Okay, so lately I’ve been sweating the small stuff. I think you’ll agree that we’ve established that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But as my friend Rosy pointed out to me in response to yesterday’s post, it’s probably related to the overwhelming and crushing size of all the really big stuff. In fact, Rosy’s comment was so interesting to me precisely because as I sat in front of a blank text box yesterday, wondering what to post, I contemplated writing about the earthquake in China or the cyclone in Burma, the same current examples Rosy mentioned in her email to me as the kind of things that make her really, really cross with the cashier. Schools have been crushed flat, children have perished in huge numbers both in China and Burma, and it’s just the sort of catastrophic news that makes an impolite customer service representative in our daily lives something of a blood boiler. Maybe we cling to the small irritations because the big hits are simply too much and are always so completely beyond our control. I can complain to Harris Farm Markets about shouty man until they give me free bananas, but who can I complain to when lives and communities are completely torn apart by phenomena too scary and unpredictable and of nature to even fully comprehend?
Reading news reports and seeing photographs taken on the ground and from the air depresses me. Keeping myself well-informed about the endless sweep of disaster occurring elsewhere, always so much like a live-stream performance of DeLillo’s classic domestic/disaster novel White Noise, depresses me. So as I considered the topic of yesterday’s post in terms of current affairs, I found myself slumping in my chair at the thought of being topical and, you know, credible. Hard-hitting, investigative, thought-provoking, Big Enough on the Big Issues. Nope, I went for silly and mundane instead. Some might call that a cop-out. Perhaps it is. But it’s also how I ward off the demons, because fun is bloody important, and poking fun at my own expense is important, and sometimes it really does feel like the less said about what’s going on out there, the better. How else do we manage to laugh in the face of all that horror?