The Joys of Transient Obduracy

It would’ve made him so happy if only I’d said yes. Instead, I chose to torture him, reveling in his frustration, impotent to do anything to change my mind. It pleased me to watch him squirm as I politely rejected his entreaties to move my Honda back into the safety of our driveway. Yes, dear reader, my father is obsessed with keeping my car off the street.


I’m not sure how long he has had this fixation, but images of wildly careening vehicles sideswiping the cars of those in his care has seized my dad’s imagination. To my knowledge, there has never been an instance of Violence Against Vehicles in our suburban domicile, but perhaps this is due to his vigilance—no doubt, he sees it that way. I confess that his extreme concern takes me by surprise, and it would’ve been so easy for me to have acquiesced—I have done so in times prior—but last night, I drew the line. I would not move my car from its tantalizing spot.


The secret glee I felt at this transgression is the point of today’s post. When was the last time you did something solely to assert your free will in defiance of another? How good did it feel?


I understand that my refusal was silly and achieved nothing but making my poor old father flummoxed, but so what? Within each of us dwells a three year old, just waiting for an opportunity to manifest. I believe so strongly in this premise that I often call upon it when deciding how to entice others, regardless of the circumstances. What would a three year old want, I ask myself; it’s a highly effective strategy, honed over years of practice. But back to the parked car consternation: I was the one taking all the “risk” of leaving my car vulnerable to urban marauders; truth be told, I don’t perceive a threat at all. This doesn’t excuse my decision to torture the poor fellow, but I did it because doing so gave me pleasure. Visceral pleasure.


Of course, fully realized re-booters need not resort to such antics because they sit calmly on their throne, content and confident in their power to effect change when needed. Not me. I’m not there yet. I may spend a certain amount of time reading stuff like the mythic realms of The Odyssey or the history of migrations of various immigrant groups, etc but when it comes right down to it, I can be as stubborn and illogical as the next guy. I will not eat green eggs and ham.


People break the rules all the time. The thrill one feels when flouting convention is not to be underestimated; disobedience infuses us with a powerful type of energy. Such actions don’t always go well, of course, but to defy the established order of things (even if that order exists for useful purposes) reminds us of our own power—and it is this same wellspring which enables us to re-boot. This is not a small point. As adults with responsibilities, expectations, and goals to meet, we can easily forget that we retain the capacity to do things our way and not according to the dictates of others, simply because we want to. At times, such personal reminders may evidence themselves in silly forms of insistence, but the underlying motivation—to remember that we exist as independent and emboldened individuals—requires a dose of oxygen every now and then to remain vital. So, whether it’s parking your car in a “dangerous” spot, wearing an outfit your spouse disapproves of, or something else entirely, it’s a small cost for a large payout to your psyche. Defiance has a place in any re-booter’s roster…




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