On Complaining

A few days ago, I went to a meet-up of local women taking place at a “seafood hut.” I’ve been to a few of these events, and because most of the women aren’t well-acquainted, conversation tends to bounce around erratically as the women jump on different facets of sentences and then draw out conversations (“You ordered a coffee? I used to live in Seattle!” “You used to live in Seattle? I just bought my mother a Mac laptop!”)

One woman talked about how much she hated her first year of teaching, and how she stopped breaking up fights between students after she got punched in the nose with a stray fist. A second woman discussed how she’d been caught in an unfair speed trap four days ago, and a police officer had given her a $200 ticket.

Then a late-comer arrived. She sat down with a flourish, and raised her hand flourish-y to get the server’s attention, and said, “My assistant called me a condescending bitch today. I need a drink!”

We then got the whole story of how she went on vacation for eight business days, eight business days, and gave her assistant a very short list of things to do while she was out of the office, with, like, bullet points, and none of the bullet points got completed, and yes, the speaker admitted, she can sometimes be condescending, but that kind of language isn’t ever appropriate for the workplace, not towards a superior, and everyone in the office agrees that her assistant is not a good assistant, and she hates to get a single mother fired, but…

and on, and on, and on…

I snuck out shortly thereafter, mostly because everyone had already ordered their food, and because the only vegetarian option on the menu was the fried mushroom appetizer, I declined, and wasn’t really keen on sitting and watching everyone eat shrimp and clams for the next hour. Well, I  snuck out partially because of that, but mostly because I wasn’t really enthused about listening to these women ranting while biting off shrimp-heads.

Nobody likes complaining–it’s not like complaining ever makes anyone feel better–and nobody enjoys listening to complaining, and yet everyone always has a complaint. It’s my theory that 90% of the cell phone conversations that you overhear are along the lines of, “I couldn’t believe that she…” or “I was blown away that he had the audacity to…” (<– I live in a college town.)

I wondered what a complaint-free week would sound like. What if I refrained from complaining about anything for a week? Would I feel better at the end of that week, or would I, like, explode into little burdened bits?

Currently reading:

Completed activities this morning:

Learned to bake a cake with a KitchenAid mixer! As a result, batter was super-swanky.

Anticipated activities this afternoon:

Folding pants the fancy-pants way, with the folded seams in front.



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