Im thinking about irritations, specifically my own irritability. I am more easily intensely irritated than most, and I am less able than I would like to blow it off, ignore it, move on. My irritation is irrational and thus does not heed logic, it is physical and pure and it hurts me and I cannot stop. I get irritated by someone more than a few times and I'm done with them, I can't move on so I move away. To a certain extent, this is logical. It's like my irritations with books: I will never have enough time to read all the books I want before I die so why would I waste five more minutes reading Pat Conroy or Philip Roth? Some books I will give a second try on the recommendation of a trusted friend but it only works out sometimes. Same with people.
And so I have built a life that treats my irritability as something like an allergy. I've chosen a job where I rarely work directly with others, thereby minimizing the likelihood of them irritating me. My social life is predominantly one-on-one meetings with people who delight me. So reading is a pleasure because I don't bother to continue with books I don't enjoy. And eating is a pleasure because I manage to avoid allergens so my primary reaction is to be nourished rather than poisoned. My life is a pleasure because I have eliminated most of the encounters with people who irritate me.
From time to time I read something horrible or eat something that causes a bad reaction. And from time to time I have to deal with people who are toxic to me. And because I have largely eliminated that from my life, it causes a pretty dramatic reaction. I have no tolerance.
I don't think I should change; I think the logic of my decisions holds up generally: Don't read books you don't like. Avoid foods that make you break out in hives. Steer clear of emotional vampires. Nevertheless from time to time I am splotchy and red-eyed, swollen and in pain in reaction to one thing or another and I can't help but wonder in such moments if there isn't a vaccine, and if so how to get it.