Felicitations for February: Hate Sweep

In the spirit of perversity, in much the same way I always want to laugh in church or when people fall down, I want to make room for a little darkness in this chocolate and heart filled month. I want to talk about the “Hate Sweep.”

Many years ago, an actor introduced me to this concept. It was something he and his wife would do whenever they got their panties in a wad. One of them would call out loudly “Hate Sweep” and they would embrace the bad.

My husband and I now indulge. When one of us belongs in a garbage can, we call out “Hate Sweep” and list all the shit we hate – out loud. Somehow, by embracing the ridiculous things that have us all twisted up, we are able to move off impotent rage and into laughter. Our daughters are entering into the teenage years, and sometimes instead of trying to talk them out of a grump, or yelling at them for being jerks, we have called out “Hate Sweep” and have just listened as they rant. It doesn’t always work, but it’s nice to have space for the crabbiness, and it can relieve the pressure.

But first, you have to be with people you trust and who get it. You don’t want them to say something like  “Hate is such a strong word,” or “But look at all the wonderful blessings in your life!” You need to be with someone who says, “Yeah, you go girl… what else?”  Bill and I seem to do it in the car when we are stuck in traffic …and lost… and late (happens almost weekly). You can do it alone, but for a really satisfying “Hate Sweep” you need a witness.

I give you my top 10 this month so you can see how petty and ridiculous the “Hate Sweep” can be:

1. I hate that my friend, Jill, will NEVER, NEVER pick up her home phone because she doesn’t believe in “being ruled by the telephone!” COME ON!! We are all ruled by the dumb-ass telephone! Get in the chain gang!

2. I hate that my friends, Peter and Jack, put their kids’ voices on their answering machine. Every time I call I have to listen to a seemingly endless echo of “goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” in their high, giggling voices because their parents think it is cute!

3. I hate my stoooopid computer that suddenly refuses to work. It seems to be saying “Oh I’m too tired to print right now.”  Or “Hmm I forgot how to Skype.”  I AM ONLY WRITING POSTCARDS FROM NOW ON!

4. I hate that I have to start thinking about what to make for fucking dinner every day at fucking 3 o’clock in the afternoon!

5. I hate the directions to children’s “easy to assemble” toy.   My kids are crying, my husband and I are fighting, and I want to find this person, this person who wrote the damn thing and scream in their face, “Are you fucking kidding me! Why don’t YOU, ‘Simply insert part A into part C.’ And while you’re at it why don’t you just include the number to child protective services and divorce papers.”

6. I hate cookbook’s that say things like, “Peel the acorn squash carefully…” YOU peel the goddamned squash carefully – what does that even mean!! It’s like trying to peel a softball – it can’t be done! I want to climb through the cookbook and punch them in the boob.

7. I hate whoever came up with taking toddlers to Christmas plays. They should be banished to the lowest tier of hell where ALL you do is take toddlers to public events in hot clothes where they cry and have to go to the bathroom all the time.

8. I hate that woman who walks by Starbucks every time I am there with her little, dirty dog, Mitzi. She stands there calling weakly, “Come Mitzi, come Mitzi,” while her dog licks my leg and goes under tables trying to sniff everyone’s crotch.

9. I hate that I have to pretend to be on my phone as I walk into the supermarket because all the do-gooders are asking me to sign a petition to save the oranges or to stop cows from being bullied.

10. I hate hipster artisanal coffee shops that look at you like you just shat in their mouth when you forget where you are and order a half-caf, venti, sugar free, vanilla latte.

Of course, I admit, a “Hate Sweep” is when I am in the jaws of insecurity, powerlessness, and fear. All three of which quickly morph into rage, at least for me. But, jumping in with both feet is somehow therapeutic, and I can leave all the absurdity behind and move on.

If this has offended, then just use it as a benchmark, “At least I’m not as bad as Felicity.”  Let me be your friend who laughs in church, gets scolded, and sent outside. You can be relieved you’re not me.

But, just in case you want to pretend we are in the car together driving from Hollywood to Santa Monica (this 10 mile drive can take up to 2 hours) and you need a good vent, let me hear it. Only the ridiculous, no cruelty please, remember we are all God’s children just trying to get to where we need to go.

Happy Valentine’s Day Month, eat some chocolate for me.