A week slips by so quickly, and here I am again, saying, “Please come back for another cup– I just stepped out to check on real life for a minute. I didn’t mean to be gone so long!” But real life does intrude sometimes, and since my last barista session, I’ve washed a whole lot of dishes, done some laundry, changed some diapers, and driven my mini-van in circles large and small.
Just this morning I’ve been getting a heavy dose of real life: reading the local paper over breakfast with the littles. I’m reminded of why I stopped reading the local paper. There are so many things over which people get their panties twisted in a bunch (sorry if that’s crude, but it does seem an apt description. Not to trivialize some serious matters, but witness some of today’s issues: 1) Storm clouds are hovering over Ocean Ave. because a veterinarian office wants to come in to the space a greenhouse and floral shop is soon vacating. Lightning even flashes in a town council meeting where one would-be neighbor verbally abuses the vet for ruining her retirement (or something like that). 2) A steady downpour of accusations and counteraccusations, not to mention implications, streams from the trial (for assault) of the local charter school’s principal. 3) Distant thunder rumbles from the news that a level 3 sex offender has moved in literally next door to the middle school (and one is torn between protecting one’s kids and wishing the town would let the guy have a chance). 4) Then a little rainbow breaks through where a citizens committee and the town selectmen call a truce over a formerly divisive issue (proving perhaps it was not such a big deal after all?).
If only I could learn to derive quiet amusement from it– like Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett and her father (“…for what do we live for but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”) But far from being amused, I start feeling all churned up inside, and frustrated that people can’t see outside their own point of view with these “tempests in a teacup.”
Why am I so uncomfortable with conflict? I know that I relished the 10th grade mock trial, so at what point did it become so physically uncomfortable for me to deal with fairly petty disagreements– the ones in which no one is actually being hurt, it’s just a matter of both sides insisting they are right. Maybe it has something to do with having kids who try to shout one another down, without ever actually hearing what the other has to say. It’s totally normal, I guess, but very frustrating to deal with as a mom, because it just escalates and escalates until I either shout them down or separate them. But who can shout down a pair of neighbors arguing over zoning laws, and how do you physically separate them. They just keep arguing with one another!
I hesitate to hit publish, because this is just a disjointed ramble in response to the local paper. But I’ll go ahead, knowing that friends sometimes endure their friend’s rants over coffee. If the coffee is good enough, they don’t even mind so much. My coffee is great this morning– Starbucks Kopelani blend with milk. How’s yours?
I’ll come back sooner rather than later… with more cheerful chatter next time! Have a great holiday, my friends.