Every time I hear a Fiona Apple song, I remember and miss my righteous indignation. My love of righteous indignation may have been my most passionate and long-term relationship, in fact. And for returning home, after a quarrel, a bitter, wistful song is just right. You never loved me. Use me. It will always be this way.
Last time I was in New York, I sat on the sidewalk, looking across Central Park East, listening to Ms Apple wail and bemoan the shallowness and elusiveness of her lovers, and eating an ice cream sandwich from a street vendor to restore my strength after lumbering up and back down the Guggenheim spiral and I thought, oh, my wretched shipwreck of a romantic life and I’ll always be alone, although I am full of desire and passion. It was vain and lovely and the weather was quite nice also, easy late summer with pigeons clucking and construction workers busting up and pasting back together the great landmark, and I licked my black cookie smudged fingers at the end and folded the wrapper and tucked it in the trash. All delicious.
Without the righteous indignation, there is me and how I make excuses for myself, and can so completely lose myself in a moment, where I am, that I believe in an escape plan for setting aside the needs of whomever or whatever is waiting. I ran into So-and-So. I was right in the middle of something. It’s not evil with a capital “E,” it’s just my boring, commonplace asshole core. There is just me, lapping up conversation or peacefully brewing in the juices of someplace, with no notion of people who are waiting for me or wondering about me. Or me, snapping like a rubber band at you instead of easing up on myself and saying I’m sorry.
I could bemoan my faults further, but actually the whole point is that hurting people you love is pathetically banal. Easy to do, easy to explain away, easy to shrug off. It’s not like the SS coming to your door to demand you give up your Jewish neighbors. Most of the really painful, grating friction in life doesn’t come in moments of inspiring drama.
The righteous indignation is the last thing I’ll give up from my adolescence, the very last thing. I’m losing it after I got my first frown lines and my first age spot. Way after my virginity, but thankfully, before having children. I do miss it a little, though. It goes down so easy.