Imagine the Clarity With Which You See Bush Extended to Everything

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

This morning, a woman came out of nowhere to scream at me for letting my dog chase pigeons. Pigeons! We weren't even hurting them. She followed me down the street, forehead vein throbbing, to continue her rant. I thought she was going to either kill me or drop dead from a brain aneurysm. What should I do when faced with a psycho like that?Pets Not PETA

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

The other day while biking to work, I was angrily berated by another cyclist for running a red light. There were no cars in sight, so what was the harm? But he sprinted after me for three blocks to yell at me some more. What ever happened to minding your own business?Carbon Neutral but Practical

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

I'm a writer for an alternative weekly who recently wrote a mildly critical but balanced piece about a beloved local institution, which I'd rather not identify here. Let's just say it's a homeless newspaper called Real Change. Result: hysterical anger almost completely unrelated to the actual content of my article. What's with all this self-righteous, irrational rage?Humble Scribe

Dear Pets, Carbon Neutral, and Scribe,

OK, Take a deep breath, everyone. I know it's hard to be confronted with a personal shortcoming (at least I imagine that it is). Especially when the information is delivered via a phenomenon so startling to Seattle newcomers: the Enlightened Tantrum. But since I'm taking the trouble to understand your reactions, I hope you'll take a moment to try to understand the anger of the people who seek your improvement.

You all live here, so chances are you have pretty good values. Just hearing Bush's voice makes you mad. You can't believe the media continues to treat him like a rational person when he's so clearly a raving lunatic jeopardizing the very survival of the country and the planet. Now imagine the clarity with which you see Bush extended to everything you see—the things other people eat, the consumer choices they make, the soulless conglomerates they allow themselves to be published by. What if all these things were laid bare to their moral core? Well, this region happens to be rich in individuals who have actually attained this level of discernment. (I'm not saying I'm one of them, by the way. I'll leave that for others to say.) As you can imagine, this state of relentless insight is quite a gift. But also a burden.

On the one hand, you're endowed with a certain delicious sense of self, a pure honey of contentment that comes from being so right. But when you see the blindness of others who are doing things that are so obviously wrong, it can be unbearable. Thus the Enlightened Tantrum. The guy on the bike, the woman protecting the civil rights of pigeons, the defenders of the homeless—in each case, their correct view of the world, usually a calm, subterranean current gently powering their far-off smiles, burst the bounds of polite discourse like an undeniable river of justice. The correct response? Answer their mighty expressions of correctness with a humble correctness of your own: Simply surrender to the tempest. They're right, after all. And don't forget to say thank you.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

After I finished making love to my wife the other night, she turned to me and said, "I feel like I could be fucked by 10 more men." How should I take this comment?Wonderin'

Dear Wonderin',

Please come in and pull up a chair in my little pub. A place I call Man Pub. Oh, it's not a real pub; that's just what I call it, this space men create when they need to talk to other men. About men's things. When we great oaks need to join together with other great oaks in a circle of communion. Maybe you've been wounded out there, in the emotional wilds outside of Man Pub. It's a jungle, or possibly a storm, out there. A stormy jungle. Come in for some manly shelter and a cup of cheer. As for your question—you didn't think I'd forgotten, did you?—I haven't the slightest idea. I'd suggest you never mention it again. But that wasn't really the point, was it? Your question was really a knock on the door of Man Pub. Thanks for stopping by, brother. The next time you come, and I hope it'll be soon, you don't have to knock quite so loud.

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