The Edmond Sun

November 2, 2012

Incivility can get put on hold, but never the mundane

Marjorie Anderson
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — You’ve adjusted to the ups and downs of the stock market; you’ve polished off the kids’ leftover Halloween treats, and you know to fall back tonight after midnight. You’re thanking God you don’t live on the East Coast and you’ve sent a contribution to the Red Cross.

You’re clear on which man will get your vote Tuesday; you know where to go to do that, and you’ve got the wheels to get yourself there. Good. That frees us to fester over mundane observations. Specifically, mine.

The neighbors on either side of me got their roofs shingled and I probably should too, but I’ll wait until after the next hailstorm. The smaller of my dishwasher’s two propellers dislodged itself and fell from the top into the tray below. The machine appears to be getting the dishes clean without it, and the water’s hot enough to kill germs if it isn’t. Not that you care, nor should you. My shingles and my dishwasher were my own mundane problems to solve and I solved them. OK, so maybe I did fudge a little.

The cat coughed up an impressive hairball; the dog swiped a chocolate brownie from my plate (which could have resulted in much worse than a hairball), and I had a couple of skin tags surgically removed from my eyelid, but I managed to rise above all of that. Also, I tried all week to figure out how to hook up with Netflix on the Internet before I gave up and opted for a DVD player instead.

You can see that I come equipped to fester over the small stuff and to rationalize my way out of what I can’t handle. OK, for the sake of transparency, I admit that’s not a given.

I witnessed three instances of unkindness last week that I’m still trying to come to grips with: A public scolding that could best have been handled in private if at all ... a joke gone so terribly awry that apologies and acceptance of apologies weren’t enough to clear the air ... a pettiness too vague to demand an apology, but clear enough to leave emotional bruises. You’ve been there. You too have witnessed/experienced/precipitated those “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that leave scars.

There’s a lot of that going around these days. Maybe there always has been, but I’m thinking the incivility among our politicians in this election year has no parallel, and that it has bled into the mindset of the rest of us.

You don’t notice politicians’ incivility so much when you’re festering over the mundane. But when they put their scurrilous ways on hold following a calamity like The Perfect Storm, you’re all but blinded by the contrast.

MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.