’s flip a coin

The new apartment saga continues. When my flat mate & I moved to the new apartment, we were faced by the mother of all questions (well, at least as far as new houses / apartments go) – who gets the master bedroom?

Being two individuals who detest confrontation above all else (makes for a peaceful, if at times too full of passive-aggressive door-banging behavior), neither of us wanted to come out and say – I want it! If an outsider observed us at that time, he’d have nominated us for the Nobel Peace Prize or slammed our heads together. Both of us repeated our own versions of “You pick whatever room you want. Am OK with anything. After all we work so late – I just need a place to sleep.” At least in my head, the thinking was somewhat different, ranging from “Oh God, Oh God, please pick the smaller room’ to ‘Why don’t you say you want the bigger room. That way, I can fight for it, and try to win it fair & square!’

This happens way too often for my liking. When I was a child, I had no problems staking my claim on all sorts of things. Of late, some gosh-awful age-related gene’s gotten activated, and I have this overwhelming urge to do the ‘right thing’. Unfortunately, the old genes haven’t been completely inactivated. Result: I feel the simultaneous need to do what I know I ought to do, as well as what I truly want to do. A damn confusing state to be in.

In some cases, the goody-goody feeling you get when you do the ‘right’ thing is better than the alternative. An example would be not insisting on watching a movie when the Chithi finale (or whatever soap they now have in India) is on. Even I realize that something like the Chithi series finale is a very big deal, and butting in would be petty.

In other cases, this decision is not so easy. The whole of last week, I could talk of nothing but the Half Blood Prince to all and sundry, even when some of my audience showed visible signs of agony (the yawn suppressed for the 39th time, the urge to holler ‘Grow up, will ya? It’s only a BOOK. For CHILDREN. Just LET IT GO.’ kept under strict control, lame attempts at changing the subject, the works…) Not all of my friends are JKR fanatics, and I know that. Just chose to ignore that for a week, that’s all.

There’s nothing wrong with this state of imbalance, except that my mind expects to either receive or pay some form of compensation after the fact. When I feel that I’ve just acted ‘better than a saint would’, I automatically climb up a pedestal, and expect to be worshipped, at least by the parties involved. And life being as it is, of course, this doesn’t happen. And I go around resenting the world at large and that person in particular. When I’ve been selfish, I spend at least a week thinking up suitable ‘return gifts’ or dreading what blood-money I may be demanded to cough up…

The long and short of it – I got the bigger room. And I’m still cowering under the guilt. Why is it that I seem only capable of feeling guilt or resentment? For once, I would give anything to simply take a generous gesture at face value, be grateful, and move on. And just for kicks, I’d also like, at least once, to be generous, and not feel like a martyr.

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5 comments so far

  1. Karthik on

    It almost feels like deja vu . I guess all of us go through this at some point or the other – getting something you want with the “nice guy” tag intact is hard to do.

    Great post!

  2. DoZ on

    You’re right – this is a case of wanting to be thought of as “super nice”, even as I constantly get what I want… Puerile, but true… I draw some hope from your saying that we “go through this at some point or the other”. If this is just a phase, I look forward to the day when wisdom prevails – when I go out & broadcast my demands without cringing, or not feel like a 2 year old who’s just had her / his favorite toy snatched away.

  3. DoZ on

    PS: Thank you! You continue to do wonders for my ego 😉

  4. Manoj on

    I didn’t want to be the first commenter to play the deja vu card. 🙂 Thanks, Karthik.

    As for master bedroom anecdotes, I once agreed (maybe even suggested) to draw lots with 3 others and ended up with a pink bedroom. It was an independent house and apparently I had won occupancy rights to the little girl’s room. Pink carpet, pink walls and even a pink painting. *shudder*
    So the next time I found myself in a similar situation, I literally yelled, “I’ll take the Master”. The Mr.Nice Guy in me sulked for maybe a day or two, but surprisingly enough, the guilt was only fleeting. Probably melted away by the recurring pink-themed nightmares.

  5. DoZ on

    Hilarious! If you had my flatmate’s collection of stuffed toys, it would have been a match made in home-deco hell, er, heaven.


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