Room 1: Recycle
The woman explains that she cannot enter this room with you, but that you will see well enough. She ushers you in and closes the door. Before you is a gray-ish. Your eyes take a moment to adjust and then you see the words:
You have a right to your anger.
In previous centuries, you would confront another spirit (or something like a spirit) stuck in the moment which so offended and hurt. Back then, the replay of the argument or circumstance was face to face. Now, however, there is merely a computer and a smart phone on a desk. All of your communication, and all responses, will be done with this equipment. You may choose email, facebook, or text.
Most people choose email, since they have a lot to say, though the “unfriend” option on Facebook is usually employed at some point. You will find that the most offensive sentence of the argument is already written on the computer, and you need merely reply.
It is common for the sentence to read: “You never really loved me.” Sometimes, though, it is a blunt accusation: “You are incompetent. There is no hope for you.” The possibilities are endless. In this case, the sentence is, “You were only using me.” It’s not far from “You never really loved me,” but far enough.
You may write now. In this case, you write, “Then you have no idea who I am. Do you realize how many years I have been working for you?” (The frustrated mother usually details the answer with the number of socks she has mated, the laundry loads she has done—causing her to have lower back pain for the last third of her life—and the poopy diapers she has changed. The academic will generally talk about the years he or she devoted to a vitally important book or paper which was ignored because of—well, because of the other’s emails. The burdened businessman typically writes, “You have no idea what I sacrificed for you.”
A response will type itself in the computer, and the argument will continue. By the fourth repetition, epithets begin appearing on the screen. You may choose as many of these epithets as you’d like. These will not necessarily represent the past but will certainly provide vindication. Popular choices include the regular obscenities as well as attacks on parentage, race, and education, plus “Neanderthal”, “pompous bag of gas”, “obstructed bowel personified”; “wormy giblet dug up from a thief’s grave” and “diseased monkey’s crap.”
This portion of the re-cycle may last for hours or even months, until you are given one opportunity to say the one thing you sat up at night and practiced saying, or heard yourself repeating while you jogged or drove. Now you have the chance to insert that last insult.
Go ahead and say it.
Now the original message appears again, and you start over. By this time, you will have thought up yet one more “final” insult.
A last message will pop up severing the relationship, and you will have the option to repeat the process—with your new verbal ammunition. The sign—“You Have a Right to your Anger”–reveals that it comes complete with neon lighting, which now flashes in a way that could cause a seizure if you still had your body. You have new options this round. You may include sound effects. As you make your replies, you may include cheering. Should you want to be cheered, your typing will now be accompanied by various voices (all familiar) saying things like, “Zing! Tat was bold! Good for you! No mincing words here!” “You are so courageous to say something that honest!” “Get ‘em”; “We don’t care if it hurts—it has to be said!” and “You are so cool when you’re angry!”
By the time you make your tenth round in the recycle room, you are also given the option of smells. Poopy diapers make their scent known as soon as the word “poop” is typed. The memory of dirty socks now comes in full odor, and neglected laundry spreads the steady smell of mildew.
Some souls have been running this cycle for decades. And they do run, energized by the argument and by the anger. Anger, you know, is a form of energy, and it feeds upon itself.
Usually, souls want to see themselves in a mirror because they realize that they have been running for so many years that surely they are in the best shape of their long, long life. There are no mirrors in the room, though. If you were to see your reflection, it would appear so monstrous and DIABOLICAL (which comes from two Greek words—dia+ballein, meaning “to tear apart”) that it would be terrifying.
Each recycle room is separate from others, for each hurt is unique. Some souls, exhausted rather than energized, beg to choose another door. Many choose to expand their vindication to include more and more arguments going back and forward in mortal time, and sometimes including such debates as whether or not a two-year-old must eat smooshed peas if his mother says so, to whether a person dying of stomach cancer can eat chocolate if they crave it.
As the cycles continue, invisible others may be summoned who not only cheer but begin to break invisible furniture. You cannot see what is being broken, but you can year screams, metal scraping metal, windows breaking (you hear someone yell “Kristalnaght!”), random explosions. At first, you feel that you might be a target. Most souls choose to leave, but you may repeat the cycle as often as you’d like.
Click here if you wish to leave this room.