The country is currently more divided than at any point since the 1960s, and quite possibly even more so. We seem to disagree on everything these days, in some cases having even surpassed the “us vs. them” mentality and heading straight into a state of “Me vs. Everyone”. The reasons for this cultural shift are many and varied, although social media and cable news networks do seem to carry their fair share of blame. That, however, is another discussion for another time. How we get out of this mess, if it’s even possible, is a topic for consideration elsewhere too.
What I would like to focus on today are the few things that still unite us. Not so much as a country, mind you, but as people. Human beings. Brothers and sisters under the sun. What are the things we can all agree upon? What can bring us together in spirit and (mostly) like-mindedness?
Simple. Life’s little annoyances and disappointments. You know, those little things we all experience that drive us crazy. They may be annoying as all get out, but most of us can relate. And if we can all be united in these little, everyday frustrations then maybe, just maybe, there’s hope that we can find common ground elsewhere.
So let’s talk about some of them now. This list may only scratch the surface, but it’s a start.
How about when you wake up before the alarm and can’t get back to sleep? You’re not going to get out of bed, just on principle. So you just lie there and try to clear your mind, but it doesn’t work because that’s when that really cringy thing you did four years ago comes back and is replayed in detail. You finally begin to drift off about five minutes before the alarm actually goes off and it’s just enough time to begin a dream and then WHAM! Up and at ’em, Sunshine.
Did you ever go to work wearing two different shoes? Or you missed a button on your shirt and it looks like you let a three year old dress you that morning? AND you have a meeting with some important clients first thing? Way to make an impression!
How about this one. Did you ever think you were alone in the back room at work, and you start singing a song? You’re not even thinking about it, really, just singing along, no regard for volume or anything. That’s when you notice Bill from HR is in the corner snickering. Some guys will even applaud you and ask for an encore. No way to live that one down.
Even worse, that’s the time when Bill from HR, who’s also a music geek, decides to inform you that you got the lyrics wrong. So you google it from your desk (because this is way more important than that report you’ve been putting off for two days) and you find out he’s RIGHT. You’ve been singing the wrong words for like twenty years and now it’s like part of your life is just a lie and there’s a little part of you that you can never get back. Overall, a bad day at the office, what with the shoes and all.
Sometimes it’s not our human foibles that get us. Sometimes it’s nothing you did, but inanimate objects that disappoint us. Like food.
For example, when that little piece of popcorn gets stuck in your teeth. At first you think it’ll work its way out as you eat more popcorn, but no. So then you try to kind of tongue it out of there, but you can’t quite get it, yet you can’t make everyone else stop watching the movie while you take care of that. So you brush extra well that night before bed, maybe even find that floss that’s sat in the left top drawer since your last dentist’s appointment and use that. It never works. But then a day or so later it’s just gone. How does that work? Where did it go? Was it absorbed somehow? Weird.
Or how about when you’re a little kid, and an older relative, usually a great Aunt or your Gram-Gram tells you they made some pudding and offers you a bowl? You enthusiastically agree thinking of the rich, yummy, smooth bowl of cool deliciousness coming your way. And that’s when you learn about the big lump of sad that is tapioca pudding.
Also, why do the taco shells fall apart three bites in? So many advances in modern technology and we still wind up wearing our dinner every time we get Taco Bell. Seriously.
Here’s one that’s food adjacent. It happens at the Supermarket, in the self serve lane.
“Please put the item in the bag.”
“I did.” You take the item out, put it back in.
“Please put the item in the bag.”
“It’s in the bag, you stupid machine.” You press continue, but to no avail.
“Please place the item in the bag.”
“It IS in the BAG!!!” Once more you take the item out and slam it back in the bag, HARD, possibly breaking the Fritos that you put in before.
“Unexpected item in the bagging area, please call an attendant.
And that’s when you shoot it.
Here’s a really embarrassing one, and somewhat crass to boot. Did you ever have company over, or even worse, be at someone else’s house, and you have to pass gas? You can’t get up, because that will definitely do it, so you gotta kind of sneak it out? It never quite works, does it? The evidence is apparent quite quickly after the fact. What do you do? The smart thing would be to ignore it but in a panic you decide to blame the dog. Which might actually work. Except that everyone but you saw the dog leave two minutes ago.
Look, there are many more examples we could talk about. I haven’t even mentioned Alexa, glitter, or black licorice. This is a topic that will surely come back in a future installment of MonDAVEs which, hopefully, will not be a disappointment.