Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yet Another Box of Chocolates

The lengths to which those of us who have reached "full-size child" status (I would say "adult" but that suggests merit trumping age as the principal component part in the cocktail and I find that sadly to not be true far too often) often go to subject those of us with whom we interact to our ignorance never ceases to amaze me. It is as if in certain of us, the flame that once burned inside of the 7 year-old in all of us - standing at the playground's edge poking at the dead bird with a stick - has not yet flickered to ember status. While it may not be a 3-alarm fire still, an engine company will be scrambled just to ensure the neighborhood's safety.

My wife - who presently is but one bona fide miracle away from canonization (the first being, "I am married to an a##hole who I have never attempted to choke or to shoot and I have lived with him without the assistance of narcotics, prescription or otherwise) sent me an e-mail yesterday morning to inform me that for reasons that were not entirely clear to her (and if she could not comprehend them do not even bother to ask if I stumbled my way through them) a woman with whom she works subjected her to an utterly unnecessary and - inane - telephone conversation.

Apparently, Margaret's fellow employee - whose name shall not be used here in deference to my wife although I would point out that it rhymes with a female body part - telephoned my wife Wednesday morning to chat about the charity telethon that was held Friday night for the people of Haiti. This woman is aware of the fact that Margaret is (primarily due to me and not due to any shortcomings on her own) a Bruce Springsteen fan and has been to see Springsteen in concert on numerous occasions. Armed with that knowledge and wearing her "Pat Robertson is My Only True God" halter top, this charmer called Margaret to ask her whether she had seen Springsteen's performance on Friday night. Margaret told her that she had not as we had been at Frank's wrestling match watching him turn some poor kid from New Brunswick High School into 189 pounds of origami.

Having been told by Margaret she had missed the performance, she who shall remain nameless proceeded to subject my wife to (I was going to use "share" but sharing implies some sort of benefit being enjoyed by both the one sharing and the one with whom something is being shared) her considered opinion that Springsteen is a talentless hack and has always been a talentless hack. She further unburdened her soul by telling Margaret that having seen him on Friday night she was left to ponder when he was going to, "Give it up and retire already", to which my wife replied, "He will retire right after he stops selling millions of dollars worth of tickets to sold-out shows around the world" and then, wondering why her professional colleague had seen fit to call her in the first place, Margaret hung up.

According to Margaret she and Suzy Sunshine had no further communication on the subject and - to Margaret's recollection - usually have little to no communication on any subjects whether postmarked from E Street or not. A fair description of Margaret's reaction to what occurred - and an accurate description of my own when she told me - was bewilderment. Not at the suggestion that anyone could have a differing opinion regarding popular music but at the clearly deliberate and quasi-insane manner in which this full-sized child felt compelled to confront Margaret with it.

Is it because we are so connected to one another as we work and play under the tentacles of Prince Al of the Valley's most glorious and yet most insidious invention that we no longer recognize acceptable social boundaries? We have converted the world not into a shopper's bazaar but - rather a free-for-all. Many of us no longer seem concerned about propriety as much as we are with expediency. I want it - I do it. No muss, no fuss. It is all over but the shouting, which must be engaged in at all costs. And it is not enough that we inflict our opinions, solicited or not, upon one another. Too often we dress them up in the garb of the factoid; an expression of opinion that while loosely - or not at all - based in fact is uttered with such sheer defiance and arrogance that we attempt to pass it off as fact.

I care not that one of Margaret's fellow occupants of her work space disagrees with my wife regarding the relative merits of Springsteen's music. I find it objectionable that this particular full-sized child (now you see why I said what I said up top about the difficulty in using the word adult) apparently woke up yesterday morning with pissing in Margaret's Cheerios on her mental to-do list, where admittedly it was probably competing with only one or two other items and one presumes that by the fifteenth time you have taken the, "Which Hand Is the Bean In?" test you can pass it without too much prep work. If you take the time out of your day to plan on ways in which you can be a mean-spirited pr*ck of misery to someone to whom you have no connection other than that you work in the same place, then you need to start re-examining your life's trajectory.

Living in peace and overcoming obstacles - whether created by Mother Nature or us bipeds - certainly appear to be worthwhile goals whether in Haiti's extreme weather conditions or in North Brunswick's slightly less turbulent ones. Will we get there? Someday.

Well, some of us at least. For the rest of us; the view never changes.

-AK

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