I should have said….

I should have said….

There is an improv game called “Ding” or “should’ve said” in which you get to change the last thing that you said. The game works because you don’t really get to plan your new response, but you get a sort of second chance to make the scene more interesting. Sometimes the unplanned idea in your head that comes from some deep part of you is exactly what the scene needs to move along.
What I wish it were in real life is an opportunity to go back into the past and fix what I’ve effed up. Perhaps like this: “ding”, no I do not wish to drink a fifth beer, I’d like to head home and get a reasonable amount of sleep tonight. Or “ding”, actually I will finish my reading now instead of playing a mindless video game for two hours. Or “ding”, I love you.
Regret is perhaps the most useless of all the emotions, because you can’t unpickle a cucumber. You’re just left with the pain of your mistakes to perhaps do better next time, if there ever is a next time. Regret feels like I’ve eaten angry bees. It’s a swirling mess of emotions that twist around in my stomach. Regret makes me cry, that deep sobbing cry that is accompanied by seal like moans. And snotty sniveling. That’s the worst and the least attractive crying of all the unattractive crying.
One time recently i was crying just like this, seal barking, snotty unattractive crying. One of my three cats was sitting next to me, probably because she assumed I was dying and she hoped to get me to the cat food one last time before I killed over. But she suddenly squeezed underneath my legs, and before I could finish thinking ” oh my god, this cat really cares about my sadness” she vomited all over the carpet, right at my feet. Regret doesn’t care that you’re broken, it will vomit right in front of you and insist that you clean it up before it makes a stain on the carpet. It’s like teaching a toddler about the hot stove by letting her touch the hot stove. Yeah, she learned that stoves are hot and probably won’t ever touch one again, but wasn’t there some less awful way to learn?
The worst regret is knowing at the point when you could have just said or done the right thing you let fear, or stupidity speak for you. Then it’s not even hindsight that screwed you, it’s you. Or in this case me. I knew I did not need that fifth beer, or to play that game and hell-I knew I should have said I love you. But I had the beer and the hangover and I’ll have to stay up half the night to finish the assignment, meaning I’ll be exhausted the next day and I’ve already established that the likelihood of the cat vomiting is exactly equal to how tired and stressed out I am. And the missed I love you? All the unattractive, blubbery crying in the world isn’t going to fix that. The toothpaste is out of the tube, it doesn’t go back in, even if you smear it all over the top…it’s just a mess.
That’s probably one of the reasons I perform improv, because “ding” is real in that world. I get a second chance to advance a scene, it make it better, to say what I should’ve said.


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