The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DISAGREEABLE
We have — on once had — an expression in English to the effect of “He already had his gloves off.” Which means that as he approached the other person, he was already expecting this was going to turn into a fight and he’d be prepared by having his gloves off, ready to throw the first punch at any sign of aggression.
My mind goes back to a mother-daughter situation of long ago, neighbours to us, who almost typified this expression. I told my own daughter, “Those two seem to be functioning on a NO level.”
That is, the mother, a real go-getter, would order her more laid-back daughter to do some task. However, Her tone of voice indicated that she was anticipating resistance. The daughter obligingly resisted. This sounded something like:
“Jane! Clean up your room once.”
Jane, reply dragged out and unwilling, “I’ll do it later. I have something else I wanna do right now.”
“I said, Clean up your room. This means right now!”
“Do I have to, right this minute. Can’t it wait until…?”
“No it can’t! Now get busy.”
I’m not sure how they fell into this type of interaction, but by now it seemed like a standard between them. Had Jane always been so unwilling? Or was she simply responding to the cue given by her mom? Maybe the mom’s tone was warranted. But it was clear she expected a “No” of some sort and was prepared to argue the point.
The tones weren’t all that bad and the daughter did do what she was told. In a worst case scenario a listener will get what sounds like a whiny daughter responding to a whiny mom.
This poem, written in the old long-winded style by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman, refers to people in general, but I think it has a good message:
Blind multitudes that jar confusedly
At strife, earth’s children, will ye never rest
From toils made hateful here, and dawns distressed
With ravelling self-engendered misery?
And will ye never know, till sleep shall see
Your graves, how dreadful and how dark indeed
Are pride, self-will, and blind-voiced anger, greed,
And malice with its subtle cruelty?
How beautiful is gentleness, whose face
Like April sunshine, or the summer rain,
Swells everywhere the buds of generous thought?
So easy, and so sweet it is; its grace
Smooths out so soon the tangled knots of pain.
Can ye not learn it? Will ye not be taught?